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Google Defines Good Linking & Bad Linking

Google’s Stefanie Ulrike Dürr has laid down the defining lines in the battle of link building and the value of link popularity. In summary, the old motto, an earned link is the best link, still outranks almost any form of link building imaginable.

Essentially, if a link is earned due to quality, ideas, originality, or via establishing a site, persona, or business as a resource; chances are, that link is going to be of high value in the Google ranking algorithm:

Discounting non-earned links by search engines opened a new and wide field of tactics to build link-based popularity:

* Classically this involves optimizing your content so that thematically-related or trusted websites link to you by choice.

* A more recent method is link baiting, which typically takes advantage of Web 2.0 social content websites.

* One example of this new way of generating links is to submit a handcrafted article to a service such as

* Another example is to earn a reputation in a certain field by building an authority through services such as

Our general advice is: Always focus on the users and not on search engines when developing your optimization strategy. Ask yourself what creates value for your users. Investing in the quality of your content and thereby earning natural backlinks benefits both the users and drives more qualified traffic to your site.

Sounds good to me, as I’ve always viewed link building as also an advertising and ROI driven service with the goals to:

* Build targeted traffic
* Attract valuable and positive user intent driven links
* Attract users who will essentially follow a call to action
* Establish the site as a resource amongst other resources in its field
* Engagement of thoughtful discussion or debate

So, what is bad linking?

Short-term option of non-earned backlinks via link spamming tactics such as buying links.

More from Google :

We’ve always taken a clear stance with respect to manipulating the PageRank algorithm in our Quality Guidelines.

Despite these policies, the strategy of participating in link schemes might have previously paid off.

But more recently, Google has tremendously refined its link-weighting algorithms. We have more people working on Google’s link-weighting for quality control and to correct issues we find.

So nowadays, undermining the PageRank algorithm is likely to result in the loss of the ability of link-selling sites to pass on reputation via links to other sites.

There you have it, bad linking vs. good linking from Google.

Category SEO
SEJ STAFF Loren Baker Founder at Foundation Digital

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ...

Google Defines Good Linking & Bad Linking

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