If petrol is what can fuel a fire, then for many SEO experts it is backlinks that fuel rankings. It is not difficult to understand why this is the case because for Google to determine the relevancy and more importantly, the authority of a website, it is backlinks that give it the best indications of these.
For relevancy, it will be the anchor text included in the backlink, and as for authority, the more established and authoritative the website being linked from, the more beneficial the backlink. This is because some of that authority from the first website is being passed by association via the backlink to the second website.
The ability of backlinks to heavily influence where Google ranks a website page for a particular keyword has meant there is a huge emphasis on website owners to find and obtain backlinks. Many take the sensible route and employ a professional SEO agency to create a backlinking strategy for them. Unfortunately, others are not so sensible and decide to obtain backlinks in any way possible.
The danger they face is that many of the blackhat tactics used to gain those links are identified relatively quickly by Google. The result is at best Google reducing rankings until the links are removed. In the worst case, they will simply delist the website from search results completely. To ensure these do not happen to you, here are seven backlinking tactics you must avoid.
#1 Automatic Backlinks Generators: These paid services offer to create lots of links for a fee with ridiculous offers like ten thousand backlinks within a week for fifty dollars. Created by software, these backlinks are easily identified by Google and a website that obtains that many backlinks so quickly will also raise a red flag.
#2 Paying For Links: Unlike links from paid advertising, which are fine, this is the practice of paying directly for backlinks. They might be created more naturally than the automatic generators but the websites they come from tend to be link farms and Google soon identifies them as spam.
#3 Linking From Article Directories: whilst article directories do still serve a useful purpose, they are no longer effective for SEO. Google has downgraded them so any links from them will not make any positive contribution to your rankings.
#4 Linking From Spam Forums: There are plenty of legitimate forums and links from these are useful. The forums we are referring to are those that are set up purely for backlinking purposes are easily identified as spam forums because they have no user activity.
#5 Linking From Foreign Websites: An example that illustrates this blackhat activity perfectly is a landscaping service in Perth, Australia, obviously with English text, with lots of backlinks coming from foreign language websites based in China or Albania. Google penalises this practice with lower rankings.
#6 Swapping Links: Whilst websites may link to each other for legitimate reasons, the practice of reciprocal linking is not one that Google encourages. This is especially so with link farms who agree to link to websites multiple times if they link back to them.
#7 Hiding Links: Not a tactic that gains backlinks, it is instead one that disguises them so that visitors click on them inadvertently. The means of disguising links to hide them include punctuation marks and having anchor text the same colour as the background, both of which will incur a penalty if Google discovers them.