You’ve heard that backlinks are a must for boosting your site rankings. Google wants to see that other people recommend you and believe that you have reputable and trustworthy information. Well, just going out and grabbing a few backlinks isn’t going to do any good to your website. In fact, rather than improving your rankings, you could find you damage them.
Why aren’t your backlinks working like all the SEO gurus said they would? Well, it’s not quite the use of backlinks but the type of backlinks you’re using. Here’s a look at the most common reasons backlinks aren’t improving your rankings.
You’ve Not Got Good Quality Backlinks
Let’s focus on the biggest issue first. Your backlinks aren’t good quality.
Google will pay attention to the Page Rank of the site you are linking to your own website from. The search engine will compare the backlinked website Page Rank to your own Page Rank. If the site offering the backlink has a lower Page Rank than you, Google won’t pay that much attention to it.
You need to get backlinks from high quality, popular websites. Get your link to sites that have a good Page Rank. Google sees the recommendation and realizes that if a good site is linking to you then you must be good.
Your Backlinks Are Spam
Even if you do have backlinks from high quality sites, you may still see a problem with your site’s rankings. This is due to the way that the links are going back to your website.
Spam links are a major problem. People will leave a comment on a Facebook post that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic or discussion happening. The aim is to promote a company and then share the link, hoping that people will click on it.
This used to be a quick way to gain an audience, but things are changing. Google is catching on, because people hate these spammy comments and links. They look like paid trash, and Google is going to reduce your ranking as a punishment for doing this.
Unfortunately, you may not even paid for this. A competitor may have paid someone to make your website look spammy. Competitors can also create bad backlinks off social media. Google has no way to seeing if you’ve paid someone in an attempt to gain the system or if someone else is harming your site.
The Links Are No-Follow
There are two types of backlinks: do-follow and no-follow. You don’t need to understand the technicalities of both, but you do need to understand the basic difference. Do-follow links tell Google that the site in the link is worth following. No-follow doesn’t alert Google to anything.
A no-follow link is good to get readers from a site to your own, but it will offer no Google juice at all. Your Page Rank isn’t affected either way.
A do-follow link is the type that you want, but there are limitations to them. You can pay for do-follow links. You get them through guest posting, blogging on other websites, and through social media pages or forums. It’s harder to get do-follow links now.
If you ask someone to put up a do-follow link for payment, you are breaking FTC rules.
Your Content Is Poor
It’s not just the particular link. Sometimes it’s all about the page that the link is going to. If the content on the linked page is poor content, you’re going to see an problem with growing your ranking in the search engines.
Readers going to your link won’t be impressed with the poor quality content. Rather than clicking on other pages on your site, the readers will hit the back button. This will lead to your bounce rate increasing.
High bounce rates tell Google that your site isn’t relevant or useful. The search engine will push you down in the rankings because those searching for your particular terms won’t find your site helpful.
If you really want backlinks to work, you need to offer good quality content. Think about the type of content you would want to read about a topic. Would you remain on your site to find out more? If the answer is no, then you need to make some immediate changes.
You Have Too Many Links in a Short Space of Time
The amount of links you have can also alert Google to a problem. Say your site has been up for three years and in the last two months you’ve posted no new content at all. The ranking has remained steady and there’s nothing major to report about an old piece of content getting lots of views.
Then suddenly you get 100 or more backlinks to a particular page on your site. Google will check out why this has happened and will instantly be suspicious. This would suggest that you’ve paid for the links to tell Google that you’re relevant and useful. Of course, paid do-follow links are bad.
You may have just been lucky. For example, an old piece of content may be suddenly extremely relevant. Google will check this through the anchor text that is used. The anchor text is the text in the content used to link back to your website. If the anchor text is the same across all sites and looks spammy like “click here” or “read more” or “find out here,” Google will suspect you of paying for the links.
Rather than boosting your ranking, the paid links will decrease your ranking. Make sure you’re not doing any of the above with your backlinks to avoid losing your ranking due to bad SEO.