One of the very important metrics that counts in for a Google penalty, especially in the post penguin, panda era is bad links. Bad links comes in all shapes and sizes, no really.
Any link could be a bad link if you don’t understand it properly. Which is why its important to look into your backlink data once a while and make sure things are looking good there.
But, what are bad links?
Well, generally, low quality links are bad links.
Any link built for the sake of link building is a bad link.
Any link that comes from a bad neighborhood website too could be a bad link.
Any link that come from a website that has been selling links also could be a bad link.
Any link that follows a typical, unnatural pattern in its out bound links could be a bad link.
Any link from a website that was built entirely or partially for the sake or writing articles that carried paid links too could be a bad link.
Essentially, any unnatural and artificial effort put in to “generate” links pointing to a site could leave behind many trails that could classify them as bad links.
Here’s my recommendation.
what to look for in your back links that might identify them as a “bad link”
- Scan the website for the articles published on it.
Do you see articles with no traffic, no comments or unrelated content? Like insurance and Gold Mining together? It clearly was not written for benefiting someone looking for information. But possibly for selling links.
- Look for obsessive linking patterns.
Are there several lesser-known, untrusted websites being linked to from the articles, sidebar or footer? Typically, link builders purchase site-wide links or footer links as they are cheap. Having couple of them on the sidebar is a clear signal of unnatural linking.
- Thin content.
Look for thin content. Does the site have articles that looks like written for the engines? If there are not “meaty – content” it might be a signal that the site is built to sell links from within their articles.
- Anchor Text repetition.
Look for repeated anchor texts. Link builders typically buy links based on anchor texts, which are basically their primary or secondary targeted keywords. A genuine reviewer might not link to the website more than once with the same keyword. If you see an excessive use of the same anchor text from the same website, it could be manipulated.
- Linking to landing pages.
Link builders, in an effort to gather authority to their landing pages for their targeted keywords, try to buy links that point to the same landing page. This is a clean signal, unless the page is organically authoritative otherwise, that the links are bought to point to the page.
- Nature of the website.
Although there cannot be pattern predicted here, use your judgment. Is it a forum signature link, or a spam directory or a blogspot blog with stemmed and machine written articles? Is it one of those websites that you would trust for information? If not, try to avoid it.
What are your thoughts on identifying bad links pointing to your site?