Years ago, backlinks were all the rage. SEOs couldn’t get enough of them.  In fact, it wasn’t unheard of to purchase links that pointed back at your site to increase SEO “juice.” Simply put, links were like votes toward your website.  The more votes you had, the more visible you became.  Ideally, you would purchase these types of links from sites that had a high page rank (also called PR). Google’s PR system was set up so that higher ranking sites would provide more clout to your page if you received a link from them.

If you haven’t noticed by now, things have changed.  Many methods previously used to get a page to rank don’t work anymore.  In fact, many of these “old-school” methods end up hurting your website rather than helping.   If someone tells you they can get you to rank on page 1 without any effort, turn and run!  They may be employing “old school” methods such as keyword stuffing or backlink spamming.  These methods are often referred to as blackhat.  While it is true, certain blackhat techniques can get your site to rank quickly, the penalties are not worth it.

Don’t try to trick Google, it will not work.

Remember, they have dedicated teams (yes, that word is plural) specifically tasked with rooting out spammy backlinks. You may get away for an hour, or even a few weeks, but eventually you will get caught.  Depending on the infraction, Google may have you manually disavow the links to fix the problem.  They could also remove your indexing status.  Repairing websites that have been penalized for bad backlinks can be a nightmare because this process must be done manually.  Do you really want to sift through hundreds, or even thousands, of links?

Don’t get me wrong, links to your site are still important.  However, how you obtain them must be approached differently. Panda… Penguin… or whatever the latest incarnation of Google’s algorithm is called, has focused on the quality of a website’s content.  Your best bet for getting quality backlinks is through blogging about relevant topics, having guests blog on your site, infographics (which can be shared virally on social media), and engaging in forum discussions.  If nothing else, be active and post fresh content routinely.  Yes, it may take longer to achieve that first-page ranking, but the effects are far longer lasting.

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