How to Avoid Bad Links to Your Site

How to Avoid Bad Links to Your Site

As you most likely have heard, the Penguin update was all about the links that point to your site from others (some of them may be bad links). The problem is you can’t really control all your links (the ones that you got in a natural way), but you need to do whatever possible to tweak the links you have control over. The interesting – and obvious for that matter – thing is that you need to keep an eye not only on the sites that you get links from, but you also should  monitor the percentage of your anchor text exact match keywords, because this factor can drastically influence your keyword rankings. And that’s exactly what I’ll start from.

Anchor Text Percentage

If you’re not a newbie – if you are, no problem either 🙂 – you definitely know that the actual amount of links that you need to your site can vary from site to site. And you can’t really say whether, for example, 1 000 is many links or not. It all depends on how many links your direct competitors have. Now, the same situation is with exact match keywords that you have.

You can just investigate your competitors situations and see how they do it. That done, just compare it with what you have. Then you just can either decrease or increase the amount of exact match keywords. Having changed that, see if it improved your rankings.

In case it has not, try to either increase or increase a few times until you can see some change (positive or negative). Thus you’ll be able to define the correct amount of exact match keywords for your site. Just make sure that you are not running a few tests simultaneously, because you won’t be able to see if your keyword tweaking worked or not.

Though it’s really better to perform the actions that I’ve already highlighted above, some well-known SEO gurus recommend using only about 50% of exact match words. Gillian Muessig is one of those who supports this ratio. Some also say that 70% won’t do any harm, but again, you need to test it for your site.

It goes without saying that Gillian is a very clever person but your case can be different. It depends on many conditions under which your site is working, such as the industry you’re in and so on. The rule of thumb would be to keep in mind that the gurus say but test it for your own situation.  It’s a surefire way, unless you’re really unlucky.

Now that we know the percentage of keywords that you need it would make sense to get to know what sort of links you need to avoid.

What links are bad nowadays

After the last Google’s algo update, many people are having a hard time trying to get their keyword rankings back. And that’s because some techniques were previously considered white SEO, but now they became really black ones. Plus the odds are that in many cases you can’t even change the incoming links that you already have. And you can’t influence then in any way, because you got them in a natural way, which means that you can’t just contact a person and tell him or her to remove your link or just change its anchor text. It really looks that buying links would make the situation less nervous, but perhaps Google is just trying to tell us something. Like buy our ads. 🙂 The question about why you should suffer because of your previously perfect links is still open, but Google does not seem to be having a problem with that. So, the following links are considered bad in our day and age and they should be avoided:

1.   Footer links. This sort of links usually reside in the footer of a WordPress theme. So, if you’re one of the companies who create themes and give them away for free (for keeping your linkback), it’s high time to reconsider that method. Sure thing, it does not mean that every site that has this sort of links will definitely suffer, but it’s really better to play safe and future proof. So, if you had something like that in your plans, it’s perfect timing to brainstorm for some other ideas (like guest blogging for that matter).

2.   Site-wide links. This sort of links is a regular thing for WordPress blogrolls. So, if you’re on the fence whether to buy such a link for your site, you most definitely need to reconsider that. Instead of obtaining site-wide links, you need to diversity your link profile by, say, blog commenting or some other Penguin friendly way. 3. Links on brand new sites. You will be better off, if you make sure that you don’t buy links on too young sites. It makes your link building more proficient if you get links from blogs which are over 1 year old (it equals 18 in the real world :)). The more the better in this case. Hands down.  In my personal opinion, it’s not that big of a problem, if your own site is pretty new, but if it’s not and you get links from really new and fresh sites, the whole linkbuilding can be very suspicious. And you don’t wanna mess with Google.

4. Links from low traffic sites. Since the amount of traffic influences your overall site profile, it works the same way on the sites you have links from. So, you need to make sure that you do due diligence and check the traffic of the site you’re trying to get a link from.  You can start from just emailing and directly asking for that information. The chances are the site’s admin will get back to you with that info, but you need to take it with a grain of salf. For the most part, they exaggerate their traffic numbers. Just keep that in mind when you look at those ‘amazing” numbers.

5. Poorly indexed sites. What I mean by that is the situation when a site has lots of pages but just a few (in other words just a percentage of them) are indexed by Gooogle. That’s not without a reason, as you might have guessed. 🙂

6. Too many outbound links (also know as OBL). The more outbound links a site has, the less Google juice it’ll be able to donor to your site. In case you decided to buy a text link on such a site, at least make it a cheap buy. You can refer to the enormous amount of links while deciding on the prie to pay. I’m sure that you’ll be able to get a discount from the admin (or the person in charge of link selling) if you mention all the slew of the links that the site has. In case you can’t actually get a discount,  think again if you need that link .

7. Low-quality sites. Low quality sites were attacked by the Panda update last year, but they still exist (du!) and can try to sell you a link. Let’s recall what’s a low-quality site:exclusively short posts, most posts have lots of images and hardly any text, shallow content of posts, too many links (especially above the fold), mostly and overwhelmingly borrowed content (not unique), not a single video, bad spelling, keyword stuffing. Any experienced SEO can recognize such a site at first sight, but it’s not gonna be love for sure.

What it all boils down to …

Google is like the Earth. It’s changing on a regular basis, but it happens that volcanoes erupt (major algo updates), which can change the course of how you’re supposed to live (do SEO). The only escape seems to be the obvious one: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make use of all sorts of linkbuilding methods and be active on social networking sites, because it’ll allow you to build a reputable brand (person) or corporate). And you want that, because the practice shows that it’ll give you SEO stability along with the financial one. If you’re a known brand – at least in your niche – you’ll have less issues with any upcoming Google updates. In other words, you’ll stand really firm. So, you really need to become a pro in your industry .. and that makes perfect sense. What do you think about that?

About The Author

Vitaliy Kolos

Coming from tech support background, Vitaliy Kolos is into tons of web stuffs: WordPress SEO (his forte), web design, web development, inbound marketing and everything in between. Other than that, he's an avid audiobook reader and insatiable digital nomad.

  • I would appreciate if you would also right a post and throw some light on using Disavow and other tools to avoid such links.

    • Thanks for your comment. As a matter of fact, I’m working on one site that has the issue of a whole lot of lousy links and I can’t have those sites remove backlinks. The odds are I’ll have to use the Disavow tool and then I’ll be able to provide you guys with a real life feedback on how that works. I just don’t really like talking about something I did not actually try. 🙂

      Meanwhile, I can suggest using the Detox tools from