Link building is still a very important ranking factor. Most webmasters and SEO spend quite a lot of time in link building and development. If you read Google Webmaster Guidelines on link building you will understand that Google takes links as a very serious ranking factor therefore they are against any link building methods that are against their guidelines.
(For those who don’t know what link building is – in a nutshell it is a process of getting links from other websites pointing to a site that you own or are hired to increase its search engine rankings.)
You must be thinking if Google hates it, then why try link building at all? Let them come naturally. Well you concern is right. Google hates any method of link building that is against their guidelines. Now go back and read that sentence again – Google hates any method of linking that is against their guidelines. Yes that means link building is ok, until and unless you are not going against their guidelines.
Now how do you do that? How do you know what is right and what is wrong in their eyes? This is where the problem is. Yes the guidelines are huge but as far as link building is concerned there is no document there that says this is white and that is black.
Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:
Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag
Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file.
Fine!!! Now let’s suppose a webmaster creates a great website and its ranking pretty well in the search engines. One fine day he decides that he needs to buy a banner ad on some website that gets a lot of relevant visitors. He and the owner of the website that’s offering the ad space have not read Google Webmaster Guidelines or maybe have not read the link schemes page. He goes on and buys the ad space that links directly to his site unaware of what he has done. Since he has no idea about it he does not use the rel=”nofollow” attribute or blocks the page with a robots.txt file. In fact it’s a double whammy. The webmaster who is offering the link is also going against the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Google now catches, and thinks this is link buying and both the websites are penalized. This is just an assumption and not necessarily true. It may or may not happen, we don’t know. BUT according to Google’s guidelines the sites will be penalized for link buying and selling. Again this is an assumption. But imagine if this happens (and it must have happened to some webmaster – huh we are an example – one of our websites was penalized but thankfully is now back in the rankings), than is this right?
No its not, but the problem is how does Google decides and on what basis, that a link is paid for or not? It’s only for the buyer and the seller to know, no one else has the information.
Google says it has “systems” in place to know if a link has been bought or not. But frankly can anyone make a system/program that can identify between a paid link and a non-paid one? No. this is just not possible.
No programming system or a human in the world can definitely say by examining a link if it has been paid for or not. Even Google knows this. Therefore they are also very careful before taking an extreme step of penalizing a site for buying inks. However they have been penalizing sites for buying and selling links.
Google also penalized Forbes.com for selling links.
So yes it happens. Therefore you have to be very careful if you are looking to buy links to increase your search engine rankings.
Therefore when you are looking for link building services you should look for the following or ask the link building company before paying them to build links for your site:
1. What is their strategy of link building?
Many companies have this automated way of building links. This means there are no humans involved. These companies have their own network of websites. When you ask them to link your site using a certain anchor text, their system creates an automated post with some jumbled up words with a link to your site somewhere in between a meaningless article. Do you really want a link like that? If they use an automated way of building links – don’t do business with them.
Moreover it’s very risky. If Google/MSN or other search engines comes to know of this kind of page they will either devaluate that link or penalize the site depending on the situation. It will be hard for your site to get out of penalty. WHY take the risk?
2. Who writes the articles?
If they use article writing and submission as a way to build links, then you should definitely ask who writes those articles. Again if they say it is auto-generated you should reject the company straight away. Auto generated articles are nothing else but scrapped sentences from all around the web using a software. This software can generate thousands of articles in seconds and post them online to some website or a network of websites that the company own with a link to your website. Stay away from auto-generated articles.
Moreover even if humans are writing articles, sometimes the articles are really crappy. Ask for a sample.
3. Where do they place links?
It’s important to know where the links to your website will be placed. Thousands of links from non-relevant websites will have no-impact on your rankings. A few links from relevant and good websites will have a great impact on your website’s rankings. You should try to get links from good and relevant websites only.
Some of the link building companies generates tons of automated links called profile links – thousands of them. And they charge VERY LESS for this service. What are profile link? Profile links are nothing but creating blog profiles with a link back to your website. These pages have no content but just a profile. This does no good to the world-wide-web as a whole and of course has no impact on your rankings as well. Never go for profile links. It might actually hurt your site as these companies will create thousands of them and they cannot be deleted easily.
4. Their timelines of giving links.
It’s important that your website gets links on regular basis and in a timely manner. If it gets 200 links in one day and zero links for the next 30 days – that’s quite unnatural. Search engines will become suspicious. You should try to get a few links every week. Ask the company about the time-line policy.
Please note that the PR (page rank) of a website giving your site a link is not that important as it’s been discussed by webmasters. Yes it may have some impact, but while getting links you shouldn’t give too much importance to the page rank. There are two reasons for this.
One – the page rank what you see is not always reflective of the real page rank Google database has. Google does this deliberately to make the whole ranking system a secret. So by chasing page ranks you are actually wasting time.
Two – a website with a high page rank may someday for some reason lose all its page rank. Does it make sense? Page rank is not a permanent feature of any webpage. It’s always fluctuating.
Best way to get links is to get links from relevant websites. Yes it may be difficult. But it will prove good in the long run. It may take some time, but it will be worthwhile.
If you really want to outsource link building than find a good SEO company which follows Google Webmaster Guidelines strictly. Yes, they will be costly. But you will get good links and you will never have to fear being penalized by Google / MSN or any other search engine.