Shawn Joshi is an online marketing professional at Vovia, specializing in SEO. Shawn loves basketball and is often told he sounds like Isaac Hayes... "Oh yeah, baby".

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Warning! Is Your Website at Risk of Falling into a Bad Link Neighbourhood?

I’m frequently asked about dubious link building techniques that people have heard will help them achieve top rankings more quickly (as links are a key driver of your search rankings).  And though some short cuts do work in the short-term, the usually carry a large risk and can be detrimental to your rankings in the long-term.  One of the biggest risks is falling into a bad link neighbourhood.

Search engines group websites in ‘link neighbourhoods’ as they believe that similar websites tend to link to one another as a means of sharing similar content. These links between similar sites give search engines a strong indication of both the quality of content on your website, as well as the theme of the content you are offering.

If your website is in a bad ‘link neighbourhood’, it usually means that you’re website is receiving inbound links from other websites that Google knows to be associated with SPAM and poor content.

So if you don’t want to get in trouble with the search engines, then just stay away from websites like this. Pretty simple, right?

Here’s the rub: Companies that want to get fast results with their website rankings can do so by buying links packages at a low cost from ‘link distributors’. In many cases you’ll be able to buy hundreds of links for as little as $30. These packages seem almost too good to be true, and that’s because they are. These links will all be from websites known to produce low quality content and SPAM, or will quickly be uncovered by Google.

In the short-term, these companies will see their rankings improve, and everything will be just peachy. But give it a little time, and their rankings will plummet back to where they started, and in many cases, even further. This is because search engines can penalize you for being in a bad link neighbourhood with all of these SPAM-related websites that are linking to you!

To be clear, even if your website has really useful content that is completely unique to your website, you can still be penalized by search engines.

So rather than being swayed by the tempting notion of getting “immediate” results for your website rankings by buying hundreds or thousands of low quality links, it’s best to keep the long-term in mind. Companies who invest in gaining quality links from reputable websites will reap the rewards in the long-term.