How to know if a link is helpful, or not

Not all links will help your SEO efforts. Some can only bring traffic. 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. This is why so many people try to cut-corners in the link building process. It’s also why a lot of people spend a lot of time building links that don’t really 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 actually help you.

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

  • At best, Google simply ignores these links. The current Google algorithm will ignore spammy links. This is what happens most often these days. It means you’ve wasted your time and money to build bad links. That time could have been spent doing something productive.
  • A little worse, Google will give you a manual action for the links. This means the pages that are recipients of 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 will lift the penalty.
  • At worst, Google can knock your entire website out of Google’s index. Recovery from this is very difficult 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. This is because they don’t build your credibility in Google’s eyes. These links are only as good as the traffic they can send to your site. Some of these links can send a lot of traffic from another site 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.

How to identify how a link can help your website

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