The Negative Effects of Paid Links on Your Website

Jul 4, 2013

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Negative Effects of Paid Links

Jake Wixom

A Word to the Wise….

Every business wants their website to be ranked highly on search engines, but there are both good and bad ways to accomplish this. Paying link directories for back links to your website is one of the worst SEO practices today (NOTE: I’m not talking about Google AdWords here. Those are fine.)

But Weren’t Paid Links Okay?

Until around 2007, yes. Many websites used paid links to build up their search rankings. Even though these links weren’t geared towards user satisfaction, they worked. A back link was a back link, and that’s all that mattered.

However, Google has since cracked down on SEO practices that focus more on rankings and less on genuine user satisfaction (social media interactions). Google has recently been hitting paid link directories hard, devaluing their Web authority. This in turn hurt many websites using these paid link directories, pushing their search rankings down dramatically.

Ultimatey, Google has lost trust in any website associated with unnatural paid links.

What Do I Do Now?

If your website has been negatively effected by paid links and Google’s latest algorithm updates that have targeted these paid link directories, here’s what you do:

  1. Peform a Link Audit – Access your Google Webmaster profile and download your latest links. Find all links that may seem suspicious, spammy, or unnatural and create a list. Then work towards deleting those links by contacting the websites in which those links were created.
  2. Consider the Google Disavow Tool – Use the Disavow Tool to submit any remaining links you weren’t able to remove on your own. This shouldn’t be a huge list. Otherwise, Google probably won’t accept it. They expect you to do you part before turning to them to delete your links for you.
  3. Submit a Reconsideration Request – Once you’ve done all you can to remove unnatural links to your website, submit a reconsideration request to Google from your Google Webmaster profile. Google will then reevaluate your link profile to determine whether or not you’re still going against any of their guidelines. This process may take a week or so.
  4. Start Building Natural Links – Get involved with social media. Start marketing what’s interesting and valuable about your product/service to your target audience on relevant social networks. Encouraging those people to share what you have to offer will create a powerful, natural link network that Google finds much more favorable.

Start Today

Our Utah SEO clients have seen some significant boosts in search rankings since we performed link audits on their websites. Old links that weren’t doing any good (especially any existing paid links) were removed, and they’ve begun to reap the rewards of that action. Take our advice, and perform your link audit today to make sure you’re in good standings with Google.

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