Understanding backlinks is an important part of blogging. Links add valuable content to your site and the best linking building strategy is to get a lot of unpaid relevant non-reciprocal links (or one-way links) to your site from high ranking and popular sites. When your site receives a lot of quality non-reciprocal links, the search engines consider your website and the web pages that receive these inbound quality links as containing highly valuable web content.
In Natural Linking Strategy for Bloggers I made my readers aware that Google is favoring blogs with natural linking patterns and penalizing over-optimized blogs. The most important factor contributing to your Google ranking, is reader-friendliness, and naturally acquired organic links are the best kind of links because they indicate that real people are showing an interest in your content.
Google is warning and penalizing websites for excessive link exchanging, link selling, cloaking and other link schemes. 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
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 this page.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please visit https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/reconsideration?hl=en to submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
Matt Cutts, a member of the Search Quality Group at Google has confirmed that Google is now penalizing sites who are selling links in a comment he posted on Webmasterworld. Click through to read Mark Maunder’s advice regarding exchanging links Issue #54 of The Weekly Feed.