How link building screwed up the ranking of my research article

I was not a big fan of link building SEO practices but I got carried away by the advises of the experts in many SEO groups at Facebook. Read my bad experience on Link Building, probably will help you avoid some of the practices I followed.

I have been writing articles on the web for last 12 years and I was proud to say many of my articles would rank high in Google search results for the keywords I focus. I am pretty good at SEO and I focused only on on-page SEO. For those who are not familiar with the SEO terms, this is what on-page SEO means - focus on optimizing the content within the page like tuning the title, adding keywords where needed, write good meta description and so on.

My on-page optimization techniques were working well and were bringing me good traffic. Last 1 year, I started participating in many Facebook groups for bloggers and webmasters in an effort to socialize with the blogger community. I quickly learnt from those groups that my web marketing is significantly different from the rest of the bloggers in those groups. Most of them focus on link building through various means like posting responses to other blogs and so on. Many experts over there suggested if you are not building links, then you are missing most of your traffic potential.

Initially I was hesitating to follow any of those advises since I consider myself as an SEO expert. However, after seeing same advice from many people, I decided to try that approach.

Link Building and Ranking Disaster

Recently, when Google announced the "semantic search" algorithm changes, I wrote an article on what is semantic search. The article was written after good research, was a pretty long one and I myself rated it as a good one. Google picked up the article in few minutes and it started showing in #2 position for the keyword "what is semantic search".

The high rank for the article in Google search continued for weeks. That is the time I thought I would apply the 'link building' advises hoping to get the article in No: 1 position from the No: 2 position. I started visiting other blogs that talk about the same topic and added comments describing semantic search with a link to my article. Within few weeks, I built about 25 links to the article. We had a lot of articles on semantic search in our sister site I added a link from the relevant articles in IndiaStudyChannel to my article on Semantic Search.

Few days passed and I experienced the disaster! The traffic to my article has almost gone to zero. The article does not rank well in Google search results anymore. If I search for what is semantic search, I don't see my article anywhere in first few pages.

I suspected a unnatural link building penalty from Google and I looked at Google Webmaster tools to see if there are any warning. There were none. However, I see no other reason to have this article disappear from top search results in Google.

If your site has good reputation, you do not need a lot of backlinks to get good traffic to your blog. Building a lot of backlinks through guest posting or commenting can harm you if not done in a very limited manner. Of course a few guest posts and some comment links will be helpful but make sure you do not cross the limits.

Update: 8 weeks after I lost the traffic ranking of my article, I started removing some of the links to the article. I hope this will make a difference and once Google notice the unnatural links are removed, I could get back the traffic to my article.

Article by Tony John
Tony John is a professional blogger from India, who started his first Weblog in 1998 at Tony switched to blogging as a passion blended business in the year 2000 and currently operates several popular web properties including,, and many more.

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Author: Sushil Kumar Saini30 May 2012 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

Is this also applicable for links applied by other authors to your article? As I find myself also responsible for applying links to your "What is Semantic search" post from my own articles.

Author: Tony John30 May 2012 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0


There will be no limits for internal links. You can give any number of links (within reasonable limits) to other articles in the same site. Up to 10 internal links per article is fine.

Guest Author: Usman31 May 2012

Actually when you build links at a faster pace than what your history suggests, there will be a Google dance in rankings for a few days. After that, the rankings will be stable and most probably you'll be ranking higher than before. Same thing happened to me but I'm happy that my rankings improved considerably after a month or so.

Author: Tony John01 Jun 2012 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1


Thank you for the feedback. I was also hoping it would be a Google dance, but looks like the situation hasn't changed after few weeks. I am now removing some backlinks I built to see if that would make a difference.

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