Does Your Website Violate Google’s “Link Schemes” Profile?

It has been said by SEOs that “links trump all” and while this is certainly true, the case can certainly be made that now, “only natural links trump all”.

Recent algorithm updates by Google, particularly the Penguin update is making the job of many SEOs actually easier because they now no longer have to blast the web with spam links due to the fact that they have essentially lost their effectiveness.

Personally, I think this is great. That junk was ruining the web. Currently, its ruining social media, but that is another post.

Are You A Link Schemer?

Do you violate any of Google’s link schemes? Do you even know what they are? If you don’t, odds are, you are violating them. If you hire an SEO, odds are they are violating them and putting your site in the “crosshairs”.

If you are not familiar with them, here are links that Google considers “schemey and spammy”…according to Google itself…

Link schemes

Your site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links influence your ranking. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site and can indicate its quality and popularity.

Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site, or outgoing links from your site. Manipulating these links may affect the quality of our search results, and as such is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

The following are examples of link schemes which can negatively impact a site’s ranking in search results:

  • Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links, or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link
  • Excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you”)
  • Linking to web spammers or unrelated sites with the intent to manipulate PageRank
  • Building partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking
  • Using automated programs or services to create links to your site
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Here are a few common examples of unnatural links that violate our guidelines:

  • Text advertisements that pass PageRank
  • Links that are inserted into articles with little coherence, for example:
    most people sleep at night. you can buy cheap blankets at shops. a blanket keeps you warm at night. you can also buy a wholesale heater. It produces more warmth and you can just turn it off in summer when you are going on France vacations.
  • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
  • Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites, for example:
    Visitors to this page: 1,472
    car insurance
  • Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites
  • Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature, for example:
    Thanks, that’s great info!
    – Paul
    paul’s pizza san Diego pizza best pizza san Diego

Note that PPC (pay-per-click) advertising links that don’t pass PageRank to the buyer of the ad do not violate our guidelines. You can prevent PageRank from passing in several ways, such as:

  • Adding a rel=”no follow” attribute to the <a> tag
  • Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file

The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself: Is this going to be beneficial for my page’s visitors?

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It is not only the number of links you have pointing to your site that matters, but also the quality and relevance of those links. Creating good content pays off: Links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the buzzing blogger community can be an excellent place to generate interest.

If you see a site that is participating in link schemes intended to manipulate PageRank, let us know. We’ll use your information to improve our algorithmic detection of such links.


Well, it looks like all of the easy ways to build link are on there…so now what do we do?

How To Get Natural Links

Getting natural links is a bit tougher but can be done if you tap the potential of Big content in connection with link bait.

Defining exactly what “Big content” and “link bait” are is not the point of this post, but an example of potentially “viral” content would be something “controversial” or “humorous”. And an example of something considered to be “link bait” would be something like a “top ten list”.

Viral/Link-Bait content used in coordination with a strong social media presence do well do get the “big content natural link” profile going.

If you spend a lot of time on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or any other social media site that ultimately pops up, then definitely check out