If this post title caught your attention, then you’ve probably experienced a slap by Google or have noticed that the links you are building do not seem to be providing any benefit whatsoever to your rankings. Frustrated? I’ve been there before. That’s why I want to share my list of 5 techniques that should never be implemented in an any campaign, ever.
Google Slap

Here’s what inspired this list: I started working with a client a while back. Everything was going just fine with ranking and income generation. About three days into working with them, their site kerplunked. The monstrous Google had lifted it’s mighty hand and dropped with amazing force. This was no challenging drop, this was a TKO. Almost all of the high traffic, high converting pages dropped off the face of Google Earth (pun). And I come in to rescue the trodden and weary.

The Down-Low on the Low-Down

  1. Google looks at the velocity at which links are gained and lost. If the loss is faster than the gain, Google puts up a red flag and preps it’s hand for slapping. Links generated too quickly looks unnatural–all link building must be (or at least look) natural. Gaining and losing hundreds of links daily is not ‘natural’
  2. Sites that link to ‘bad neighborhoods’ or are linked to by bad neighborhoods have a bad reputation. Even if a site is trusted, a page on that site can lose its own trust by linking out to the wrong kind of websites. Richard Baxter of SEO Gadget had an eye-opening post titled “Google Page Level Penalty for Comment Spam – Rankings and Traffic Drop“. Richard found out that his traffic dropped 4.52%. He dug deeper to find that one of his page’s dropped ~76% in traffic. The cause–comments that linked out to bad sites. This all happened in a matter of 24 hours. Once he removed the comments, that page jumped right back up after another 24 hours. He stated:

I thought it was interesting to see how quickly the page was dropped from the index and how quickly it ranked after the clean up. 24hours each way, no reinclusion request needed.

Here’s an image illustrating my exact point. This was posted by Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz on another great post about the valuation links.

Pages that Link to WebSpam May Devalue the Other Links they Host

5 Ways to Build Links

(if you want to fail)

#1 Automatic Blog Commenting Software Generates 10K links in hours!!!

Tempted? I used to be when I started out. If you’re not familiar with Scrapebox (no link to their site cause it’s a “bad neighborhood” and would devalue my site), Scrapebox automatically ‘scrapes’ the internet for blogs that allow comments, creates a huge list to which it posts generic comments with links back to a site. This backlink software can generate tens of thousands of comments in a matter of days.

So if you’re looking to slap your site into oblivion, use mass blog commenting software. It works like a charm!

#2 Profile Link Building Software – Top of Google in 48 Hours Guaranteed!

Xrumer is probably the most popular of automated forum spamming software. Flags will be raised, Google will look at your backlink profile and, Poof! Ninja Vanish!

#3 Automated Social and Web 2.0 Software – Thousands of links with a push of a button!

Just like the two above, most of these links are very low quality, don’t pass much weight and when uncovered, will send you straight to Google Hades.

#4 Buy Links – Powerful High PR Links For High Rankings

Let’s hear it from head of Googles Web Spam Team, Matt Cutts.

So there you have it! Buy all the links you can. The faster you can buy them, the faster the hand of Google comes to smack down.
Link buying is actually okay to a degree at certain times and in certain ways. There are ways to buy links without really ‘buying’ links. To be revealed….

#5 Hidden Links – Very Sneaky Sir
With CSS, links within a website can be easily hidden. Links within a widget or a footer or behind a flash website can be easily hidden. But once found…SMACK! to the botomless pit.

What I didn’t mention above was that my client had used some of the techniques above and in a matter of days lost a hefty amount of links. Working together, we got them back up to original standing…and then some.

For more a more in-depth look at ways to and ways not to build links, watch SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday session below.