Staff Writer: Katrina Pallop
Date: July 30, 2012
Google’s perpetual war against webmasters that artificially manipulate search engine rankings rages on. This past month, Google has been particularly vehement in its battle. SEO marketing companies are struggling so much under the inflation of search engine rankings the Google is reaching out for a cease fire of unnatural linkage. Whether or not the webmasters in question will back off, it remains to be seen.
To counteract the outbreak of unnatural linkage, Google has devised what it is calling an over optimization penalty, targeting websites that have a tendency to over optimize. Also, there has been quite an uptick in reported warning messages directed at webmasters via Google Webmaster Tools about its ability to detect artificial, unnatural links that point to websites and web pages. Finally, there was a confirmed de-indexation done by Google of an entire blogging network called BMR, or Build My Rank.
The most common and insidious unnatural linking technique, which is understood generally to be not kosher and overall just bad practice, is link buying (also referred to as link purchasing or paid links). These links tend to come in various forms, and can range from single home page links to massive site-wide links that are found within website footers or even navigation. These links are commonly found within blogs, link exchanges that are paid, content networks, link networks, or even blog networks.
Google has certainly been cracking down on search engine ranking manipulation for a while now. This, however, is the first time that Google has become so vocal about the problem. In the past, Google would simply go about de-valuing links that it considered to be in violation of its webmaster guidelines. No mention would be made of it within Google Webmaster Tools, but being vocal can bring awareness to webmasters the world over the Google is watching their work and absolutely at the ready to penalize people who participate in link schemes.
A good example of this more active approach is the BMR de-indexing. This site, a paid link scheme, recently had its entire network removed from Google’s search index. This is only one of the paid link private blog networks that is currently floating around the web. The name BMR may have given the game away just a tad, but Google was able to make an example of them to similarly functioning schemes around the world.
The bottom line is, just say no to link schemes of any kind. Blog networks, paid links, and link exchanges are in direct violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines and participation in these services can lead to serious penalties. While seemingly beneficial, these schemes are dangerous and just plain unwise SEO strategies. A professional SEO company would never sink so low as to rely on this technology, and neither should you. Google is constantly on the prowl for websites that violate its webmaster guidelines with algorithmic updates such as Panda.
The best, healthiest alternative to unnatural linkage is to build unique content. Stick with original work, and you’re sure to be in the clear and more successful for it!