There was a time when nearly every type of link was welcome by a website. Sure, link exchanges weren’t a good idea and “nofollow” links didn’t carry much value but outside of that, most of the time any type of external link to your website was a good thing as they could boost your search engine rankings.
In the wake of the recent Google Panda and Penguin updates and the deindexing of blog networks, the link game has changed. SEO has become more about marketing, branding, and building relationships. Link strategies that were viewed by many SEOs in 2011 as being advantageous can now be deadly to a site’s SERPs.
In light of these changes, we provide our five worst types of links:
1. Sitewide Footer Links.
These links have always been abused. Companies created free WordPress themes with encoded text in the footer to prevent removal of their links from the site. These themes were primarily created for the link value. Also many webmasters and SEOs sought keyword anchor text footer links to boost their rankings.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, confirmed that Penguin was an algorithmic update. Studies have shown that sites that reached a certain threshold for targeted anchor text keywords could trigger a penalty against the site. This makes sitewide links particularly dangerous as you can quickly surpass this threshold.
2. Sitewide Blogroll Links.
These are very similar footer links. If you are seeking a blogroll link, you may want to make sure the site uses different sidebar templates so that the link does not appear sitewide.
3. Easy Submit Directory Links.
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines prohibit site owners and operators from buying links to pass page rank. Some online directories are free to add your site but they likely hold little SEO value (there are some exceptions in niche directories). Many directories charge fees to submit/add your site to the directory largely for the SEO value.
Not all online directories should be avoided for links. If the directory drives relevant traffic to your website, the link has value. This is especially true with industry niche directories. Also, directories that have an editorial review process and do not include all sites submitted can also have more value. These types of directories include Yahoo Directory and Best of the Web.
4. Article Directories.
Another quick and easy link. While some article directory sites such as ezine.com and articlesbase.com do actually have a review process, can obtain significant traffic to an article, and provide you a link, the links are typically nofollow or of little value.
Article directories were also abused by article spinning, which created incomprehensible spun content just for the sake of a link. Webmasters could easily submit their spun articles to hundreds of directories for the purposes of links. These practices, which pollute the web with contextual scat, have made article directory links largely worthless.
Article marketing can be still be effective when it is targeted, high quality content in the form of guest posts on worthy, relevant sites.
5. Spammy Blog Comments.
Similar to article directories, blog commenting has also been abused over the years. Programs such as XRumer allowed you to blast out blog comments to hundreds of sites for the purposes of links. These were very low quality automated comments that had little to do with the blog post they were submitted to. Many of these sites resided on blog networks, some of which have been shut down.
Blog comments can still be useful if done manually and engage the blogger and other commenters. These types of comments, which really aren’t done for link value, can help boost your status online by creating more authority and credibility and build new relationships with the potential to drive more traffic to your site and social network pages.
Article by: +Jason Nelson