Can Very Old Spam Backlinks Still Harm Your Website’s Rankings?
The fact that old spam backlinks harm rankings is old news. In fact, there are a number of different backlinks that are current today that harm the ranking on your website. Old spam backlinks simply add to the amount of people who wander away from your website due to the amount of spam coming from you. If you have these backlinks on your site, find them and get rid of them right away. They are most definitely hurting your rankings and pushing users away from your website and ultimately, your business. While you are in the site cleaning out these old backlinks, make sure you complete some further backlink maintenance. Google is paying attention closer than ever because their reputation depends on their ability to give their users the highest quality possible; you want your website to be part of their high ranking algorithm.
Google and Inbound Links from Bad Sites
Some people claim that Google will not move your site down in the rankings due to links from bad sites. In fact, there have been articles written on the “myth” and how it’s not true. Recent publications from top SEO experts confirm that it is not a myth – inbound links from bad sites will hurt your ranking just as much as the old spam backlinks. You will need to know about these links, how to find them and how to get rid of them if you want your site to continue to rank high among Google.
What actually happens is that a black hat SEO master will link to your site and Google will “award” you with a bad point against your website. It happens, much to everyone’s chagrin. Google could penalize sites right away with bad links no matter how popular the site has gotten on the search engines. Unfortunately, no one knows with confidence how or why it happens, or how long the penalty will be attached to your site. While the situation is quite uncommon, it still happens. It’s wise to get rid of these backlinks as soon as you find them to avoid being penalized by Google and dealing with all the unknowns.
Updated Bad Links
Old spammy backlinks are bad enough, but new backlinks gone bad are coming in next door. The links chock full of keywords with no readability or the sites linking to irrelevant websites are coming on strong, especially with all the rising competition. This is exactly why Google had to change the algorithms and make things harder for these culprits. New backlinks will be the new bane to your site after you have eliminated all those annoying old spammy backlinks, which are holding your site back in the rankings.
These links are doing damage to your website consistently. As an entrepreneur found out recently, these links can hide and pull your ranking down quickly before you realize what is going on. Sometimes, this activity isn’t found until your website completes a full audit of the full site. The problem is that incoming links are essential to Google’s new algorithm, so how does Google now view links?
At its most basic, Google looks at how many links are pointing to a website and uses that to determine how well the site will rank on its search engine. If the world were a fair place, a site with a greater deal of incoming links would rate higher on the search engines and life would proceed as usual. However, this isn’t a fair world, thanks to those black hat SEO pirates.
Thankfully, however, quality is rising above quantity and web searchers don’t need to weed through bad, possibly even harmful, links just because there happen to be a greater deal of links on one certain site. Those off-shore SEO companies which linked everything to everyone are no longer valid in the eyes of Google.
These Google changes happened in 2011, when Google began to realize what was really happening. Bad links were hurting websites continuously and people were beginning to wander away from Google to keep their computer safe from spam. Gone were the days when links were a dime a dozen; quality needed to matter to get yourself high on Google’s rankings.
Unfortunately, some webmasters, and companies, didn’t keep up with the trend fast enough. When the switch happened, it happened fast. Some companies didn’t have time to update the site, didn’t know the links were on the site or simply ignored the inevitable, that Google was going to penalize them for these links. The results were dramatic.
The fallout was terrible. Many websites fell in rankings quickly. A number of businesses got caught in this crossfire and were left dramatically low on the search engines, where they had once been top-notch in their business categories. The scramble to fix the problem was on for many website and SEO companies. Obviously, bad backlinks, old spam backlinks and black hat SEO can upset your website and make your rankings completely tank.
So What is There to Do?
What are businesses to do about this situation? Why didn’t SEO companies see this one coming? The answers to the questions are simple, but they take some time to employ. Many SEO companies had to play the wait-and-see game, waiting to find out how bad the old links would actually hurt the website. Google wasn’t giving much information, which meant that SEO companies had to catch themselves in the fallout. Many companies incorrectly thought that the damage wouldn’t be that bad – after all, links were important to Google before Panda. Besides, older links weren’t causing any damage at all, so why would SEO experts and companies spend the time and money to remove them?
Sadly, we were all wrong. Google eventually started handing out those penalties mentioned before, leaving companies running to get rid of the bad links on their sites. This process takes at least three months to complete, so it is understandable that it was left until the last minute – however, it is now highly necessary. Businesses need to pull in SEO experts to work on these old links, get rid of them and replace them with high quality articles.
If you own a business and a website, you need to get on this task right away. Old spam links will – and are currently – hurting your website immensely. If your website has dropped in ranking, complete a full audit and look for any links. Check them to make sure they are valid, relevant and will help you in the Google rankings. If you don’t have time to do this, find room in the budget to pay someone else to get it done right away.
Yes, those old links will hurt you. No, it won’t be right away. However, it will happen eventually, and when it does, you have no way of knowing how long you will be penalized. Search your website today to make sure those links are gone. Add only relevant links and push your site through routine maintenance, because those black hat SEO experts are still out there. They’re still looking for your site, and they’re still eager to link back to you where no link is actually necessary.
Want more information on link building? Head over to our comprehensive guide on link building.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International.
He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.