It is important to know that link building can hurt you if it’s done the wrong way. It is also important to know that it has to be done if you want to rank well in search results.

Link building for SEO has become a sensitive subject these days. Google reps like Matt Cutts tell us not to do it, but then they don’t provide any reasonable alternative to rank higher. Yes, there are ways of gaining natural rank once you have a large following of people – but what about the small businesses that can’t afford to be on TV, on billboards, or spend thousands of dollars a month on AdWords? Google lives in their own world where they are an ignorant ruling class that thinks everything is fine when their people are actually begging for help.

Why do I talk about Google in this light? I’m glad you asked. I really like Google a lot. I don’t want to come down on them, but as an SEO I have to share that their stance on link building comes from one of three things.

  1. They are ignorant and do not really see what resources small businesses and start-ups have
  2. They don’t care about small businesses but pretend to
  3. They do care, but so many people try to abuse the system that they just have to tell everyone to stop using certain techniques

Regardless of where it stems from people need to be able to rank well on Google to be found in their respective industries. The system is far too complex for these small business owners to learn it along with their other day-to-day responsibilities, so what are they to do? Well – they hire guys like me to do it for them. The problem is that SEOs like me are constantly punished by Google because of the SEOs that use black hat methods. I have a client that was voted one of the best Nashville painting companies out there, but before he came to me he went to an SEO company that used black hat techniques. As a result, it has been a bear of a task to get his site back up in the rankings.

How Link Building Can Hurt You

The first thing to know is that Google does not just measure how many links point to your site. They also measure the quality of those links based on how relevant the content is and the quality of the site pointing to you. Knowing that, it’s pretty easy to see how link building can hurt you when it’s done improperly.

Many SEO companies use spam bots to crawl through other peoples blogs and forums and leave random comments that add no value whatsoever to that page. As a result, you see links being built and Google initially responds with a positive increase in your ranking. Once they start to realize that you’ve been doing that and that the links are not relevant to the content on the page and are likely from spam bots they drop you in the rankings like crazy.

The painting company in Nashville that I mentioned above had over 6000 links from foreign websites that were causing his rank to be held down. We weren’t able to get in touch with the owners of all those sites to have them removed, so we used Google’s disavow tool to let Google know we don’t want those links to count for or against us. Once we did that he jumped back up in rankings from page 5 to page 1. After that we just needed to do some on-site optimization and some proper link building.

Do you have any bad link building experiences?

If you’ve had any bad link building experiences please share here. I am so sick and tired of black hat SEO companies doing stuff that eventually makes my life harder even though I am doing it the right way. Let’s spread the word!

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