Are Backlinks Now Bad?
Google Say No To Some Backlinks
It was only recently that I asked a question on HubPages about whether it was worth paying for backlinks or not. Well maybe I had some kind of ESP on this (well, maybe not!) but it seems that Google have sent a message saying 'NO!'
Some of you may have read recently that some of the paid blog networks have been deindexed by Google. These networks are ones where you can pay for backlinks to your website or else you can get reciprocal backlinks from them and this may help the visibility of your site in the Google search results.
One of the biggest blog networks that was deindexed was BuildMyRank (you can read their announcement here) and they admitted themselves that it had happened. There were also others that suffered the same fate and apparently Matt Cutts, who is head of Webspam at Google, has had these website in his sights for a while to see of they are skewing the Google search results.
To Backlink or Not to Backlink?
Much of the emphasis on where sites are placed in the search engine rankings was focussed on what kind of backlinks a site had, what kind of quality they were and also to a certain extent the quantity. Now we have to ask ourselves if that is still the case. Backlinks were supposed to add kudos to a website but many webmasters used black hat SEO techniques to create large numbers of backlinks that were not relevant or 'natural' as Google wants to see.
The mystery of the Google algorithm remains. But the answer seems to be the more naturally popular you can make your site or article, the better it is going to be. It is likely still advantageous to at least have a few backlinks pointing in, and althogh I for sure don't profess to being any expert in SEO, albeit I have done quite a bit of work on websites over the last few years, I will still be backlinking my sites and articles manually.
I think one thing that I will take from this is that I will not be paying for any backlinks. It sounds likely that companies offering a paid backlink service may well be penalised in future and those backlinks may not be indexed, thus wasting your money. However, some are also saying that links from places like Ezine may also be in jeopardy so it is worth keeping an eye out on what happens.
Are Forward Links Good?
If backlinks are bad then I am asking myself if forward (or rather outward facing) links are good? Let's say that you are linking out to .edu site then wouldn't that show that you were a responsible site owner that wanted to provide links to valid material? Is that what Google might think. Might it also show that you are not afraid of people leaving your site and so what you are trying to do is to provide the best information possible to the reader?
That seems to be the goal that Google are wanting - for the reader to be able to get the information that they are looking for. So if something helps towards that goal then maybe sites will be valued for doing that.
What Is The Google Future?
Let's face it, right now Google provides the majority of organic traffic to both hubs and websites (or you hope that it does anyway) so we are always going to want to do what sits well in Google's eyes. maybe the way of doing that is to not try and match the Google algorithm but just to take a step back and look at what Google wants for it's readers - to get answers in effect - and to provide the answers and information.
It has always been the goal of most hubbers to create quality unique content and that in itself is the best answer to stay in Google's good books it seems. Although we may not always get the traffic we want there are constant updates of the algorithm (including one 3 days ago apparently) that may change things at any time.