What Makes a Backlink Bad?

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away I joined a site named Squidoo. During the first year that I was a member, I was taught that creating as many backlinks as possible to my lenses was a good idea because it would make the lenses do better on Google search, thereby giving me more traffic. And so I linked everywhere, some places that are now defunct. You may have heard of some of them, Delicious, Tagfoot, Digg, and on and on.

It took me two years to unlearn that strategy, and to learn how to write lenses that did well do to keyword research. Keyword research was so much more efficient. I could get so much more traffic with much less effort. However, I did still create backlinks with short articles on other sites.

When Panda and Penguin first rolled out, it was clear that Google was taking another look at backlinks. They started to decimate the paid backlink services like Build My Rank and other sites. This type of backlinking was no longer a valid SEO strategy. Google has continued down this road since that point in time and they are only getting more strict in this matter. If you are buying links, trading links, or bookmarking at a rapid rate, you are wasting your time and your money. Google is downgrading sites that do this on a regular basis. They are working to bring back the original backlink, one that had real value.

Squidoo has been attacked by spammers of all kinds. This is not news to those of us who have been on the site for years. And they are working to clean it up. This week they came out with the newest cleaning filter which is looking for spammy backlinks. It is clear to me that backlinks from specific sites are being blacklisted while accounts with laundry lists of spam backlinks are being examined. These add no value to Squidoo, and in fact, detract value from the site.

Personally, I do not think that there is any reason for lensmasters to panic unless you have been actively adding spam backlinks. If you have, then you have not been listening to Google over the last two years. However, if you are in question about a lens that gets locked you can appeal the decision. It is possible for filters to make mistakes.

There is still value in valid backlinks. These are backlinks that link from related content or interest from readers. If you have lenses that are on the same general topic, blog posts, or articles on other sites that relate to what you have written you should link those together. A reader will want to go from one to the other.

In the end, a writer needs to think like the person who will be attracted to his work. If you think the links add value to your lens, whether outgoing or incoming, then go ahead and link. If not, then don’t. By following this practice, you will be doing the right thing.

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About lakeerieartists

Paula Atwell is an artist, writer, and owner of Lake Erie Artists Gallery at Shaker Square in Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her on Squidoo as lakeerieartists.

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