It’s been a rough summer for some unfortunate website owners and SEO professionals who are feeling the wrath of Google’s Penguin 2.0 release. Since the big update in May, many have been scrambling to re-evaluate their link profiles and make sure that nothing comes back to haunt them.
The original version of Penguin, released in April 2012, taught us that the quality of links to your site matters much more than the quantity. If you tried to outsmart Google’s algorithm by playing the numbers game, there’s a
chance your site got hit with a penalty.
Link building for SEO is huge, so it’s important for search marketers to understand what they’re looking out for. In a recent article I explained the qualities of a “good link,” but I didn’t get too far into how to spot the red flags of a bad link building opportunity. Here are a few qualities of sites that you should probably stay away from when building links:
If you find link building easy, you’re probably doing it wrong. It’s very possible that these links are even hurting your site! The best links you build are often based on relationships, which take time and effort.
Acquiring a link from a well-trusted fantasy football site won’t really help if you’re a Pilates studio. You’d be much better off working to get links from fitness-related sites instead.
If you’re ever unsure about whether a link is relevant or not, ask yourself the following: “Would this link actually drive the kind of traffic that I want to my site? Will it expose my brand to people who are potential clients?” If the answer is no, this probably isn’t the best link for your site.
Related keywords on a site are a good thing… in moderation. Pay close attention to how many times the keywords are listed on the page. If the site is stuffed with keywords it will likely get penalized at some point.
Lack of Design
You can often tell the quality of a site just by looking at it. If the site looks like the owner put no time, money or love into it consider it a red flag. Spammy sites often look dull- think free themes, no branding elements, nothing special.
No Social Links
If a website owner didn’t put any effort into making his site look impressive, chances are he or she also didn’t take the time to create social media pages. Every smart business owner understands the importance of a social media presence, so if the site lacks social links consider this a red flag.
No Contact Info
If you can’t find contact information or figure out who owns the site, it’s very possible that it’s part of a link farm network. Google doesn’t like those!
I hope that these tips I listed help you out, but it’s also important to remember to use your judgment when it comes to link building. Trust your instinct, and if you feel that a site looks suspicious, listen to your gut.