How Black Hats Are Weaponising Google’s Backlink Algorithm

How Black Hats Are Weaponising Google’s Backlink Algorithm
SHARE
THIS



In this guest column, Digital 360’s strategic partnerships manager Don Milne (pictured below), takes a look at the dangers of Google’s SEO and brands hitching a ride on your website…

Google’s search ranking algorithm is complex beyond understanding. The few things we know for sure about search engine optimisation (SEO) are the things Google has told us.

Last year, Andrey Lipattsev, a search quality senior strategist at Google said, “I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site” when asked what the most important ranking factors were, as reported by Search Engine Land.

2e4b741

Which means people can you use backlinks to attack your website or your clients’ websites.

What has this done to the digital marketing landscape in the last year?

Links have always been an important ranking factor. Links from high-quality, authoritative websites boost your rankings while links from untrustworthy or spammy websites hurt your rankings.

With Google reasserting their importance, it has given rise to new black hat SEO tactics. The danger of valuing backlinks so highly is that you do not have direct control over who links to your website.

This means that your competitors, disgruntled former employees, disgruntled customers, or anyone who feels like it can pay for a service that sends hundreds of low-quality links to your website to damage your search result rankings.

In a time when the best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google, this can have a devastating impact on businesses.

What can you do about it?

If you or a client’s website has slipped in the search rankings, it’s worth having a look at your backlinks. You can use online tools such as moz.com and majestic.com to check the who is linking to your website.

A negative SEO attack is pretty easily identified. There will be potentially hundreds of links from untrustworthy looking websites. You can disavow the links using Google’s webmaster tools to neutralise their negative effect.

You should also consider proactively gaining good links to your website. This can be done with things like relevant directory listings and guest blog posts. To do this the right way, everything you do should provide value for users. Guest blog posts must have unique, useful content on a relevant website for the link to your site to have any value.

In Google’s ideal world, all links would be made organically. You write good content, so people link to your website. More good links makes your website more authoritative. Unfortunately, not many people will link to your business’s website if you sell pallets or oil-water separators.

There are plenty of ways to improve your backlink profile without resorting to black-hat tactics.

SEO agencies have a responsibility to be proactive about getting good links pointing to their clients’ websites. This can be done without violating any of Google’s quality guidelines or using black hat tactics.

In all likelihood, your competitors are already doing it.

What should Google do about it?

According to Google’s policies and everything they have said; black hat tactics shouldn’t still be effective. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case.

To be fair, Google has improved a lot in recent years, and there are many black hat tactics which no longer work. The same kind of backlinks that are being used for negative SEO attacks were formerly sold as a positive SEO tactic.

Google recognised this behaviour and now penalises websites for it, which is what makes weaponised backlinks possible.

It’s very frustrating to see competitors benefit from circumventing Google’s policies. Eventually, negative SEO attacks likely to become ineffective as well. But until then, we all need to be vigilant about our links and continue doing things the right way for ourselves and our clients.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Latest News

Study: TV Ads Outperform Facebook & YouTube For Sales Impact, Regardless Of Screen Type
  • Advertising
  • Media

Study: TV Ads Outperform Facebook & YouTube For Sales Impact, Regardless Of Screen Type

New research from respected marketing science academic professor Karen Nelson-Field has uncovered new insights into how and why video advertising works for brands when viewed on mobile devices. The mobile edition of Nelson-Field’s ongoing Benchmark Series, commissioned by ThinkTV, makes a number of significant findings that are designed to help advertisers and their agencies get […]

Now Screen Repositions Organic Care Brand With New Campaign
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Now Screen Repositions Organic Care Brand With New Campaign

Aussie agency Now Screen has teamed up with Organic Care to reposition the brand in what has become one of the most competitive FMCG spaces. The new campaign, ‘Caring Comes Naturally’, celebrates what Organic Care has created since its inception: products that are as good for your body as they are for the environment. In […]

Can You Speak Data?
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Can You Speak Data?

We're certainly fluent in gibberish, balderdash and claptrap here at B&T, but sadly data isn't part of the lexicon.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Social Change Maker Profile: Emma Heath
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Social Change Maker Profile: Emma Heath

B&T has partnered with UnLtd to showcase industry heroes! Well, it's arguably more heroine in the case of Emma Heath.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ad Fraud: A Problem We Can Solve
  • Advertising
  • Opinion
  • Technology

Ad Fraud: A Problem We Can Solve

Unlike B&T's mystery office farter, this columnist argues ad fraud is a problem that can possibly be solved.

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Why We Pivoted Our ‘Specialist’ Agency Five Times In 15 Years
  • Marketing
  • Opinion

Why We Pivoted Our ‘Specialist’ Agency Five Times In 15 Years

In this opinion piece, Gavin McDonough (pictured above, co-founder and managing partner of Urban, shares through his own experience some valuable advice for independent specialist agencies. In November 2017, my brother Ryan and I celebrated 15 years in business. We started business out of my front room in Melbourne in 2002 – not with any grand […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
W+K’s Susan Hoffman Chosen As 39th AWARD Awards Chair Of Judges
  • Advertising

W+K’s Susan Hoffman Chosen As 39th AWARD Awards Chair Of Judges

Susan Hoffman, co-chief creative officer at Wieden+Kennedy (W+K), has been appointed chair of judges for the 39th AWARD Awards. Known to challenge the status quo, Hoffman is behind some of W+K’s most memorable and game-changing ads, including Nike’s ‘Revolution’, Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ and Chrysler’s Super Bowl spots starring Eminem and Clint […]

Experiential Agency Kreate Gets Bought Out By Staffers
  • Marketing

Experiential Agency Kreate Gets Bought Out By Staffers

Leading experiential marketing agency, Kreate Australia is embarking on an exciting growth strategy following its purchase by three of the agency’s existing management team from its UK founder, Steve Evans.

Hurry! B&T 30 Under 30 Entries Closing Friday!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Hurry! B&T 30 Under 30 Entries Closing Friday!

This is a clarion call for B&T 30 Under 30 entries, although it's probably more mariachi band than angelic harbinger.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
The Hit Network Chooses Comedian Tanya Hennessy To Host Weekend Breakfast
  • Media

The Hit Network Chooses Comedian Tanya Hennessy To Host Weekend Breakfast

Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit Network has announced that rising radio star and comedian Tanya Hennessy will take over hosting duties for its weekend breakfast slot in 2018. Hennessy will bring content to the airwaves each Saturday and Sunday morning from 7am to 9am with a regular rotation of guest co-hosts. The self-described talker, not walker […]

Straight Up PR Wins Five New Clients
  • Marketing

Straight Up PR Wins Five New Clients

Health, wellbeing and lifestyle PR agency Straight Up PR has welcomed Changing Habits, Unichi Wellness, enerGi, SleepX, and Healthie Hampers to its client portfolio. Straight Up PR’s projects will include bespoke PR services and influencer marketing packages specifically focusing on communications strategy and execution, media and influencer relations, PR launch events, product seeding and gifting, […]

March One Creates ‘Cheese For Change’ Fundraising Campaign For White Ribbon Australia
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns
  • Marketing

March One Creates ‘Cheese For Change’ Fundraising Campaign For White Ribbon Australia

Independent creative agency March One has developed a new fundraising event for White Ribbon Australia that turns a social moment into a social movement. Starting on Thursday 22 March and going until Sunday 25 March, Cheese for Change will ask Aussies to create a cheese platter that matters by gathering friends, family or co-workers together […]

Sixth Annual IGN Select Awards Winners Announced
  • Marketing

Sixth Annual IGN Select Awards Winners Announced

The winners of IGN Australia’s sixth annual Select Awards were revealed during a huge special event at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on Friday, February 16. Some 225 Media & Game Publishers alongside 320 IGN Community Gamers attended the annual event. 2017 was absolutely crammed with terrific games and several categories were extremely tightly-contested. The top […]

Meet Your Mentors For B&T Bootcamp 2018!
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

Meet Your Mentors For B&T Bootcamp 2018!

When it comes to an industry "who's who", you'll find there won't be too much who-ing with this impressionable lot.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
ANZ Unveils Its 2018 GAYTMs
  • Marketing

ANZ Unveils Its 2018 GAYTMs

Mardi Gras is only weeks away and B&T has already hoisted the mirror ball and donned the hotpants to bring you this.

International Creative Services Redesigns Business Model To Broaden Talent Offering
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Media

International Creative Services Redesigns Business Model To Broaden Talent Offering

Marketing consultancy International Creative Services has announced a new roster of diverse creative and production talent to provide a fully integrated solution for advertising and branded content. The roster includes a broad range of global and local directors, animators, illustrators, motion designers, visual artists, light projectionists, photographers and cinematographers – many of whom Australia will […]