One of the biggest things to come out of the Panda and Penguin updates was the damage incoming links from low quality sites were doing to many online business websites.
For the purpose of this article I will refer to them as “Bad Links”.
Look anywhere online and you will see countless webmasters and site owners talking about bad links and how they have destroyed not only their rankings but their online livelihood. There are even posts online about other webmasters using Negative SEO to hurt their competitors by linking to them using these low quality sites, but personally I have not seen any hard and fast facts that can really support that.
The problem here is that pre-2012 everyone was touting the more links you have to a web page, the more Google and other search engines will love you and boost your search engine rankings. Initially many of the search engine algorithms were designed as an indicator as to whether a site should rise the search ranking due to link popularity. And that was true, it was a vote for your site in the eyes of the search engines which indicated the authority of your site, now however and thanks to many spammers that has changed forever.
What Can Be Considered As Bad Links?
Bad links are back links to your site that are either placed on Link Farms, Forums, Comment Spam on blogs or even through setting up link wheels without having the right knowledge to do it correctly.
All of these tactics were common place throughout 2009 to the start of 2012 and many companies made a fortune setting these campaigns up for unwary site owners.
Although some link farms can be created by hand, most are created through automated programs and services. A link farm is a form of spamming the index of a search engine (sometimes called spamdexing or spamexing).”
Why these types of practices were exposed as bad links is really anyone’s guess, but from my research it as all about footprints, what has happen here is that webmasters only used one of the tactics and not the others leaving a very distinct footprint for Google to follow.
As an example lets say you were using an article submission service that was going to submit your article to thousands of blogs and get you thousands of links. Sounds really good right, but in fact it is the worst thing you can do, firstly it does not look natural and most of the time a spun article was used making the content very low quality and placed on low quality sites that were not related to your site at all.
The only foot print that Google could see was lots of links from blogs, what about all the social sites and other platforms that were not being found in the sites link profile it just isn’t
Another suggestion I would highly recommend is that you as the business owner take a minute to read the Google Webmaster Guidelines before you commit to any services whether that be web design or SEO. After all you did not get this far in business without knowing your product or service or even any suppliers you use, your website design and creation should be no different.
Understanding The Implications Of Bad Links And The Practice Of Manipulation
Right now, 2013 and beyond you are going to find that Google, the lord and supreme master of this ranking methodology, will often penalize any sites that provide back links to links that serve no purpose but to try to manipulate search rankings. This leads to a potentially very dangerous situation because you have no real control over what sites choose to link to yours, unless your website is a blog in which case you can banish links from being attached to your site.
There is hope if you find that you do have lots of bad links pointing at your site, Google has introduced what is called a DISAVOW tool where you can enter in any URLs that you no longer want counted as links to your site. however before doing this you need to understand that Google expects you to actually contact the webmaster of the offending site first via email or any means that you can to ask for the link or links to be removed.
If you receive a response from the offending (low quality) site then you need to do nothing, but if you receive no response then you need to use the DISAVOW Tool to force the removal of the bad link. To use this tool you will need to have a Google Account, which I hope you already do. If you are not sure how to use this tool please subscribe to our site feed as I will be writing a complete tutorial on how to use this tool effectively. Bing also has this feature Bing Disavow Links.