Every SEO understands that a well executed link building campaign will bring good results. One of the issues is that link building is not a black or white matter because there are different variables to consider for each site. For example:
- How many inbound links does the site have right now?
- What kind of inbound links does the site have?
- What are the ideal keywords to target?
- Where should I acquire links from?
In this blog post, we’re going to address the bolded question above: ‘Where should I acquire links from?’. Whether you’re a beginning SEO or if you’re training someone in-house to oversee your link building campaign, it’s important to have processes in place to help qualify a link prospect. After all, you don’t want links from sites that also link to porn, gambling, or viagra sites right?
The following are 5 characteristics of a spammy site. If you see a few of these warning signs popping up, it’s best to avoid these sites. After awhile, you should be able to determine whether you want a link from a site with a blink of an eye.
Low Value Content
If you stumble across content that is heavily keyword focused with a lack of good formatting (no subheaders or bullets), turn on your spam radar. For example, take a look at the following:
The second category of water damage Los Angeles residents may encounter refers to grey water. Grey water, in this case, is not clean water, but it is water that has some sort of contaminant. This may be biological, chemical or physical. This type of damage is not always easy to identify and it can creep up on you without you noticing. There are two main problems with this type of damage. The first is that unlike with category one, you are at risk of illness as a result of the contaminated water. The second is that it can cause structural damage just like clean water. The health risk makes it even more pressing to call a Los Angeles water damage specialist.
You can see that a paragraph like this is strictly for SEO purposes and looks to be targeting the keywords ‘water’ and ‘damage’ almost exclusively. Click around the site to check out the other content and see if you can find any valuable content.
If you have any doubts about the site, then there’s no doubt.
Questionable Blogroll Links
Have you ever seen a blogroll that looks like this?
Buy viagra online
club dresses online
buy cheap shoes
Avoid sites like these at all costs. This is the epitome of a spammy site. It’s very easy for Google to target these sites and torch them. Google has been on a roll lately, torching large link networks such as Build My Rank. Furthermore, there’s also a chance of you being outted by other competitors for having these links.
No one is saying these links don’t work, but do you really want to put yourself at risk?
A high quality design builds trust with people. In a sense, design is marketing If it looks like the design of a website was hastily scraped together with no logo, that might be a red flag. Cookie cutter templates/lack of design likely means that the webmaster doesn’t place a great deal of importance on the site.
Think about it for a second, if you owned a large network of blogs for strictly SEO purposes, would you be able take care of hundreds of websites the same way you would with one website? Probably not, because you are spread so thin.
Note: Before you pass judgement on a site, do a little more digging around the site to see if you can spot any of the other characteristics of a spammy site.
Low Social Engagement
Social media engagement is a great way to determine how valuable a site truly is. And with social signals playing a role in search engine algorithms, it would be foolish for webmasters to exclude social share buttons.
The first thing to look for is if the site actually has social media buttons. If you can’t easily locate Like, Tweet, +1, or Pinterest buttons, then there might be cause for alarm. Ask yourself questions like:
- Does this site truly offer value?
- Would I trust this site?
- Would I actually retweet some of the content on this site?
If the answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions, then avoid the site.
Now let’s say the site does have social buttons, but low social engagement. Ask yourself the same questions above. If the content around the site isn’t be shared much, that means either a.) there aren’t many visitors or b.) the content isn’t good enough to be shared.
This post is intended to help you develop a ‘spam radar’ so you can easily judge a site and determine if you’d like to build a relationship or acquire a link from in the future. Use your best judgement when looking at a site; you’ll save a lot of time and effort just by learning how to avoid low quality sites.
What are some other characteristics of a spammy site?
Eric Siu is the Vice President of SEO at Evergreen Search, a los angeles seo company. He’s also written 5 Business Benefits of Working Out and 10 Immutable Laws of SEO. In his free time, he likes watching football, playing poker, hiking, reading, or eating ice cream. Feel free to follow him on Twitter( @ericosiu) or on Google+:+Eric Siu
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