Types of Links (Both Good and Bad)
Types of Links (Both Good and Bad)
As we mentioned, quality is more important than ever, because Google has begun penalizing websites that build low-quality or spammy links. In the past, SEOs have been able to border on the risky side when it came to link building. Techniques such as article submissions and directory listings were commonly recommended by SEO companies, because they worked well and posed little risk if done correctly. However, times have changed with the introduction of the Penguin updates from Google which aggressively hurt websites that pursue these low-quality link building techniques. In this chapter, we’ll give you a sense for the types of links you should and shouldn’t focus on building.
“Natural” Editorial Links
This type of link is the holy grail for SEOs. Essentially, these are the links that you didn’t even have to ask for because they are editorially given by other website owners. This is much more efficient than having to contact someone and ask them to link to you. However, you need to give someone a good reason to do so, and you need to find ways of making large numbers of bloggers aware of that reason.An example of a good reason may be a great piece of content that you’ve created which you then seeded with a few key influential bloggers, and through that process more bloggers have naturally become aware of it. This is hard to do and can take time, which is part of why these types of links are so highly valued. They are also the types of links that Google often hold up as great examples, indicating that they will stand the test of time.
Manual “Outreach” Link Building
This is probably one of the most common types of link-building you’ll perform as an SEO, particularly if you’re just starting out or your business is still quite small and unknown. It involves manually contacting website owners and bloggers, asking them to link to you. Again, you need to give them a reason to link to you and to be successful, you need to be contacting people who are relevant. If you’re contacting people who have no connection to your industry, then they are likely to be confused when you ask for a link.
Self-created, Non-editorial Links
This type of link is generally frowned upon these days, as it often falls in line with black-hat practices that aim to fool the search engines into thinking a piece of content is relevant and important when it actually isn’t (more on black-hat practices in Chapter 6). With the introduction of Penguin in 2012 (and the subsequent updates to it), Google has begun devaluing and even penalizing this type of link.Due to these links not being editorially given, they inherently carry less weight than the other types of links. In the past, they have been useful for some SEOs working on certain websites, but you should use great caution in their implementation now.
A few examples may be:
• Blog comments that are not moderated• Press releases with optimized anchor text• Article directories• Guest post signatures• Advertorials• Embeddable widgets• Infographic embeds• User profile pages• Guestbooks• Forum signatures• Directories that are not moderated
The types of links you choose to pursue with your strategy should depend on your existing link profile, but in general, you should avoid links that are not editorially given. Instead, you should focus on the tactics that will give you editorial links that add value to your website and business.