Are backlinks now illegal?
I enjoy receiving emails with questions and this was the latest – do search engines now see it as ‘illegal’ to have backlinks pointing to your site? No of course not, that would be silly. The question came from a client who is ‘considering’ employing what she calls ‘SEO experts’. She has a website that wasn’t built with search engines in mind from day one – so not one created by us, obviously. Because her SEO company talked a lot about linking, and because she reads my rants regularly, she needed to know if this was wise.
There’s no quick answer (apart from the fact that Google itself has changed its guidelines as you’ve read in a previous rant) but there is a rule of thumb. If a link can be added by hand – for example at a forum, in a guestbook or anywhere else where it takes just moments, Google ignores those at best and can penalize your site at worst.
So if her so-called SEO experts had that in mind, she should fire them.
If, on the other hand, they are achieving hand coded links on high quality, relevant sites, then that fine but the point is that it isn’t essential – or even a major part – of search engine optimization.
Here’s what Google’s Matt Cutts had to say recently;
Once again, he is reiterating what Google says in their new webmaster guidelines. Share. I’ve said many times,probably too many, that the internet and search engines change every day. Be sure that you have the very latest information before you let people mess with your website.
Even Matt Cutts says that you shouldn’t rely on Google. As there are only two search engines these days (Bing and Yahoo are the same and they, + Google, serve results to other, smaller search tools) what Matt is saying is ‘don’t rely on search’
So you’re thinking of employing SEO ‘experts’ why, exactly?