In the world of entertainment, we typically hear that there is no such thing as bad publicity or that every publicity is good publicity. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re famous or infamous, what’s important is that people are talking about you. The most obvious example is probably the case of Kim Kardashian West whose fame (or infamy, depending on how you look at it) skyrocketed in 2007 after a sextape of her and then-boyfriend Ray J was unleashed on the public consciousness. Later that year, she parlayed her fame into getting a reality television series centered on her family, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which is still on air even today and also the foundation upon which the Kardashian-Jenner empire is built.
So yes, in the case of Kim Kardashian, bad publicity can indeed be good publicity but does this philosophy holds up when applied to other field of business like say, digital marketing for example? As with the case of celebrities, the world of SEO is also affected by how many times a certain brand is mentioned on the internet in the form of backlinks. The more you’re linked from other websites, the better. But unlike with celebrities, the quality of these links matter and it’s important to get in touch with a Melbourne SEO services that knows what they’re doing if you don’t want to get penalized for having bad links.
Not all backlinks are equal
When Larry Page first launched Google search, he used an algorithm, dubbed PageRank, to determine which website can be considered more relevant than others by counting the number and quality of links that are leading to a certain website. The number part is easy to parse but the quality part requires some explaining to do. There hasn’t been any detailed breakdown on what Google’s algorithm consider a high quality website but the common thinking is that official government websites and other highly respected institutions sit near the top of the table. Of course, for high quality websites to exist, there has to be websites that act as the low quality counterpart and it’s link from these websites that are typically considered low quality.
Typically though, these low quality links aren’t actually detrimental to your SEO link building efforts as search engine algorithms are typically sophisticated enough to ignore these links. Sometimes however, when the amount of such links is too high to be considered normal, search engines might consider this an attempt at manipulation and penalize the website accordingly. PageRank is no longer the sole deciding factor in determining the ranking of a website but backlinks are still considered to be important enough that you’re going to want to spend time and effort cultivating natural, high quality links instead of the following examples of bad links.
Links from discussion forums
Forums at one point were such breeding ground for spams that it’s very common now to see spam filters being put in place to prevent new, unverified users from spamming links over a short period of time or by posting links in their signature that would appear every time they post something in the forum. This isn’t to say that forum backlinks are strictly forbidden but it’s more like how they don’t really hold that much value in the first place that it’s not worth trying to go around these spam protections just to post links to your website. If the link came up naturally during a discussion and from an established user, keep it. But if it’s one from dozens of similar links, you might want to think about disavowing them.
Backlinks from out-of-context sources
For example, a link leading to a building contractor website from a page discussing the best summer art exhibitions to see across Europe is probably going to raise some red flags in Google’s office. Contemporary search algorithms are now so sophisticated that they’re able to gauge the context upon which the link is placed in a page. If a link appears so tonally and/or contextually out of place when compared to a website’s content, the algorithm is more than likely going to notice that something fishy is going on. This is why you want to make sure that your website is being linked from a source that’s contextually relevant and preferably close to your industry.
Backlinks that aren’t diversified enough
Variety is the spice of life and this philosophy also applies to the world of SEO and link building. If say, films from a certain director keeps getting warm reviews from a certain reviewer even when other critics aren’t being particularly welcoming, you’d expect that there’s something shady going on in the background. In the world of SEO, if search engines are seeing that most of the backlinks leading to your website come primarily from one certain website, this is going to raise an alarm. Additionally, each subsequent backlink is going to hold less value than the first one so it’s always a good idea to always try to diversify when it comes to backlinks.
Backlinks from private blog networks (PBNs)
Literally almost anyone with a working internet connection could simply set up a blog of their own in PBNs such as Blogspot, WordPress and Livejournal and fill them with backlinks to a certain site. Thanks to this astounding lack of moderation, search engines no longer consider backlinks from these networks to be of high quality. In fact, any backlinks of a certain amount coming from PBNs will definitely be of interest to search engines as that might signify an attempt at manipulation. PBNs might be a cheap and easy way of gaining links but I’d advise you look the other way as nothing easy is ever worth doing.
Backlinks from low quality directory sites
Past the crowded and well-trafficked world of Yelp and TripAdvisor is a cluster of rarely mentioned directory sites that work the same way but with a considerably lower quality on offer. On the world of digital marketing, the idea is to get your business listed in as many places as possible but this isn’t exactly good advice. In practice, having your business listed in a number of verified and high quality directories is more than enough to help put your business on the map. Other, less-trafficked and low quality directories won’t just be a distraction, they might also prove to be a hassle to maintain so generally, it’s better to stick to the better-known ones.