11 ways on how to know a bad backlinks and avoid it

Have you ever wondered why the Google ranking of your website or blog is not increasing. Are you confused that despite the fact that you have built lots of links, yet there seems to be no improvement in organic traffic e.t.c.

Recommended to read: How to be on first page of Google without backlinks

On a second thought, did you suddenly notice a huge drop in your organic traffic or Google rankings? Learn the 11 ways on how to know a bad backlinks!!.

Please note that backlinks was and still remains the blood required for any blog or site to rank high in Google, the only thing that has changed or probably got improved is the dynamics of the types, sources and authenticity of such links.

While it has been proven that there are over 200 ranking factors to be able to rank very high on Google search and dominate its first page; the role of having and building quality backlinks accounts for 80% of these ranking factors.

Please note that in as much as backlinks are meant to help you rank high in Google, some bad backlinks that you should avoid can also make you slip down in ranking and/or cause a penalty for your blog/site.

I simply want to share with you eleven (11) types and sources of backlinks i.e. bad backlinks to avoid because they decrease your google search rankings and lower your organic traffic e.t.c. case studies on this issue will be also be briefly explained.

  • 1#    Backlinks obtained from Doorway Pages

What is a doorway page? According to Google’s webmaster guidelines in explaining a doorway page ‘ any page that typically frustrates a user by being redirected to another page is termed a doorway page’. In essence a doorway page is a page that does not contain full helpful solution to a visiting user, in which case the user is referred to somewhere else. Common acts includes optimizing such page to get organic traffic from Google and then sending users to another page ( mostly a particular and single page elsewhere).

This acts violates Google’s webmaster guidelines and any backlinks obtained from such page will harm and decrease your organic rankings. How do you know whether a blog or page is a doorway page.

  • Most bookmarking sites are doorway pages, so beware

Recommended to read: Modern SEO: The end of social bookmarking websites

  • A not so active blog is an indication that such is a doorway page; this can be seen in number of comments and level of publications
  • A stand alone page, that directs users to another page that has the full content of what the visitors are looking for
  • Pages, blogs that you created with the sole intention of the page acting as a backlink to your main blog or website

A doorway page, blog and post does not offer much value; so beware of your aggressive link building techniques.

  • 2#   Backlinks obtained from Cloaked Pages

Backlinks obtained from Cloaked Pages will cause a drop in your Google traffic and a huge drop in your search rankings. According to Google’s definition, ‘Cloaking refers to the practice of presenting different content or URLs to human users and search engines.’This act clearly violates Google’s quality guidelines and should not be accepted.  Most people do not cloak nowadays, however, a hacked blog or site stands the high risk of being cloaked.

So, how do you know a cloaked page, blog or site? I just recommend the below tool and a resource page for more understanding:

  • SEO Cloak Checker
  • Knowing how to cloak a page and knowing a cloaked page

One common attribute about cloaked pages is that blackhat competitors make use of such practise; they create artificial backlinks from these pages to decrease the organic traffic, and reduce the google search rankings of the other competitors; their act if not checked can trigger a Google penalty for the intended recipients.

Recommend to read: Robots.txt file is a cause of Google Penalty

  • 3#   Links obtained from over-optimized anchor text

Google penguin is a major penalty big G released, and its primary target is after over-optimized anchor text, unnatural or spammy links. Primarily, links obtained from an anchor text that is highly over-optimized will trigger this penalty and your site will lose its organic traffic, and a decrease in search rankings.

Infact, you have to be careful when building links to your website; common sense requires that you do the proper thing rightly.

What is an over-optimized anchor text? for example, let’s say you are linking to your blog with this phrase ‘ affiliate marketing’ which, according to your objective is to rank high in Google for this keyword. Too much backlinking with this phrase is termed over-optimization of the anchor text ( which is affiliate marketing). so, learn to do anchor text variation.

Now, how can you check if you are over-optimizing your anchor text? I’d just recommend two tools:

Try the tools above, you will be glad you did!!

  • 4#    Site wide links should be avoided at all cost

A very good case study can be learnt from WPMU; they got hit by Google penalty for a site wide footer links. In their own case, they were hit due to having lots of exact match links on themes of their various clients, and according o Google, this act is not allowed. Now, this issue is mostly concerned with theme developers that loves dropping a footer link on each of their various free and premium themes; so if you tend to see similar trends on pages you are aiming to get links free, beware.

Of recent, one of my other blog was not doing pretty well in terms of rankings; can you guess what caused this? It was an external link on my footer that says ‘ Powered by Genesis’ because it was a Genesis child themes. On removing this external link to studiopress, the blog started ranking very well!!

A word is enough for the wise!!

  • 5#    Avoid links generally from a blog or site suffering from Google penalty

One of the things I do when checking through my wordpress dashboard is to look at people trying to link to me. On seeing their links, I will not click on it, but simply do some background checks to determine if they are clean and worthy of getting links from them. Some of the things I check to determine whether they are suffering from one penalty or the other includes:

PageRank: I try to check for the PR of a blog. At least, the blog should be a PR2 and above . Exceptional cases are blogs that are still new ( less than four month old and who doesn’t have PR yet. The health of a blog or site can be deduced and accessed easily from the PR. For instance, a blog that is 2 years old, and still having a PR of 1 or 2 or even 0 is not advisable that you get links from such. To check the PR, use: http://prchecker.info/

  • Age of the domain and Alexa Rank: The age of a domain and its Alexa rank is a very good indicator to know if the blog or site is healthy or doing pretty well in organic search, especially in Google. Use these three tools to come up with the conclusion whether the page you are trying to get links from is a bad neighborhood or has a bad reputation. To check the age of a domain, use whois ; and Alexa rank, use: http://www.alexa.com/

Recommended to read: http://www.stepforth.com/resources/web-marketing-knowledgebase/does-my-website-have-a-google-penalty/

  • 6#    Links from irrelevant or different niche

This act will greatly reduce your rankings, infact it can lead to some partial Google penguin penalty for your site and blog. Gone are the days where you can just get a high backlinks from any blog and site anyhow. For example, getting links or trackback from a blog or site that is purely into entertainment for a blog like this looks much more unnatural to the search engine spiders.

The same goes for getting links from a baby centred or focussed blog to a technology blog; this acts will greatly have negative effect on your Google search rankings by lowering it, and this sort of bad backlinks should be avoided at all cost.

To get credible links, always strive to get it from reputable similar niche as the intended blog or sie you are targeting.

  • 7#    Beware of links from Trackbacks

You can’t control people from linking to your blog or posts, however, you can control whether you want to link back to them. This is where the concept of trackbacks comes into play. Trackbacks are simply links from other blogs that naturally links to your blog posts, in which case your own blog ( if its built on wordpress platform) notifies you of such.

Now, the problem of course in this matter is that some bad elements, bad neighbourhood, spammers, even porn related sites can act as a trackback. This is a dangerous situation, which can drastically drag and decrease your Google rankings.

The solution to this is what I explained earlier above. Once you see any trackback on your WP dashboard, don’t click on the link ( I once did this, and I almost lost my login control, the fellow was a professional hacker), simply verify the identity and niche of the link, and delete it immediately.

In my own case, I even copied the URL link to a browser to check how the site looks like; however, I never knew that it was a high programmed site that tracks and automatically install bugs, malwares on my system with the aim of stealing my login details. So, sometimes, you don’t even have to check the site, once it looks suspicious,, delete the link immediately.

Recommend to read:

  • 10 free tools and tips to check for links
  • Website Maintenance – 7 tips for WordPress blogs

The above are recommended and additional tips to read on security of your blog and website

  • 8#    Article Directory and Content Farms

Article directories and content farms e.g. hubpages, squidoo, infobarrel, ehow, most web 2.0 sites e.t.c. were once effective, and you can use them to build effective and quality links to your own blogs. However, they are no more credible, infact, getting links from them does not add value to your link building strategies because virtually all of them nofollow all outgoing links and secondly links from them tends to decrease your rankings ( from personal experience).

The only exception that I have notice is hubpages ( have you noticed how the site is doing pretty well in Google of late? the reason is because, they used the whole of 2013 to focus on top quality content.

My advice to you is this; don’t focus on getting links from article directories and content farms, they will do more harm than the gains you are thinking of.

  • 9#    Low quality Press Releases (PR)

Getting links using PR services is now becoming obsolete, infact Google spam team made a declaration on the abuse discovered with the use of PR, and warns people to take note. Most PR blogs and sites lack strict editorial guidelines in terms of the quality of the content, and as such Google tends to ignore their links.

First advice is this, don’t use free PR blogs, sites and their networks; secondly, if you want to pay for PR, go for top premium ones like vocus.

  • 10#    Buying and Selling Links

This is a no go area, don’t try it, don’t use it, and don’t encourage people to use it. Google hates it and backlinks obtained from such are examples of bad links you should avoid

  • 11#    Too much links from Dofollow sources

I’m of the opinion that too much of dofollow links to your blog will trigger penalty as Google will see a pattern of link building that is not natural.

When building your links, use wisdom; its better you have more dofollow links and less nofollow links all combined together. I’d suggest a 60% dofollow and 40% nofollow linking strategy.

  • Need high quality high PR dofollow backlink sources?

I have compiled all this in an eBook, with details on how to promote your blog posts and also promote your website. Check it out:

Over to you/Feedback

Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog post on how to know a bad backlinks, I hope you have gained some valuable information’s? Please, kindly share your opinions and additional details through the comment section.

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