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18 Dec

Backlinks: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly



Every SEO strategy can bring traffic to your website if it meets 2 main criteria:

  1. Good on-site optimization
  2. Earning good backlinks for your website

We have already discussed how to make things right with the on-site optimization on this blog. Now it’s time to think about earning good backlinks for your website.

Do you remember this movie by Sergio Leone, starring Clint Eastwood? The things are similar in SEO. There are 3 types of backlinks which play various roles in your website’s rankings:

  • The Good Link – that’s what everybody is looking for;
  • The Bad Link – that’s what Google Penguin is looking for;
  • The Ugly Link – that’s what the most webmasters really get;

Let’s look closer at each type of the heroes. Actually I won’t explain in this article how to get particular links: there are too many articles about link building over the Internet, but now all you need is to understand which links are worth your time and which are not.

The Good Link



There is a simple way to understand that the page you’re looking at is perfect to set the Good Link on: type in Google the query you want to rank higher for and look if this page is present in TOP-100 of the results. No? That’s really sad. I wouldn’t give a guarantee that the link on this page would give you a boost in rankings.

By the way, the Good Link can settle down on a page which:

  • has good unique content;
  • has no more than 10 outbound links (related to the content topics);
  • has direct backlinks from natural sources: forums, social networks, blogs;
  • brings referral traffic to your landing page.

If you have found a page that meets all the 5 criteria, do your best to earn a link for it. It’s really worth your time.

The Bad Link



The Bad Link is like a rowdy: it doesn’t do anything right. You expect the Bad Link improve your website rankings and give you some traffic from Google: it will take away even the traffic that you have now. Why does it happen? Because Google hates them. Really… And everyone who’s dealing with them may be penalized.

The Bad Link comes from pages which:

  • are heavily spammed with links to websites of various topics including pharmacy, gambling and adult content;
  • content doesn’t have anything in common with your website;
  • are already penalized by Google (you can check it by making a long query from page’s content: if you can’t see the page on the first places – be sure it’s already penalized);
  • sell links actively.

If you have links from that kind of pages – do your best to get rid of them until it’s too late. Google is watching you…

The Ugly Link



Per one Good Link that I can see in the most websites backlinks come 10 Bad and 100 The Ugly ones.

The Uglys are the most numerous links, but they’re not as dangerous as The Bads. They’re just useless…

How to identify them? It’s very easy:

  • uglys settle down in the most directories (unless we’re not talking about DMOZ or Yahoo!Directory) and social bookmarking services (there are some exceptions, but we’re talking about the common trend, aren’t we?);
  • this is links from not-relevant blog commenting submissions;
  • they are links from junk content submissions;
  • the website itself is intended purely for manipulating Google search results.

Several conclusions:

If you’re going to storm the competitive top-10 of Google, you need a real army of The Goods. Don’t try to rely on numerous Bads or Uglys: one Good Link of your competitor will easily make this “goblin armies” bite the dust. Do your best to earn as many Goods as possible and you will never regret you’ve started a SEO campaign for your website. You will see that SEO is really a hard, time-consuming and intelligent kind of work.

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