shutterstock_279917603This is the third and final blog article in our “Promises SEO Companies Can’t Keep”  series highlighting some of the more common promises SEO companies make that should be WARNING SIGNS you are about to be or currently are getting Ripped-Off!  This time we are discussing Links. Links can be a GREAT thing when they occur naturally, however, the promises unveiled below explain how links and backlinks can be a very BAD thing.

PROMISE: 100s of Backlinks per month!

Other websites linking to your website is a sure-fire way to generate more web traffic and to get better page rankings. Many SEO companies are charging hundreds of dollars each month to buy links from websites that will link back to your website – but are the links helping or hurting your rankings?

How this used to work: Buying backlinks, or participating in a “link exchange,” was a good way to get other websites to link to your website. Some SEO companies have standing relationships with sites that will put your links all over their site(s) and page(s) for a monthly fee, regardless of the content relevance of their website to your website.

How this works now: Google has repeatedly targeted what they call “spammy links” with their Penguin and Panda SEO algorithm updates.  Spammy links no longer pass PageRank (a Google term that approximates “the pull, weight, or importance” that a page has), and these links can actually drag your site down in the rankings. Specifically, Google makes a point to call out “links you paid for” as being bad for your site shown in this video from Google’s Web Spam Team Leader, Matt Cutts. Google sees buying links as being similar to buying votes and they will penalize or even remove you completely from their index when they discover them.

Google wants linking to your website to happen naturally. So, how do you build backlinks naturally? You create lots of valuable, relevant, and shareable content. Post on your blog, but don’t just post things like “this is National Cataract Awareness Month.” Write an interesting article about events in your practice, a charity your staff supports or advances in your ophthalmic technology or new services. Mention people and companies by name in your post. Then share it through your social media outlets. And when people and companies see your interesting article, they will share it as well – especially if it features or mentions them in some way. These will be seen as relevant links occurring in a non-paid way. While you probably won’t build hundreds of links like this in a month, the ones you do build will have more value/relevance to your practice than any links your SEO company can buy.

If your SEO company is charging you hundreds of dollars per month to buy links, ask them to send you a complete list of every link they purchased. Spend some time clicking on those links and ask yourself, “Does it make sense that their content is linked to my content?” If one of your paid links has 1000s of links back to your website, they are being auto-generated and that is an even bigger no-no according to Google. Tell your SEO company to remove them immediately and don’t believe them when they say removing them will hurt your rankings. It might cause a temporary drop but more than likely, your website will go up in rakings in a month or two after your site is indexed without the paid links and is now in compliance with Google’s SEO guidelines.

Don’t spend another penny on buying links!  Just Say No!

We hope you’ve found this series of articles about SEO informative and helpful.  If you have any questions about the topics covered in our “Promises SEO Companies Can’t Keep”, let us know.  Call us at 800-436-9126.