Webmasters sometimes artificially boost their pages’ rankings through unnatural linking—in other words, getting a lot of other, popular sites to link to yours, even when there is no logical connection between the two pages. This has been big business for so-called “link agencies” that have profited off those looking to force artificial increases in traffic. However, Google has been targeting these businesses in recent months and has made strides toward penalizing these agencies and their clients.
Though some webmasters employing agencies might not be aware that these agencies are using “black hat” SEO tactics, Google has issued warnings in different languages to try to make potential violators aware of the situation. “We’re willing to take action,” Cutts tweeted recently, putting spammers on notice with links to warnings in both Spanish and Italian.
Link spammers have had some success in the past, which tempts webmasters to boost their SEO cheaply (and somewhat effectively), but natural methods of improving SEO have a better chance of increasing traffic and won’t result in penalization. Hosting quality content is key, and content marketers who can form strategic partnerships to build links organically embedded in their content will be able to improve search results without triggering Google’s link spammer flags.
Though links are certainly a big part of any content creator’s SEO toolkit, like keywords, they can be abused. Link spammers exploit a system designed to reward high-quality links and naturally good SEO, which has diluted Google’s search results. However, with this international crackdown on unnatural links and the agencies that promote this type of artificial SEO, legitimate content with links built up through organic methods will be able to rise in the search results as violators are weeded out and penalized.