Risky Backlinks


Yes, backlinks still do count after all the Google updates and slaps. But not all backlinks are created equal.  In fact, some type of backlinks can actually harm you.


Super affiliate Matt Carter gives us the following selection of backlinks that he would consider risky backlinks and are best to avoid:



Too Much of the Same Anchor Text

As I mentioned above, you need to make sure you mix up your anchor text for your links. I use the same anchor text only about 20 % of the time these days. I even make sure some of my links have no HTML and are just the URL itself. I will also throw in the odd spelling mistake on purpose. You might want to check out my recent post of keywords in regards to this.


Links on Blog Comments and Forum Profiles

These kind of links are easy to get and are considered low quality. I do not create these kind of links for my sites anymore.


Not Enough Related Links

I never use to worry much about getting links from sites in the same niche or a very similar one, but that has now changed. I think if your website does not have any links coming from other domains in the same niche or a very similar one, then this can look pretty suspicious to Google. There are ways to get links from related sites, such as: Guest blogging, forum commenting, blog networks (good ones), contacting webmasters.


Contextual Links

An editorial link or contextual is a link that is found in the context of the web page, opposed to the side bar or footer etc… I try and get as many of these as I can and I make these the links that I point directly to my target pages. Google knows these links are harder to get and they also know the main way people have been able to trick them into thinking they have a high amount of these is by using blog networks. Hence why Google went on a rampage to try and destroy blog networks.


Too Many Links on Sites that are Considered Low Quality

I believe that if most of your links are from sites that are low quality then it doesn’t help your cause. I now try much harder to get some good quality links, such as from guest blog posts, or charities I have sponsored, or even just by emailing webmasters and offering to do a link swap (not reciprocal).


If all your links are on websites that human traffic would never visit or if they did would quickly leave, then you are again into more risky territory. Sure a certain percentage can be from these sites but not all. The chances are that these kind of sites would have a low Google Panda score and hence not be the best to get a link from


Too Many Links for the Niche

I also think that if you are in a niche where the sites don’t get many links and your site has an unusually high amount of links its looks suspicious.


No Social Links

If your sites has no links from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus, then I think this does not do you any favors either. I always make sure all my sites get social links, as it looks good. Ideally you should be building the kind of sites that get social links naturally, but some niches are tougher. If however you’re in a niche that should get social links and you get zero, then you’re running into risky ground and I recommend re-evaluating your websites content.


Backlink Layers

I set up my backlink profile in layers. All this means is that not all my links go directly to the page I’m intending on ranking. The ones that don’t go direct, go in-directly by linking to a page that itself links to me. Henceforth the term “backlink layers”.


The links that I have in the first layer are ones I consider higher quality, which I’ve explained above. The rest I move to the second layer. This set up works as it acts like a shield and protects your money site, and the power of the first layer of links linking to your money site pages are reinforced so they are more effective.


In closing, I am starting to hear more people talking about removing links they think are spammy, but at the moment I don’t buy into that and see it as a giant waste of time. If we all go around trying to remove links that either we or someone else sent to our sites we’d get nothing nothing done, and it just plays into the hands of ‘negative seo’.


Think about it, Bing recently brought out a tool that allows you to submit links to them that you want them to ignore, so surely Google will do the same soon. Yes we might have to do backlink checks on our sites more frequently to see if anyone is sending crap to us, but as far as individually asking webmasters to remove links…you’ve got to be joking me!!




Very valid points from Matt.  I think one should always try to put oneself into Google position.  What type of backlinks does Google expect to see to a quality site? Certainly not the type of risky backlinks that Matt describes above, and certainly the good backlinks that he also points out.


Matt Carter’s original blog post can be found on his personal blog Mattsmarketingblog.com.




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