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It’s no secret that the fastest way to get a page-one ranking with Google is to have lots of juicy inbound links, also known as backlinks. There are many diverse ways webmasters go after backlinks, and this has been the situation from the beginning.
Link Building Software in All Its Ugly Glory
However, there are devious people on the Internet, and they have devised some truly pernicious ways to get those links. One of the worst is link building software which leaves comment spam like a trail of excrement across the Internet. You will see it advertised for sale wherever webmasters meet, and sometimes, it will be referred to as commenting software.
To thwart this ugly and malignant form of spam, Google has recently updated its algo to penalize for incoming links that can be identified as spam. If you’ve ever seen them, you’ll know it’s simply not that hard to tell spam links apart from the real thing. They generally don’t make sense and they look as if a foreigner who barely speaks English wrote them.
Link Building Services-the Good and the Bad
Before I go on, a quick word about link building services. They are not the same as link building software, although unscrupulous link building services may well use link building software. It is definitely a case of buyer beware! You have to take all the precautions you possibly can to ensure that if you pay someone, even an agency for links, they are not creating spam links for you in any way. This is not SEO, but negative SEO. It will mean, that at some point, you will need to employ someone else to remove the links or face the consequences which in some cases can be complete exclusion from the SERPs.
Sometimes, it’s just not possible to undo all the damage that negative SEO wreaks, so the watchword here is definitely extreme caution. If you are in any doubt about the ethics of an SEO agency, better stay away from them.
A Quick Word About Negative SEO
Back to spammy links. They constitute what’s become known as Negative SEO. Basically, they do far more harm than good. They’re not the only aspect of Negative SEO, though. Read Kristine Schachinger’s article on what constitutes Negative SEO to learn how you can end up being added to Google’s adult filter without even knowing about it!
Now, the thing here to note is that these spam links don’t only harm the person who pays for them. Oh no. If you let more than a few bad neighborhood links through your comment spam protection, your website is toast. And good luck claiming it back from Google’s realm of toastdom.
One of my domains, Wellwrittenwords, reached the covetable Google PR 5 (I think back in June). I was overjoyed because I have been away from the field of SEO for almost three years and could only work on my websites sporadically. Because I planned a return, the PR 5 was a gift indeed. But then, it was snatched away again just weeks later because of a few spammy comments that managed to get through the filters over time. I have spent hours going through 10 years’ worth of comments to try and rectify the situation. This has left me bereft of the little humor I had left this past month and is the reason for the tone of this article.
If you have experienced a similar drop in page rank recently, along with the accompanying drop in traffic, it may or may not be bad incoming links. It’s always worth giving your site a thorough checkup with Google Webmaster Tools, and Sujan Patel explains just how to do that.
To some, the disgusting procedure of leaving highly undesirable comment garbage on blogs all over the Internet is big business. To find out more about how and why, Greg Stevens has written a superb article about the process over at the Kernel: Revealed: The Grubby World of Comment Spam.
OK, so we’ve covered some of the ways you should definitely not create links. Can’t leave you hanging, and you’re probably wondering how you should do it. Again, our very own Sujan Patel has the goods on ethical link building for you.