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-Links: Not All Links are Created Equal

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One of the ways to increase traffic to your site is to increase the authority and search results from Google and others. Genuine links to your site are helpful in this process.

However gone are the days when ‘just any old link’ will do, and some can get you in trouble with Google and actually blacklist your site with search engines or downgrade its authority at the very least.

Here’s a list of Don’ts when it comes to linking:

1. Automatic Website ‘Submitters’

When I began blogging 5 years ago I bought a ‘Website Promoter’ program that submitted my blog to 600,000 or so search engines and directories in 3 minutes or better all around the globe.

It actually worked back then and got my blog some instant international visibility. But it also ended up getting me all sorts of unwanted spam attention with literally hundreds of emails calling for confirmation of links for my site to directories I really didn’t want to be on and reciprocal linking to lists or promotions that were nothing more than ‘link farms’.

Search engines and real directories stopped receiving auto submissions long ago and now treat them as unwanted spam.

*TIP: A day doesn’t go by that I don’t receive email info or see a link on some website about some kind of ‘new’ program that will automatically submit your site to all of the important directories and get you hundreds if not thousands of valuable links. Don’t bite- SAVE YOUR MONEY!

2. Link Farms

5-6 years ago link farms might have actually helped but now all they do is get you in trouble and potentially blacklisted by Google. If you don’t know what a ‘link farm’ is just ‘Google it’ and read up.

3. Link Exchange Schemes

Link exchange schemes used to work but now they can only hurt you particularly if the sites you are linking to are commercial or have entirely different content than yours. Hundreds of ‘exchanged’ non-related reciprocal links can get your site downgraded as some kind of spammer.

4. Links from Related Pseudo Sites

Years ago folks used to create a bunch of fake sites on Blogger (free) with little or no real content in order to provide links for blogs or websites they were trying to build up or promote. Used to actually work but like any other SEO strategies it was abused big time.

At one point over 40% of the Blogger blogs were actually fake spammer sites filled with AdSense ads and related links. I even heard of one guy in Utah that created a program that automatically set up 10’s of thousands of Blogger sites all filled with nothing but AdSense ads and related commercial linking.

None of that works anymore except to get you blacklisted.

5. Reciprocal Linking to lessor Sites (or Worse)

You have to be careful who you link to. There are always friends, readers, and fellow bloggers that you might develop a relationship with along the way and naturally exchange links with.

However, you may have exchanged links with another site a year or so ago when you were new and it seemed to be a good deal for all but if the site you are linking to doesn’t produce similar content it really doesn’t help.

Then if the site is on a much lower level than yours or goes dormant it can actually hurt. Even worse if it turns into a spammer or the new owner of the domain now cranks out porno.

*Tip: it’s a good idea to check out all of your blogroll links at least once a month. A couple of times I have let it go for several months only to be unpleasantly surprised.

6. Links to Commercial Sites

At some point you may decide to monetize your site to pay for your expenses or even make a little money. You may be doing nothing more than promoting your own books, records, or your own commercial business. No problem.

However, too many commercial links on your site can actually get you downgraded and even classified as a spammer. How much is too much? Google AdSense actually provides guidelines for advertising.

Conclusion:

Remember for the search engines like Google it is all about good content. A site filled with commercial links doesn’t leave enough room for what really counts. Real content.

Anyone who has been around a while and searched for some specific info on the Internet only to find out that the interesting title with so much promise took you to a pseudo-site with little or no content and tons of commercial links and ads. This is what the search engines like Google are trying to eliminate.

Content is king and backlinks to real content are always golden.

*Tip: Google actually provides helpful guidelines for websites and blogs: Webmaster Guidelines

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