Connections have been and remain a vital component of the success of organic research. That’s why Google launched a link spam update that aims to invalidate spam links. For a very long time, sites with more quotes were considered to be of higher quality. In turn, people thought that they would pass more PageRank to their linked sites.
Things have since changed as more and more people start creating private sites to link to other sites and drop spammy links to other people’s blogs, hoping to rank higher in search results. Read well to know the gist of this update and how it will affect your website.
Learn about the new Google link spam update
Google announced a new spam update in July 2021, which will identify spam links and ignore low-quality backlinks.
This means, if you use spammy links on your website, you may experience a ranking drop in the next couple of weeks when the new algorithm update is fully rolled out. This new update is a continuation of Penguin 4.0 released in 2016.
This is what Google wrote in the ad:
“As part of our ongoing effort to improve the quality of search results, we are launching a new anti-spam link to change today — which we’re calling the ‘Spam Refresh.’ Across multiple languages. Sites involved in spamming links will see changes to their search as those links are re-evaluated by our algorithms.”
As you can see from this ad, Google will remove the spammy links but will not penalize your website for using the spammy links. Specifically, this means that Google will either ignore or not count these links.
However, as a site owner, you need to be aware that if Google ignores links that might have been helping your site’s ranking, you will feel as though you have been penalized, especially if it leads to a sharp drop in your ranking. As a result, you should pay close attention to this update when using links with your content, especially when there is an exchange of value.
Basic rules of link building to avoid being bumped into a spam update
As mentioned earlier, the new Google link spam update is much more effective in identifying spam links. If you’re worried about your search ranking, you shouldn’t take this new update too seriously. After all, this update will identify and eliminate spam links across multiple languages and affect websites around the world, potentially causing site rankings and performance to plummet.
In fact, this update will affect both inbound and outbound links as its primary focus is on adding real value with targeting links. If the website does not follow these instructions, it can lead to manual and algorithm invalidation.
To that end, here’s how to manage links to avoid being exposed to the new Google spam update.
Affiliate links are as used as part of an agreement, ie in exchange for services or products. As such, Google views them as paid links. Website owners and marketers use affiliate links to monetize their traffic, which is fine, provided you don’t overdo it and follow Google’s guidelines for affiliate links.
Google considers affiliate links as paid links, and therefore does not consider them as organic links, which means that they may harm your SEO, especially if they are not the result of real and natural connections.
However, if you are using affiliate programs, you must qualify your links with rel=”sponsorship”. This way, you will continue to benefit from these links without harming your SEO. The best way to achieve this is for the SEO and PR teams to work together to strike a balance when using affiliate links.
Today, Google prioritizes relevant and high-quality pages that provide the best user experience in a search query. To make sure your pages stay relevant, you need to create quality content and only link to other relevant content. In return, Google will reward your site by improving its ranking.
On the other hand, Google will cancel the links on your site if you fail to qualify the affiliate links appropriately. Google does this manually or through arithmetic procedures, both of which will affect how your site appears in the SERPs.
Guest post links
Guest posts are another popular way to drive traffic back to your website and boost your domain authority. However, when done in excess, guest posting links can potentially violate Google’s guest posting guidelines. Here are some of the actions that could make your post in violation of these guidelines:
- Publish articles on many different sites
- Stuffing keyword-rich links into your posts
- Writing less informative articles on the topic at hand
- Copy content on your site without using rel=”canonical” along with rel=”nofollow.”
To qualify links from guest posts, you need to encode them with the value rel=”nofollow”.
Links from sponsored posts
You can also monetize your website by accepting sponsored posts. However, when used in excess, Google may revoke advertising links without the appropriate link tags. To qualify sponsored links, mark them with the value rel=”Sponsorship”.
Link systems that can negatively affect your page’s ranking
Although there are many possibilities for link building strategies, some of them may work against your SEO efforts. In this part, we look at bad link building practices that you should avoid.
Link exchange, also known as backlink swapping or cross-linking, is nothing new. It is a strategy used by thousands of webmasters around the world. It involves giving and receiving exchange links from other web site wonders and bloggers to gain an advantage in search queries.
We’ve come across hundreds of requests from webmasters asking to exchange links. Oh, even websites with massive monthly traffic may want to exchange links. So the question most of our customers ask is “Is link exchange a good SEO strategy?”
Well, this question has different answers depending on who is answering it. For our case, we’ve seen that this strategy helps our clients get high quality backlinks when done right. However, if you ask most SEOs who are not involved in the link building space, they will advise against this practice.
So, what does Google say about link exchange?
Per Google webmaster guidelines, excessive link exchanges are against their terms. As such, you can link to another website but avoid doing so excessively to stay on the safe side.
Random Nofollow links
Some site owners believe that spam links can go undetected by using many random nofollow links. This is a costly bug because Google has advanced mechanisms to detect and invalidate any random footprints.
Buying/selling links that bypass PageRank
Buying or selling links that move PageRank is another bad link building strategy that you should avoid. Specifically, this could be in the form of:
- Giving a free product in exchange for a link
- Exchange of services or products for links
- Buy posts with links
As a general rule, avoid buying non-sponsored links because you will not get the return on investment.
Did not follow (and follow) social bookmark links
Google also sees social bookmarks as manipulative and can act against your SEO if done in excess.
Create links with bots
Tools like XRumer, GSA Search Engine Ranker, etc. may help you to create many links. However, these tools are becoming less effective and can harm your SEO efforts. To avoid Google deeming your links spam, avoid generating links with bots.
Request a link as part of the terms of service or contract
Some website owners and marketers require a link to their website before they can award a contract. Others make it part of the Terms of Service without giving the third-party content owner an opportunity to qualify the outbound link. This is a poor link building strategy and conflicts with Google’s new link spam update.
Private Blogging Networks (PBNs)
Although PBNs could help increase traffic in the past, the situation is completely different now. Today, Google can detect and penalize most PBNs which will greatly hurt your SEO.
Other unnatural links that Google deems spam
Press release links
Press release links were a thing a decade ago. Not anymore, as Google considers them to be manipulative, and therefore classifies them as a link scheme. As such, you should avoid press release links that further optimize the anchor text targeting the main keyword. If you must have such a link, use branded URLs or bare URLs and use only one press release link.
Low quality directory submissions
Although using relevant and targeted directories to get links can benefit your SEO, using low quality directories will negatively impact your rankings. If you must cast to directories, be sure to choose folders with a value.
External discussion forum links
You can keep links from a high quality forum and one that doesn’t look spammy or fraudulent. However, you may want to remove links from foreign discussion forums, spam links are of low quality as these links will only harm your ranking.
Other offensive links that Google may consider spam include:
- Links in the footers
- Guest post campaigns with redundant keyword rich text links
- Pay for article links that bypass PageRank
How to implement effective digital public relations
Digital PR is one of the most effective strategies you can use to achieve greater online presence and visibility. Digital PR is based on four main digital components:
When you do it right, digital PR can reach and influence a broader audience than traditional PR. To that end, here’s how to implement effective digital PR for your online business.
Define your PR goals
Although this sounds obvious, building a digital PR strategy without setting your goals is suicidal. That’s why you need to consider your goals carefully when building a digital PR strategy. Some of the things an excellent digital PR strategy can help you achieve include:
- SEO optimization
- Increase brand awareness
- Improve lead generation
- Get X influencer benefits and increase trust in your brand
- Grow your email marketing list which is key to increasing sales
Define your audience
Knowing your audience is a pivotal component of a successful digital PR strategy. It’s an excellent way to determine who to target with your digital marketing campaigns. Some of the basic things you need before creating a PR strategy include:
- A clear understanding of your target audience
- Do some research on competitors
Ideally, having a clear understanding of your target audience helps:
- Understand their pain points
- Know where to go for the news
- Understand what kind of content they like
- Find out what hashtags they share
- Understand the topics and topics that interest them the most
Know your target media
Online publications such as Instagrammers, bloggers, and YouTubers are an important part of digital PR. Whichever media you choose, be sure to contact the right person.
Get creative with your content and search interaction
Now that you know your target media, the next thing is to think about the ideas and angles of your content. The best thing is to create a list of ideas and then prioritize them based on what your target audience is interested in. When you have priority topics, research them more to get a better idea of what they involve and how best to cover them.
test and measure
When everything is ready, it’s time to implement your PR strategy. For better results, test and measure your strategy against your goals and make changes as necessary. Make sure every member of your team knows what’s going on so you can brainstorm the next step to take. This way, you will know what works and what doesn’t and decide where to improve.