How to know if a link is helpful, or not

Not all links will help your SEO efforts: some can only bring traffic, and others might hurt you.

Why is understanding the difference between good and bad links important?

Link building can be a frustrating part of any SEO campaign. It can be hard to get good links. The difficulty is why so many people try to cut corners in the link-building process. It’s also why many people spend a lot of time building links that don’t help their SEO efforts. If you understand what makes a good link good and a bad link bad, it can make sure you spend your time building links that will help you.

Sometimes links that violate Google’s link scheme guidelines can hurt your site.

  • When you build bad links, you’ve wasted your time and money. At best, the current Google algorithm ignores these links. 
  • A little worse, Google will give you a manual action for the links. A manual action means the pages that receive these bad links will not appear in the Google search results. If this happens, you’ll have to clean up those links and submit a disavow file to Google before they lift the penalty.
  • At worst, Google can knock your entire website out of Google’s index. Recovery from this is challenging and more expensive than doing it right the first time. You can spend months and years attempting to recover, or you might have to abandon your domain and completely start over. You should have just done it right the first time.

What should you expect from the links you build?

Some links can build your site’s authority in the eyes of Google. If you get more of these links from respected sources, you will see your search traffic (and presumably your leads) grow as you “rank” better.

Other links don’t help your SEO effort because they don’t build your credibility in Google’s eyes. These links are only as good as the traffic they send to your site. Some of these links can send traffic to your website even they don’t help your SEO. For example, links from social media sites can send traffic, but they don’t count in Google’s algorithm.

However, one link will never generate as much traffic as an improvement in ranking on Google can. This authority is why building links that generate authority are so important.

I do into more depth about link building on the introduction to Link Building page.

How to identify how a link can help your website

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