Link building is one of the most important aspects to any good SEO strategy, but in an effort to prevent spammy link building practices and black-hat strategies from proliferating search engines will often penalize websites that use a lot of ‘low quality’ links. So what qualifies as a low-quality link, what should you avoid and what links are good to have? Read the tips we learned from an SEO company to find out.

The best links to have

The best links to acquire are editorial links, acquired through natural or organic processes. These are the links that you get naturally, without having to do any outreach to other website owners. You will usually receive these links because your on-page content is viewed as a useful resource and so is used as a reference for other content. A natural growth in awareness of your content is one of the best examples of what search engines want to achieve from links, it shows that your website is trusted and well regarded.

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Links that naturally emerge on related industry websites and blogs will helpfully grow your links with little investment or expenditure on your part. There are ways that you can build these editorial links with some outreach and strategising as well. You may for instance want to consider guest posting or other similar practices to try and grow your links.

Nowadays quality is much more important than quantity. Google wants to see your links appearing on relevant, trusted websites. With the latest updates to their algorithms, it’s also important to consider other social signals. Google appears to be attributing greater weighting to sites that have an established good brand reputation. You can improve your own brand reputation by associating your website with other pages that have positive associations.

It is possible to get high-quality links from directories and other similar methods, provided they are well maintained and provide consistently high quality content.

Bad links

Not every link is created equal. There are some links out there that can be harmful to the reputation and rankings of your website. Search engines like Google used to rank websites more highly based mostly on the quantity of links that a website had, viewing every link as a vote of confidence. This is no longer necessarily the case. Whilst links are still very important to website indexing and ranking, Google now has strategies in place for combatting black-hat methods of gaining links. Back in the day, people would submit their sites to ever kind of directory or spammy site they could to try and build links. This usually resulted in a lot of poor quality links or links on websites with little relevance to content. This is both detrimental to user experience and also potentially damaging to your own site and reputation, as it would rarely bring in the right kind of referral traffic and valued traffic more highly then actual conversions or a real understanding of search behaviours.

Examples of bad links might include appearances on badly run directories, unmoderated blog comments, guest post signatures, widgets, forum signatures, user profile pages, advertorials, press releases and many other examples. Usually, there is some element of sneakiness, or trying to ‘trick’ users involved. Very often bad quality links are bought. Bad links hurt user experience, so search engines are now going to a lot of trouble to eliminate them with regular new updates. Using bad link practices might help your website in the short run, but it will lead to penalties later on down the road and might eventually prevent your site from appearing in search results at all.