Among the many things that you need to rank in search engines, few are as important and prominent as backlinks. And just as you would expect, there are countless wrong ways to do it. Webmasters that engage in poor or unethical link building practices eventually find their websites suddenly plummeting in search rankings.
The ramifications of bad backlinking are now so immense that there is now an entire industry devoted to fixing it. Bad backlink removal companies like linkcleaners.com make their living by purging spammy, irrelevant links from the client’s link profile, helping them avoid or recover from penalties.
How can you prevent penalties in the first place, or at the very least, avoid them in the future? Even if you don’t do the SEO for your website, you should still educate yourself on the basics. Start with these common backlink misconceptions.
1. Quantity is everything – Is the number of backlinks important? Yes, but it’s far from the only factor. As mentioned before, any backlinks from low quality or irrelevant sources do more harm than good. Even worse, some have even started exploiting this in the form of creating negative SEO for their competitors. If you suddenly receive many unnatural backlinks, beware.
2. Link profile ratios don’t matter – Even if each individual backlink looks solid and perfectly natural, looking at them as a whole might tell an entirely different story. If too many of them are coming from a single source, such as forum profiles, this is a major red flag.
3. PageRank is everything – As far as metrics go, PageRank comes up very often in link building discussions. While it helps in determining the quality of a website, too many people treat it as the sole defining factor.
4. You can buy them – If anyone ever attempts to sell you backlinks, run as fast as you can in the opposite direction (or just delete the email, as the case may be). These are almost always of terrible quality, even those that claim to provide high PageRank backlinks. At best, you will simply waste money, but it is far more likely that your rankings will take a huge hit.
5. Anchor text is irrelevant – While Google claims to be reducing its reliance on anchor text in determining rank, it is still something worth considering. Some experiments show that relevant, but varying anchor text performs better than the opposite. If nothing else, good anchor text also looks more natural, enticing more clicks from people who see it.
The summary? Use backlinks in the spirit of their original purpose, and it is hard to go wrong. Staywithin the guidelines and your website will receive the benefits it deserves.