7 Types Of Link Spam To Avoid Like The Plague

Embarking on a link building campaign? Here are seven types of link spam you should avoid like the plague!

Here are seven common types of link spam you should avoid in your link building campaigns.

Backlinks should ideally come from quality, credible and trustworthy sites but what does this mean exactly and what sites should you avoid? The underlying premise of Search Engines is for websites to add value for visitors, become a valuable part of the online community and increase the online footprint for your company in a meaningful and positive way. Here are seven types of link spam you should avoid in your link building strategies.

Paid links

Google’s guidelines say that those who buy or sell links in a way meant to influence search results or artificially boost rankings may be penalized. Despite this, many companies such as JC Penney and Overstock hired companies who participated in paid link building schemes and their websites were penalized as a result. Companies such as BuildMyRank and iAcquire which bought paid links for clients (link spam) now have to rethink their business model.


Directories and in particular websites which enlist payment from subscribers can be construed as paid links. However, Matt Cutts clarifies the difference between a quality directory like Yahoo! Directory and other low-quality directories as one which is more selective about the websites they list with sites needing to fulfill a predetermined criteria. A lot of low-quality directories will accept submissions from any website as long as they pay the nominated fee.

Blog networks are websites that allow paid subscribers to post their content to a network of sites for the sole purpose of building links. The articles usually had thinly disguised keyword-rich content that wasn’t meant to be read but was only written to include backlinks to websites. The Panda update put an end to a lot of these low-quality sites – remember the end premise of a Search Engine is to add value to users.

Link farms

When the internet was in its infancy, a company could boost their rankings with backlinks from low-quality sites. Link farms generally refer to third-party sites but some companies have also built a network of low-quality websites purely to create links back to their primary site. Today Google is more focused than ever on the quality not quantity of backlinks. Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz explains why link farms are not a good idea in this video.

Article marketing and media release syndication

This is another over-used tactic to boost the number of backlinks to a website. Again in theory, this could be a good strategy but if a website exists purely so that companies can get a link back to their website, this could be considered to be spam by Google. The same applies to syndication of media releases. Only send out newsworthy media releases that are likely to be posted on credible sites. Otherwise, it might cause more harm than good.

Footer or sidebar links

One of the links that Google appears to have identified as link spam are links in the footer of the page. These can be free or sponsored links. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for Google to identify between these legitimate links and links that are placed on a website to artificially boost your site rankings. Google much prefers links that are within the body of content because this is what they see as ultimately more valuable and relevant to users.

Link exchanges

A company may have a list of preferred or recommended suppliers and may list these on their website and their details may also be listed on their suppliers’ websites. This is a legitimate way of adding backlinks to your website which increase the usability of your website. However, if your website is listed on web pages that are not related to your industry and you have a similar page on your site, this may be considered to be link spam by Google.

seoWorks likes to improve results for clients by following the guidelines set by Google and other Search Engines. Our link development team have a proven record of working with clients from sole traders to large international companies to create a natural link profile with white hat SEO strategies. If your website has been penalized by the use of link spam or you are thinking of changing SEO companies, contact us today.