To begin, what exactly are toxic backlinks and how do you identify them? Search engines such as Google consider toxic backlinks to indicate that your website provides a poor user experience as well as that your site is not credible. In the past, link buying was a spammy, get-links-fast scheme to get your site listed everywhere on the internet, including on a large number of websites that provided no value to their visitors.
The fact that Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving means that at one point, a site’s quantity of backlinks may have been more important than the quality of those links. People would even create pointless websites solely for the purpose of selling links on those websites. Afterwards, they would contact unsuspecting website owners who were looking to increase the number of links on their site.
However, Google, as expected, detected the fraud and increased the importance placed on quality when determining search result placement. Today, Google may penalize your website if it has a large number of unnatural links pointing back to it from other websites.
In order to understand what to look for when identifying these toxic backlinks, Google outlines what it considers to be “link schemes,” which can result in your website being penalized by the search engine. SEO
Paid links, for which you must exchange money, goods, or services in exchange for access.
Links you received as a result of sending someone a free product to review Links that appear on websites that are specifically designed for cross-linking
- Links within a single piece of content that is distributed across multiple websites
- In low-quality content, links should be avoided.
- Links generated by automated programs or services are referred to as “deep links.”
- The inclusion of links on low-quality bookmarking or directory websites
- Including hyperlinks in digital press releases
- Comments in the forum may contain links.
Not all of the backlinks on the list above are considered harmful. When determining whether a link is spammy, consider whether it is natural or unnatural, and whether it is in a high-quality piece of content on a high-quality website to make the determination.
Consider the following scenario: you’re releasing a press release about a new restaurant you’re planning to open. It makes perfect sense to include a link to your website in the press release. However, linking random words to your menu, such as “best pizza in London,” and your contact page, such as “tastiest pasta in Sussex,” and then sending that press release to every single site that will host it, may result in you being penalized by Google.
Commenting on blogs and forums is the same as posting on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. If you’ve read an article and are genuinely interested in leaving a comment, and the widget allows you to enter your website URL, go ahead and do so. Alternatively, if you’re commenting on 300 random blogs a day with “Hi, great article!” and linking back to your site, you’re likely to be building up a substantial amount of toxic backlinks in the process.