Big Brands and Bad Linking: How to Avoid Google Penalties

One of the biggest events in a long time for the search marketing world began last week with the New York Times article on bad linking practices undertaken by JCPenney’s search engine optimization (SEO) firm, SearchDex.

Google’s penalization wasn’t a big surprise to seasoned SEO veterans, considered their identified linking practices.

However, this can be seen as a wake-up call to the rest of the online world — especially large corporations that have yet to understand the severity of allowing SEO companies to engage in unhealthy linking practices.

It’s safe to say that most large companies wouldn’t let a child sit in their headquarters and play with a book of matches. Letting your search firm execute paid linking schemes is like playing with fire when it comes to your brand and search engine visibility.

Let’s take a look at how not to link your site throughout the web, as well as how you can avoid search engine ranking suicide.

What are Paid Links and Linking Schemes?

Most people become easily confused with the concept of paid linking. There are good paid links, bad paid links, and a fine gray area.

Google explicitly states how you should link your site to others on the web.

Natural Link Building

Google’s webmaster guidelines on link building state: “The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community.”

Google’s philosophy is that websites should link to other websites when it adds value for its users. The linked site should be of topical relevance and the linked content should provide additional context in relation to a certain topic.

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