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Google Issue a post against link builders!
Google has never agreed with any kind of link building techniques, ever since I started learning SEO this was a widely known rule, never exaggerate with your link building or you will get penalized by Google.
First, let's take a walk on the memory lane:
But in the early years of SEO, you would only get penalized if you did some really nasty black had stuff that simply skyrockets your website into the first position. Stuff like link exchange was very common and you could actually reach PR4 by doing only link exchanges. Link exchanges were great! You could see actual results pretty fast and there were a lot of webmaster forums where you could find people to link exchange with.
I remember it didn't really matter the niche of the website the other guy had, I would just link his website into my website's footer so it would be sitewide linking and he/she did the same for my website, of course targeting our main keywords in the anchor text.
But all this fun came to an end with multiple Google algorithm updates and we all had to learn or develop some real SEO skills if we wanted to ever rank anything again.
Google issued a lot of warnings posts over the years, informing people on what is allowed and where are the limits. Of course, being Google, it has never been very specific and SEOs always found themselves wondering on if certain link building techniques they implement may be penalized. I never saw a specific warning coming for Google for a few years now and after the Rank Brain update, I thought maybe I won't see one ever again.
Official Google warning to all webmasters on May 25, 2017:
You can find the original post from Google here.
But I'll break it down below.
Sharing your articles is not forbidden but sharing your articles with the hope of getting lots backlinks it may be a problem:
Google does not discourage these types of articles in the cases when they inform users, educate another site’s audience or bring awareness to your cause or company. However, what does violate Google's guidelines on link schemes is when the main intent is to build links in a large-scale way back to the author’s site. Google also listed the main factors that can trigger a penalty:
- Stuffing keyword-rich links to your site in your articles
- Having the articles published across many different sites; alternatively, having a large number of articles on a few large, different sites
- Using or hiring article writers that aren’t knowledgeable about the topics they’re writing on
- Using the same or similar content across these articles; alternatively, duplicating the full content of articles found on your own site (in which case use of rel=”canonical”, in addition to rel=”nofollow”, is advised)
Rather strange that Google needs to educate the SEO community in 2017 on the use of rel"canonical" and rel="nofollow".
Buttom line: You could get penalized for the links your writers publish the articles on your website if those links are spammy (don't know exactly how can you define that exactly) and do no contain the nofollow tag.
Same goes for duplicate content! Let's say you have an online shop and the product page of EVERY item has some filters that change the URL every time a filter is applied. If the content on the page stays the same, you need to make sure all the filter type pages have a rel="canonical" leading to the original product page without filters. Otherwise, Google will see everything as duplicate content. I personally thought Google had become smart enough to figure out stuff like this on its own, but apparently not.
So what is Google trying to solve with this warning?
I think this is a very specific warning Google had issued and personally, I never remember seeing such direct advice towards link building but also specific on-page optimization points. And it really gets me worried about what the next Google update might do to everyone. I'm pretty someone will take a hit the following months.
This is how Google ends the warning post:
And lastly, if a link is a form of endorsement, and you’re the one creating most of the endorsements for your own site, is this putting forth the best impression of your site? Our best advice in relation to link building is to focus on improving your site’s content and everything--including links--will follow (no pun intended).
In conclusion, if you find yourself in anything that Google said in this last warning start running some spring cleaning and implement canonicals, nofollows and get read of low-quality articles with a spammy link before it will be too late!
I also suggest you take a look at the people creating content on your website and make sure no Google Guidelines are violated by their content.
Other than this, what do you think about this new Google article posted by Google's Webspam Team?