Do you want to learn everything about link spam?
Well in this comprehensive guide we list everything about link spam so that you keep your website protected from this wrong technique.
What is Link Spam?
Also known as comment spam or blog spam, link spam is a kind of spamming technique or spamdexing, which became publicized often when targeting blogs or weblogs. Additionally, it also targets online discussion panels, guest books, and wikis, and hence, is also sometimes called as wikispam. A web application displaying hyperlinks offered by the visitors or referring URLs of web visitors may become a target.
When any link is added that directs to the website of a spammer, boosts the page rankings for the website in the Google search engine. A higher page rank implies the commercial website of spammer would be mentioned above other websites for certain searches in Google, enhancing the number of visitors as well as paying customers.
Originally, link spamming occurred in the internet guest books, where the spammers regularly fill the guestbook with links to their own website and no appropriate comment to boost search engine rankings. If a comment is something like ‘nice website,’ or ‘cool page’ it may be spammed link.
The aim of link spam is to enhance the total number of external links to a website the spammer intends to promote. With more external links to a page, it is possible to boost page rank and improve the website’s position in search engine results pages.
In 2003, spammers started to offer open comments in books and blogs. At present, numerous blog software systems have introduced ways to eliminate or reduce link spam.
Link spamming can target the perpetrator when Google decides a website is bad and removes it from the search results. Some measures to reduce or prevent comment spam require manual comments approval containing and utilizing a backlist of banned words to identify spam.
How Link Spam Affect Your SEO?
Google penalizes websites involving low-quality links. Such websites can experience punitive action and would often witness their rankings dropping down.
1. Manual Penalty:
In such a situation, someone from the spam team in Google can review your profile and mention a penalty manually. The review could be assessed by either the spam complaint from a competitor, as well as your reputation as a competitor in the domain or presence of spam links in the profile triggering an algorithmic search. In this case, the Google search console offers a penalty message.
2. Algorithmic Penalty:
The penguin update has been rolled out by Google in order to reward high-quality sites and reduce the search engine manipulators. The Penguin update is adept at identifying spam links and penalizing websites. When your website gets an algorithmic penalty, it does not receive any notification, but witnesses dropping organic traffic.
Types of Link Spam:
There are a few link building techniques, which can get your website into trouble and affect your site’s SEO.
1. Links Obtained from Spun Articles:
Blackhat SEO marketers practice article spinning technique where an article is spun into multiple gibberish articles that link back to the original website.
2. Links Obtained from Hacked Websites:
Some websites have only one purpose of linking out. Creating links on hacked websites can result in your website being penalized which affects the traffic on your website adversely.
3. Paid Links:
Though all paid links are not wrong, those that are non-editorial and created to gain PageRank and influence your website ranking can result in a penalty from Google.
4. Comment Spam:
This is a black hat link building technique, which is an automated technique leading to the Google penalty.
5. Low-Quality Directories:
Utilizing low-quality directories not only fails to deliver results but also tends to penalize your website.
6. Forum Spam:
There are spamming forums that create numerous profiles or use software for posting links in different posts, which often leads to a penalty.
It is an old technique and very simple to trace. Before automatic profiles were created on any forum, which approved the signature links that transmit Page Rank, numerous links were integrated into the signature to various websites. Forums were not appropriate to those websites, but they supported in a short time to get numerous links from distinct domains.
7. Blog Networks:
This is another link spam technique that is practiced to attract huge traffic to the website. People showcase fake blogs that can link back to their website. Such fake blogs are not written well, are of extremely low quality and do not contain external spam links.
8. Cleansing Domains:
Cleansing domains are dynamic that every SEO expert must understand. When any black hat technique is practiced, there are chances of your website getting completely burned.
When you build links to a website, which redirects to the main domain is a safe technique to recover fast from Google actions such as penguin. Links introduced through redirects must be convenient to catch, as new links to a domain presently redirecting is not natural.
9. Website-Wide Links:
There were times when the site-wide links performed well. However, this is not the case now. Google has reduced its power of forwarding link juice as most of these links were paid and not suitable to the users.
Such websites suffered consequences from Penguin and drop in positioning. Site-wide links are positioned in the footer, partners, blog-roll, or other sections. Not all site-wide links are harmful, but if they are irrelevant, they are of no use.
10. Link Wheel or Link Exchanges:
This form of strategy is a vicious circle where you must not get involved. It is easy to determine these kinds of links even when they are four-way or three-way. This technique is still practiced among bloggers. However, practicing it can actually decline the traffic and Page Rank.
11. Low Quality or Irrelevant Press Releases:
It is essential to use press releases only when there is something important to say. It is the best way to get benefits from this technique. When you create press releases for the sake of being made they will not offer any benefit and eventually it is a waste of time as well as invested resources.
12. Social Bookmarking:
Such kinds of links usually have zero value and are nofollow. They bring numerous links from the social bookmarking websites to one page, and that page may not be crawled. Such websites have links as well as user-generated content are assessed distinctly by the search engines. Links build from spam are not worth it. They are quite easy to gain and do not involve high cost, but over time it must be sure they will damage your business and website.
13. Single-Post Blogs:
There are websites that establish two-page blogs. But some of them even establish a single page blog. Despite holding a high prevalence, these websites don’t gain high rankings.
Such links persist as clients can be shown a link on the page, which does not appear bad. Since links to these blogs don’t do anything so it is easier for Google to identify and punish them.
14. Switch and Linkbait:
It is possible to trick people to link to content, which even Google is ok with. But there are times when you create and promote viral content. There is no need to risk upset search engines and link partners. It is best to use smart links on the viral URL and become a source for rich content.
15. Buying Domain and Redirect:
Purchasing domains for link juice is a classic technique. But presently, this technique works in rare cases and only when done accurately.
Buying numerous redirected domains ultimately brings some unwelcome traffic to the website. But fighting the spam has been much simpler.
16. Profile Spam:
These links are quite similar to unintended follow link on high-authority domains. Such spam deserves a discussion due to abundance. It is quite difficult for Google to perform any complex action on the profiles.
When your profile name or anchor text does not match your brand name or website, it will hurt your online profile.
17. Unintended Follow Links:
There are rare cases when such kinds of link spam work. This is not the kind of base to create an SEO strategy. It may not generate long-term or high impact on your website, but still, it is better to stay away from them.
Finding and Removing Link Spams
In order to remove spam links, you need to analyze the web site’s database and code. For this, you first have to create a backup of your website’s files and then for the database.
How to Find Link Spams on Your Website
1. Review Files for Link Spams:
You simply have to identify that are not relevant to your website and eliminate them.
2. Review Database for Link Spams:
It can be time-consuming to remove spam links from the database. Usually, spam links are inserted in the form of a script, which changes the links enough to be distinct every time. If you consider this kind of spam link, there will be thousands of such links available on your website.
How to Remove Link Spams on Your Website
1. Consider Kinds of Link Spam You Want to Avoid:
Mostly every link which is not relevant to your site is categorized as bad backlinks, just exclude the editorial links gained from publications.
There are some kinds of backlinks, which you never wish to link to your site:
- Links obtained from foreign language websites
- Links obtained from penalized domains
- Links obtained from link farms and link directories
- Numerous links from non-relevant sites
- Links from exact matching anchor text links
2. Identify Toxic Links from Its Place of Origin:
SEMRush, Monitor Backlinks, and Ahrefs are great tools to identify toxic links on your website. Each of the apps utilizes distinct metrics. No matter which tool you use, you can identify the bad links and export them.
It is best to download a CSV file that will let you sort and organize data, which is handy when determining websites to contact first and ask to remove link spams pointing to your website.
3. Send a Link Removal Request from Your Site:
One way to remove low-quality links from your website is by asking the offending site owners nicely to avoid sending such links. This step is important and Google asks website owners to do this before asking Google to ignore such links.
Mostly, you will not be able to identify the contact details of the person who has sent you a bad link. Such spammers have a generic page for contact details, which is definitely of no use.
However, you must still try as you might find an email that is useful and can be used to remove toxic backlinks from your website.
4. Submit to Google a Disavow File:
When nothing works the ultimate choice you have is to turn to Google for the ‘disavow links’ tool.
This is an easy to use tool that allows users to import the text file that contains all links, which they want Google to ignore. Specific URLs can be recorded using this tool. Once done, you can ask Google to ignore such links completely from a particular domain.
It is essential to utilize the disavow links carefully and after an in-depth analysis of the backlinks profile. It is necessary so that you don’t disavow any high-quality links, which can lead to a drop in your site’s organic rankings.
Once you send a request, be patient as it takes some time for the file to be processed. Slowly, you will see your ranks recovering.
It is true that Google is practicing all possible things to keep spammy links away from genuine websites. However, spammers to are very clever, and hence, it is best to regularly perform a backlink audit for your website and remove all spammy links.
When performed regularly, this small job can save you from major future issues, which may lead to big problems and loss of rankings and traffic.