Tribute Media | Inbound Marketing Blog

SEO Tip: Keys to Avoiding Toxic Links

Written by Sarah Wai | Sep 13, 2016 8:03:00 PM

Every SEO company has (at some point or another) written a blog or given a speech on the importance of link building, Tribute Media included. In fact, we've written a few, because link building is never as simple as it may seem.

There are two things to keep in mind:
  1. Some links have a positive impact

  2. Some links don't

"Well, duh!"

In the past, we've really delved into what positive links are and their impact. But now we want to take an in-depth look at links that hurt your rankings.

Google's Webmaster guidelines state:

"Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site."

"Well, that's not at all vague."

No company wants to be de-indexed or penalized. Read on for link tactics you'll want to avoid in order to prevent that from happening.

Key Links to Avoid

Spun Article Links

We've run into our fair share of these during our time as a web marketing company. A company will take an article that they or someone else has written, and they will use a software program to "spin" the article into many other articles. Sometimes it will be just different enough that you almost can't tell it was spun, or it will be straight gibberish. Then these articles are posted to various sites and linked back to your website.

If anyone ever tells you this is a good tactic, don't listen to them. Just trust us on this.

Spammy Comments

You would not believe how many people comment on our blogs with links to "similar software or solutions", or just want us to "check out their company." They try to be sly, saying things like, "This was such an informative article. Thanks for sharing! Have you checked out a similar article we have written? You can find it here: [insert spam URL]"

A word of advice: Just click delete. Guaranteed, that is a spam site, and you don't want that link associated with your site.

The truth is: too many companies fail to moderate the comments on their site, and then find that these spam comments have been penalizing their site. Don't let that happen to you!

One of the many things we love about Hubspot is that its platform enables us to easily monitor all comments that are posted to our blog. As soon as someone posts, an email is sent to the appropriate moderator, and the comment is either approved or deleted. Simple as that.

Non-Niche Reciprocal Links

Pointing your audience to links is going to (and should) happen as a natural part of your site building. The key is to make sure those sites are your niche market. If they're not, and you have an exorbitant amount of them, you're going to get yourself into trouble.

For example, if you're a construction company, don't start blogging about the new iPads your company purchased or the software you use to organize your crew's schedules. Although this may be monumental or important for your company, Google just sees it as unassociated with your business and therefore are considered spammy links and topics. If you write about topics that aren't your niche market, make sure they are marked as "nofollow." Otherwise, Google can penalize you for these links.

Not Every Link is Created Equal

We will say this until we are blue in our faces. Be wary of the links you allow on your site.

Make sure they are honest, non-spammy, and applicable to your niche market, and you'll be on the right track.