Some Link building practices to be avoided: guidelines from Google

Link building is becoming a bad search engine optimization strategy. Google has announced a new set of guidelines for link building. Learn more about the latest updates from Google.

For a long time, link building has been considered as an accepted and proven practice to improve rankings of websites. Most SEO companies and individuals who offer SEO services were offering link building services.

Well, those strategies no more work. In last one year or so, Google introduced several algorithm updates and penalties including Panda updates, Penguin updates, EMD updates etc. Each of these were meant to deal with low quality sites that try to artificially increase your website's search engine ranking and Page Rank.

What kind of links are considered spammy link?

Google recently published certain new guidelines on what kind of links will be considered spammy links that invite search engine penalty. Obviously, the list published by Google are not a full list. Each time Google come up with some guidelines on what not to be done, people will try to find some other options to spam. Google will keep updating their algorithm to deal with new form of spam and it may take a while before their new updates to get to their published quality guidelines.

Here is a summary of the new webmaster guidelines from Google on some bad link building practices that should be avoided to avoid search engine penalties:

1. Do not sell text ads in your websites. If you really like to sell text links, then do it "no-follow" links or use some intermediate links to avoid passing Page Rank. Google is not really against selling links but what Google want you to avoid is selling links that pass Page Rank.

2. Do not sell non-organic links in your articles. You may think if you embed links within content to other sites, Google will think it is natural links and you will never get caught. But Google has specifically mentioned such link selling will be considered as a bad link building strategy and you will be penalised. Since there is a possibility that you may be mistaken as link selling even in case of natural links from your article, I would strongly discourage linking to non-authority sites.

3. Do not submit your sites to low quality directories that do no quality checks before accepting sites to their directory. Typically, if a web directory has no filter in accepting sites and if they accept all sites submitted there, they could be penalised and all the sites included also may be affected.

4. Same case with Bookmarking sites. Avoid submitting your sites to hundreds of bookmarking sites. Limit yourself to few reputed and authority bookmarking sites like

5. Do not buy services like embedding your link in widgets and distributed across hundreds of sites.

6. Do not include links to your site from the footers of several sites. Massive links from other sites will be considered as link spam. There are certain cases like some authority sites include links to their parent site, blog etc from the footer of all of their pages, which may be acceptable because of the high authority, reputation and the connection between those sites. But same strategy may be a bad idea for small sites that depend on such links to build ranking.

7. Forum footers with keyword optimized anchor text. This may come as a shock to many SEO experts since this has been considered as an accepted SEO practice for a long time. Well, Google has mentioned that any such efforts to artificially increase the ranking of your site by building links will be considered as link spamming.

8. Do not involve in any Link Exchange schemes. Some smarter people may come up with 3-way or 4-way link exchanges, but remember Google is a smart company and they will catch you some day.

9. Do not link to any spammy or low quality sites. Eventually your site will get into trouble.

10. Do not build secondary websites for the sake of cross promoting your primary site. Typically, company websites will have a blog to support their primary website, which will be considered normal. But if you are planning to create multiple blogs or set up many small sites to promote the primary site, all sites in that network could be affected by search engine penalty.

11. Avoid blog commenting for the purpose of increasing number of links to your website. Google can easily detect this as a link building strategy (NOTE: This is not in the official Google guidelines about link schemes, but I am sure links form comments will be considered as artificial links tomorrow, if not already. Comment links will be highly difficult for you to remove in future when you find you are penalised for that)

12. Avoid excessive guest posting to build backlinks. Read this article to learn how guest blogging can affect your website.

Google recently published some updates on the link schemes that can hurt your site, which include most of the points mentioned above. If you depend on Google to bring traffic to your site, it is a good idea to pay attention to the webmaster guidelines and implement the suggestions from Google. Here is the updated webmaster guidelines from Google.

I personally think many of the above link building strategies are not really bad unless done intentionally to increase the ranking of your site. But I do appreciate the efforts by Google to clean up the web and make Google search more effective.

Share your opinion as a response below.

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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