Numerous changes to search engine algorithms over the last few years have led many small businesses to take a critical look at their website and make changes to the content, design and user experience in an attempt to improve their performance online. However, many websites still suffer from a case of bad links. Your link profile (meaning the collection of backlinks to your website) plays a major role in your search engine rankings. When you audit your backlinks (or hire a trusted Phoenix SEO company to do this for you), pay close attention to the type of links directing to your website. Here are some signs that a link is bad.
It Seems Random
Any kind of link presented without context is typically bad. Each link needs to be relevant and fit into the semantic context. Think of it as a way to point the reader to more information they may find helpful in the context of the page they are reading. When you link to your website on other websites, make sure the source of that site is related to your industry.
It's Embedded in Keyword-Matched Anchor Text
Anchor text refers to the visible characters and words that hyperlinks display when linking to another document or webpage. In the early days of SEO, it was a fairly common practice to embed links in anchor text using exact keywords. If you try doing this today, your website will more than likely suffer from a direct penalty from the search engine.
It's Surrounded by Lots of Other Links
Quality beats quantity when it comes to SEO. More links are not always better, especially if many of them all point to the same URL. If the search engines see too many links pointing to your domain from another site, or if your own website's internal linking profile points to one specific page again and again, it might look suspicious. Instead, focus on finding a diverse set of high-quality links that are relevant to your business. For example, a lawyer will want to link to the associations to which they belong, while a local non-profit organization might gain a link from new sources if they do something that garners them attention within their community.
It's Part of An Exchange
If you exchanged links with another website to try to boost both domains, or if you paid someone to put your link on their website, you might face a penalty from search engines. This is especially true if the website containing your link is also home to lots of other links. Complex link-sharing networks like link wheels and link pyramids are a violation of Google's terms of service and can severely damage your website's standings in the search results.
The Link is on a Website with Low Domain Authority
Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. The higher the score, the better the site will rank. This is usually the reason why large websites from massive brands monopolize the top search rankings over smaller, less-established businesses. Generally, having a link on a few spammy websites with low domain authority won't hurt your website. However, if your website has gained hundreds or thousands of these links over time, you will want to get rid of as many of them as possible. The better the domain authority of the website that links to you, the higher the quality of the link in your website profile.
Do you have any questions about SEO or internet marketing? Our Phoenix SEO experts are standing by to answer them. Submit your questions here and let us evaluate your link profile to check for links that are bringing your site down.