Having a high ranking in search results is the goal of every website. The higher you are listed, the more people will see your site. However, some people will do nefarious things to get their website listed higher on the results page. One tactic some people employ is external spamming links.
What Is Link Spam?
Link spam is also called blog spam, comment spam, or wikispam. This practice consists of posting as many links as possible out of context in discussion forums, websites, blog comments, guest books, or any place online that shows user comments. Purchasing link-building packages makes it easy for people to create link spam. Some companies will use spamming links to try to hurt their competitors by lowering their search rank.
What Are the Types of Link Spam?
There are multiples types of spam links you need to avoid.
Press release links aren’t as popular anymore, but they used to be fairly common. Basically, you created a press release for something related to your business and sent it to many websites. Those websites would then link your press release, and you would end up with a ton of links to your website.
Over time, people abused this method, and it is now recognized as a link scheme by Google. This means if you are caught using it, Google will penalize you. The practice is bad because the links are easy to manipulate, which makes your site seem suspicious.
There is a practice of creating fake blogs, and many people post content to it. This doesn’t seem bad at first, but the blog’s entire purpose is to create backlinks to the poster’s business. Unfortunately, this creates a lot of artificial backlinks, and Google does not like this.
Another aspect of blog networks is when people buy the domains for websites with high domain authority. They then use those websites to create backlinks for their primary sites. The thought is that since it has high domain authority, Google will see it as trustworthy. However, Google has caught on and will heavily penalize you for doing this.
Guest book Links
Some websites will have a page dedicated to having you sign a virtual guestbook. It will allow you to post links to your site in the comments. If Google catches wind of this, it will automatically lower your rank.
This tactic requires you to write a bunch of articles that link back to your website. There are sites designed for you to place your articles where many people will see them. Google has caught on to this, and if you have too many of these, it can devalue your links. However, if you are doing it on your own you probably don’t have anything to worry about.
Directories can be a great place for link building and to help increase your ranking. However, there are many low-quality directories out there that will actually hurt your ranking rather than help it. While Google won’t demote your site for being a part of low-quality directories, it might devalue the links which means they won’t help you much.
This is the type of spamming where people place backlinks into comments on your website. This can quickly get out of control if it isn’t moderated. Spam links in the comments of your website won’t necessarily hurt your ranking, but it also won’t look good on you when people see it.
Those are just a handful of types of link spam. However, keep in mind that any links used only to drive traffic to a specific place are potentially bad, and you should avoid them.
What Is the Goal of Link Spam?
One goal of link spam is to increase the number of links found across the internet that lead back to your website. The idea is that the more links you have, the higher ranking you will have on Google. The higher you rank in search engine results pages (SERPs), the higher your visibility, the more visitors you will get, and it can potentially lead to more customers. However, if you get caught putting up deceptive links, Google will punish you. The second goal of link spam is when a competitor hopes Google will punish you for the spam links they are putting up.
Consequences of Link Spam for Your Website
Typically, numerous links to your page would increase your rank, but when you partake in black hat practices like those mentioned above, it will actually decrease your ranking. Likewise, if the search engine determines that your site is not well viewed, it will decrease traffic to your site and lower your ranking. It’s possible your website could even be deleted from the SERP.
How To Avoid Link Spamming
While there is not much you can do to stop people from creating bad links to your website, aside from manually approving comments, there are steps you can take to get rid of them. First, you can work with an SEO agency like Miromind who will help you identify bad links. Once you have identified the bad links, your next step is to contact the person who put it there and request they take it down. This isn’t likely to work, but Google requires you to try it before they step in. You can also try reaching out to the hosting company and ask them to remove the links.
If that doesn’t work, your final step is to reach out to Google and use their Disavow Links tools. This tool will allow you to give Google a list of links and domains you wish for them to ignore.
Spamming links is a process used to create many links that go back to a specific website. While this doesn’t seem bad at first, the way it is often done is sneaky and ultimately bad for getting your website to appear in the SERP. Sometimes, businesses will try to lower a competitor’s rank on the SERP by creating bad backlinks to their website, which can cause the competitor’s rank to lower, but it isn’t common anymore.
Some common spammy links to look out for include press releases, blog networks, guest book links, article marketing, directory links, and comment links.
If you are engaging in spamming links to benefit your website, you can get penalized by Google. If you are doing it through legitimate means, you likely don’t need to worry. Just don’t buy packages of backlinks as that can get you in trouble.
While having spammy comments in the comment section of your website may look unsightly, it is not going to affect your search rank. If you do find a link you want removed, you can take it up with Google and their Disavow Links Tool.