My full-time employer had an SEO agency that built 179 backlinks. But upon closer inspection, these backlinks were self-written blogs posted on every free website builder they could find. Is this a common practice?? That can't possibly be okay 👀🤨
They are switching from the SEO agency to me, so if we keep those backlinks, what are the chances we'll get penalized? And if we lose that many, can we expect to take a hit on our SEO?
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[filtered from 32 Answers]
In truth you wont see immediate damage, but disavow and move on.
There is no reason to bother disavowing them.
Tammy » Mike
There is a debate, mainly its "Google is very good at ignoring bad links". I have trust issues, so I tend to prune backlinks consistently.
Mike 🎓 » Tammy
You start disavowing links and you are just as likely to hurt rankings as you are to boost them. From the day the Disavow Tool launched, Google has been preaching it should be used as a scalpel and not a machete.
Tammy » Mike
Thanks for your opinion I didn't ask for. 🙂
Mike 🎓 » Tammy
Don't worry. It wasn't for you. It was for anyone else reading this thread.
Jeff » Mike
I wouldn't get rid of them. It's doubtful they are helping much unless the competition is extremely light, but they are also not going to hurt you either.
Lori Appleman 🎓
It's too bad they got screwed but my guess is they went low budget.
It wasn't low budget for our area. The company approached us claiming to specialize in our industry, but after 35 years in our industry they haven't learned a thing about it. We paid a nice chunk up front for a poorly designed website and $200 a month for hosting and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
We loved the website when it was done because it was fancier than the old site. But they don't do much for that $200.
Matthew » Carvell
For $200 per month that's exactly what you get anywhere in the world. It costs most decent agencies that much to generate one to two good links through outreach. More if you just purchase from others outreach.
Carvell ✍️ » Matthew
Well, we had them stop blogging because they were so terrible at it, and if the backlinks are not valuable, the only thing they are doing is one Google My Business (GMB) post per month and checking that the sites not broke.
Matthew » Carvell
Yep, a $200 SEO plan is a bad idea for everyone. Even if they are working hard for the money they probably aren't going to get results.
Bianca » Carvell
Oof yeah $200 a month is nothing for link building AND hosting!
Lori Appleman 🎓
In the US, two blogs a month (good ones) plus a backlink to each, true site maintenance would be around $1000 mo. Plus your site would have been original – we find these niche people use a template that is materially identical for all. Often the written content is identical or spun (still the same but words in different order). The problem with "specialists" is that it's a direct conflict of interest. Only 1 gets top spot. Good marketers don't take direct competitors.
Sure is a lot of inexperienced "SEO master minds" here.
Let's be 100% clear. There is no such thing as bad links. Doesn't exist.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about experimenting and competition. Play with it. Don't be scared to take risks and try ideas. Just make sure you are giving yourself enough time in between tests to see if it really works or not. One thing I enjoy from Mike Blumenthal is his jokes and philosophy of sometimes its just time to crack a beer and sit back. 🤑
Unfortunately yes, a lot of people do that but that's what happens when people want thousand links for $100. Just "no follow" them and slowly and steadily when you build your quality links. Just disavow them. No immediate harm by leaving them there.
Google algorithm knows exactly what they have done. No value in middle/long term.
Strange 🤔 I have several User Generated Content (UGC)
Virtual Assistant (VA)'s building these sites 24/7 5 years and running haven't found a local site we couldn't rank in 90 days or less. Right now have 2000 dollar plus a month clients glued to the top of maps and organically, in every several highly competitive niches, for the most competitive keywords. These shitty links camouflage the juice from strong Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
Private Blog Network (PBN) links that we also own and build. Whole agency would be a flop without this process. This takes "SEO takes a year" down to 60 days and they are getting a great ROI.
Ok, your experience, thanks.
It's called Web 2.0s and it's gray hat tactic.
The tactic is called Tier Linking, It works well if you pump those web2.0s with other links, preferably from other Web2.0s or GSA blasts.
Then those same Web2.0s and GSA blasts will then be pumped with thousands of other GSA/xRummer blasts.
So check those links themselves on how much backlinks are pointing to them.
This tactic works best if you plan to rank low to medium low comp keywords. Because those web 2.0s are basically riding the website builders domain, and getting some small link juice out of them. Which then passes on your main site.
This will never give you a negative output. But this is only used for starting sites or sites starting to target low comp keywords, because you would need higher backlink juice for medium and higher comp keywords.
Best answer so far.
Jeff » Matthew
Web 2.0s hide the juice from strong links like PBN links. Gray hat it is, but makes green money.
Josh » Jeff
Indeed, and it's funny how people here don't know how to make it work lol
Jeff » Josh
Yep, that's why they sell 6-12 month we might get you results SEO, instead "90 days if your main keyword isn't stuck to the top of page one and your phone ain't ringing off the hook I give you your money back🔥🔥"
To be honest, 90% of backlinks on high traffic sites are a bunch of rubbish sites- most leave breadcrumbs everywhere just to get referrals. No matter how High the traffic, what matters is the conversions. Hugh traffic with no conversion is useless, you just get false impression that it's going to generate more sales. You need the right traffic which means even less but quality traffic that can convert into your customers.
Agreed to this point 100%.
I had to check what group i was in when i saw this comment. I think its one of the worst statements I've read in this group.
"Let's be 100% clear. There is no such thing as bad links. Doesn't exist."
I'm happy to add any of your sites that rank to a group of spam sites or a toxic link farm and we can all see how quickly you drop off and how long it takes you to recover if ever.
If you work with any companies big enough or well known you will know that Negative SEO is real and its often a daily struggle.
Yeah I kept scrolling when I saw that comment 😂
Patricio 🎓 » Carvell
I did actually upload disavow files for my sites that have spammy or low quality links. I think they are doing more harm than good at this point for my sites.
William – run them through a backlink audit on a tool such SEMrush or Ahrefs and if any of them show as toxic disavow them. Keep the rest but make sure you monitor them as because they have so many random links and no real control over what get shared on them they can quickly turn from an ok link to a red toxic link.
Lol. Link building (in fact. spamming) isn't an SEO. If an agency or some guys say you that you need "build links" they won't do an SEO. So, you waste time and money.
Well, what is about your case… Google penalize pages in specific cases. For example, Google find spammy Private Blog Network (PBN). In the most cases Google just ignores a lot of links including "high DA". These backlinks were self-written blogs posted can work for you or can't. Nobody knows because Google use algorithms to evaluate links.
So, if these links are bad, Google will ignore these links. If these links are good, Google pass some weight to you pages. Anyway non-spammy links good for any site because these links help crawling and indexation processes.
I don't think people realize just how time intensive it is to acquire good links. No matter where you are, $200 is nowhere near enough to pay for a quality campaign. Remember, you get what you pay for!
Its not that I expected more. It's that the company claims to build quality backlinks for the price and that's the result they bring. Feels awefully dishonest to me, but if it's a typical practice then oh well. I just don't see the benefit.
And trust me, I would have loved to see them pay more for a good SEO campaign, but the business can only afford so much.
Jeff » Carvell
They can only afford so much because they are not ranking and the phone ain't ringing. Phone ringing = more revenue=more advertising budget.
Carvell ✍️ » Jeff
I think we rank fairly well, but we've also been at it for a while and are growing our online presence steadily. I'm in the process of redesigning the site to aid in the process. Seeing as I will be taking over their SEO, I would love your thoughts on how to approach this.
Jeff » Carvell
They are quality, if they work and rank your site who gives a damn. I have several Virtual Assistant (VA)'s building these sites 24/7 5 years and running haven't found a local site we couldn't rank in 90 days or less. Right now have 2000 dollar plus a month clients glued to the top of maps and organically, in every several highly competitive niches, for the most competitive keywords. These shitty links camouflage the juice from strong Private Blog Network (PBN) links that we also own and build. Whole agency would be a flop without this process. This takes "Search Engine Optimization (SEO) takes a year" down to 60 days and they are getting a great Return on Investment (ROI).
If you want to know how to really rank a website quick and get people a ROI (ROI IS WHAT MATTERS). Hit me up, I will show you. We have case studies from here to the moon and back also to prove it.
Free website builders themselves wouldn't be a harm to you. Nor would those links. I would gather them up, and strengthen them and fortify them so Google doesn't want to penalize those links.
Otherwise, as the saying goes, no harm no foul.
in theory, she could send cheaper backlinks to those tier two pages to drive things up. Lower risk to spam them. Never send garbage links to your main site.
That was my literal suggestion.
Google has commented on this numerous times… The only backlinks that actually benefit the business are naturally occurring, beneficial links that provide added value to the existing content on the page. Not saying backlink campaigns can't help… But 90% of them are black hat and are doing more harm than good.
"The only backlinks that actually benefit the business are naturally occurring…"
Google says that. It doesn't make it true. You can create links that are not "naturally occurring" that certainly look naturally occurring and Google would never be able to tell the difference.
Casanova » Mike
Yes, of course. This is why I said "not saying backlink campaigns can't help."
This sounds kinda familiar lol a colleague of mine (great guy – he has been an SEO when I was just a freshman in high-school lmao) said something about this and something he used to do before. It's called a 'link wheel' and its basically a bunch of websites that link to each other and link to your site. It's not good/best SEO practice and he told me it's a grey hat strategy.
these links might help you:
They might work, they might not. Frankly, I only want to employ white hat SEO practices lol you can disavow but I think it is best to avoid that if you can by manually just dropping links from linking back to your site – if you can. I would avoid lower quality back links. I think a few good ones are far better than a lot of links that don't really hold value. Still, I wouldn't go crazy on disavowing links but Id drop very obviously bad ones and leave the rest behind if they do no harm.
I do know for sure link penalties still very much exist.
The modern version of that technique is Instagram circles where thousands of 'influencers' all agree to follow each other.
Patricio 🎓 » Nathan
Oh yeah, definitely. I think their call out to that is 'I follow back' lol
Same with Facebook business pages, I notice that within groups for small businesses or local services.
Prob about 99.9999% recurring. NEVER just pay for backlinks… EARN them 🤔
Hmm… Google crawlers will spot that eventually. It is no longer okay. Back in the day, people used to hack or game the algorithm by buying backlinks and/or spreading them all over like that but not anymore. Google is all about UX so quality content from authoritative sources is the best way to improve your ranking. Linking to a bunch of no name websites will do very little for ranking and if the blogs are too similar or spun, the company will get smacked for it. Duplicate content is an absolute No-No.
These may satisfy you:
» What Software to Create Backlinks is Safe Without Google Penalty?
» 55k Backlinks From Decent DA and PA | Churn and Burn | Temporary Cheap and Spammy Tactics
» Some People Sell Citations on Irrelevant Websites (With and Without Backlinks). Does That Affect Any Direct Positive SEO Value?