SEO Tips: Easy backlinks aren’t worth the trouble

We’ve all heard it.

“Link to me, and I’ll Link to you.”

And for the most part, as new affiliates, we’ve all said yes, unless we’re picky about PageRank, age of domain, and the amount of traffic the site is receiving.

Is exchanging links a a good idea? Yes. Can it be a bad idea? Yes.

According to Google’s Webmaster central help files, the following things can get your site kicked out from Google:

Your site’s ranking in Google search results is partly based on analysis of those sites that link to you. The quantity, quality, and relevance of links count towards your rating. The sites that link to you can provide context about the subject matter of your site, and can indicate its quality and popularity. However, some webmasters engage in link exchange schemes and build partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking, disregarding the quality of the links, the sources, and the long-term impact it will have on their sites. This is in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and can negatively impact your site’s ranking in search results. Examples of link schemes can include:

* Links intended to manipulate PageRank

* Links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web

* Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)

* Buying or selling links that pass PageRank

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. The more useful content you have, the greater the chances someone else will find that content valuable to their readers and link to it. Before making any single decision, you should ask yourself the question: Is this going to be beneficial for my page’s visitors?

There are two items in this passage worth noting:

* Links to web spam or bad neighborhoods on the web
* Excessive reciprocal links or excessive link exchanging (“Link to me and I’ll link to you.”)

When you’re linking to anyone that offers in exchange, you could be penalized for excessively using reciprocal links. Google looks for one way links, in order to improve your rank and search engine results.

If you don’t have Google Webmaster Tools on your website, you should.

All of this information is there, and its a great way to understand how Google looks at your site.

Watch out for Doorway Pages

Like reciprocal links, Google has started looking at doorway pages, a technique where pages are designed for search engine results more than human readers, more closely.

In December 2010, Google started sending out notices to webmasters about doorway pages through Google Webmaster Tools.

Here’s what it looks like:

Unnatural Links Warning

Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links on [domain]!

We’ve detected that some or all of your pages are using techniques that are outside our quality guidelines, which are available here:

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. For more information about our linking guidelines, visit

We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please visit to submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

One of the black hat techniques often used on doorway pages is cloaking. Here’s a Google letter about that topic:

Cloaking Detected Warning

Dear site owner or webmaster of [domain],

While we were indexing your webpages, we detected that some of your pages were using techniques that are outside our quality guidelines, which can be found here:…er=35769&hl=en. This appears to be because your site has been modified by a third party. Typically, the offending party gains access to an insecure directory that has open permissions. Many times, they will upload files or modify existing ones, which then show up as spam in our index.

We detected cloaking on your site and suspect this is the cause. For example at [domain] we found:

[suspected cloaked content]

For more information about what cloaking is, visit

In order to preserve the quality of our search engine, pages from [domain] are scheduled to be removed temporarily from our search results for at least 30 days.

We would prefer to keep your pages in Google’s index. If you wish to be reconsidered, please correct or remove all pages (may not be limited to the examples provided) that are outside our quality guidelines. One potential remedy is to contact your web host technical support for assistance.


Google Search Quality Team

It’s great that Google at least tells you that they think your site isn’t up to scratch, but you need to catch them immediately, and take the right action as you’re dropped from the index. If you leave it for too long, you’ll find that all your hard work will suffer in the long term.

What seems like an easy backlink often isn’t

Getting links is great for your SEO. But you’ll be setter served in the long run by getting quality, relevant links to your site.

Ultimately you want other webmasters to link to you, because they think your casino affiliate site is fantastic, and the rest of the world should know about it.

As the saying goes, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”