If you missed Part One of this series, you can find it here. Check it out before reading on if you like or come back to it later, either one works for us!
So many things can have a website owner worried over the state of their site. Is there something they are unwittingly doing that could earn them a penalty from Google? Is there anything they can do if they have been stricken with a penalty, or is it something that their site will be followed by forever? Lucky for anyone who is worried about such things, there is plenty of information available online about how to steer clear of a penalty, or recover from one if your site has been penalized.
Trouble with Your Links
Another potential problem area for many websites revolves around links.
Inbound, outbound, internal…it doesn’t matter. They all have the potential to cause some big issues! Again, it’s not time to panic and jump into action just yet. It is not likely that you are in danger of a penalty from your links unless you have engaged in some unsavory practices in the recent past.
You could get in trouble if your links are:
Excessive – If you have a 10 page website and 100,000 links in the past month…..yeah, you’ve got some excessive (and rapid / un-natural) link-building going on there. Scaling it back a little might be a good idea! Another example of excess linking is having a huge navigation menu (even nested and drop-down menus). An excessive amount of links can come from different areas, even content and article marketing or social media. There is a difference between something going viral and an excessive blast of low-quality links and the major search engines can usually tell the difference. We say usually because nothing is infallible, even Google.
Too similar (exact-match anchor text) – If you have a diverse link profile but only have a dozen different keywords and phrases that you are using for anchor text for these links you might be cruising for trouble. While exact-match anchor text for back-links was very popular in the recent past, these days it can get you into hot water with Google. Even exact-match domain names are falling under closer scrutiny thanks to abuse and general over-use by many web masters.
Bought / Exchanged – Both of these are a no-no in the eyes of Google. All purchased links need to have a “nofollow” attribute so that they do not pass PageRank. Paying for a link isn’t necessarily the issue (otherwise most ads would be wrong one way or another), but you can bet that paying for PageRank is! Exchanged links are a no-no because there is a lot of potential for abuse and exchanges between completely irrelevant sites. You might not have this intention in mind when exchanging links with someone, but a lot of other people have and Google has decided to take action.
Video: White Hat Link Building for SEO [Episode 12] – Tuesday’s Tips & Tactics – by KunoCreative
For the post and slides that accompany this video, make sure to visit the author’s blog here.
What you should take away from this is that in order to avoid a penalty for unnatural / excessive links you should focus instead on creating high-quality content that makes other people want to link to it. You can then involve yourself with the online community, commenting on industry blogs, and engaging users on social networks. The goal is to be genuine, be approachable, and be human. Write for humans and not for search engines and you will be on your way to getting the links (and traffic) you desire and staying out of trouble in the bargain. Remember, all things in moderation, especially link-building!
Click on the graphic for a larger version – Original graphic courtesy of shellshockuk.com
What does your back-link profile look like? Have you had any trouble with Google’s algorithm updates?
You don’t have to be specific if you don’t want to, we certainly don’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable!