Backlinks can be extremely powerful, the quality of them will determine how high you rank on google. Although the truth is that building backlinks tends to be fairly risky, and more often than not people simply do not know how to build good backlinks. The main problem with beginner bloggers is that most of them think that all they need are backlinks to rank, and they simply do not know the negative consequences of building backlinks.
The risks of building backlinks are google penalties, losing rankings due to Google updates, low-quality backlinks, duplicate content penalties, irrelevant backlinks, drop in rankings, getting your website deindexed, competitors reporting your website for unnatural links, having no control over the backlinks, they look unnatural and they are hard to index.
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Google hates when you build backlinks, as it is against their TOS to build backlinks to artificially manipulate the rankings of your blog. However there are some niches where you simply can not rank without any backlinks, so you are forced to build backlinks. If you have ever bought backlinks than you should know that most of them are created with automatic software, and this is extremely easily detected by Google.
Don’t get me wrong, a couple of high-quality backlinks can rank your website extremely well, but not a lot of people know what to look for when determining the quality of a backlink. Most people focus on metrics like DA, PA, and TF, the problem with this is that these are not Google metrics but metrics from backlink reporting tools. Honestly speaking these backlink reporting tools are all over the place, and none of them are accurate enough.
Far too many bloggers focus on only building backlinks rather than writing content, and they find themselves in a position where they have a one year old website with thousands of backlinks, but no rankings or no traffic. If you are want to rank your blog as fast as possible then check out my recent article How to rank a new blog faster? ( In 9 Easy Steps ).
The first and the biggest risk of building backlinks is being penalized by Google, this can be a soft or a hard penalty, a sitewide penalty or a penalty per post. Google knows how many backlinks a post should have, especially if the post doesn’t have any traffic, without traffic who is building the backlinks, the website administrator. This is usually a dead giveaway in google’s eyes and sometimes they do penalize the website for the backlinks.
The type of penalty for building backlinks depends on a lot of factors, although mostly it is determined by the quality of content to which you are getting the backlinks. The problem is that most backlinks use scraped or spinned content, which is a fairly big problem and at that point, you are just asking for trouble. In order to avoid any penalties due to building links, you should know when it is considered safe to build links, for more information check out my recent article When to start building links? ( Top 6 Criteria ).
Losing rankings due to Google updates
If you are new to blogging then you should know that Google tends to update it’s algorithm fairly frequently. Although most people think that these updates are bug fixes and small changes, but the truth is that these updates often can ruin a website. Google updates are like a rollercoaster, with one exception, what worked yesterday and was considered ok, today it doesn’t work and you might even be penalized for it.
Even blogs who have done nothing wrong, no link building, no promoting of scam offers, and only focusing on high-quality content can also be penalized with google’s frequent updates. This is why there is so much spam on the internet, as soon as people figure out a fast way to rank they will often create hundreds if not thousands of websites, they do this because they know that these websites will be more likely to be penalized with the next update, the name of this technique is churn and burn.
In recent years a lot of black hat webmasters have tried out white hat SEO, and most of them got hit by an update or another. It seems that hard work and doing everything ok in google’s eyes doesn’t guarantee that you are not going to be slapped around, so a lot of webmasters went back to blackhat SEO.
Generally speaking, if you are buying hundreds of backlinks for something like $5 than the quality of the backlinks is extremely low. Generally speaking, most backlinks are made with some kind of software or a bot, and the quality of these backlinks tend to be extremely low. Google loves backlinks, but only high-quality ones, so if you focus on building hundreds or thousands of backlinks for a couple of dollars than you are doing more harm than good.
If you are buying PBN backlinks than you will most likely find that the metrics of the PBN links such as DA, PA, and TF are either not true or they are simply faked. It is extremely easy to increase a website’s DA, PA, and TF, there are a lot of services that do the job and they cost around $50. Now get some crappy website and increase the DA, PA, and TF with such a service and start selling PBN backlinks for hundreds of dollars, that is a good business model, but unfortunately for you the buyer these kinds of backlinks will do more harm than good.
There are a lot of misconceptions of what duplicate content actually is, this is because Google keeps changing the rules on what it is considering duplicate content. Generally speaking, most people when they are building or buying backlinks they will simply use a paragraph or two from their article to build the links. Although if you do this a couple of times then this shouldn’t be a problem, but if you have hundreds of backlinks with these same descriptions, copy-pasted from your article then you might be penalized for duplicate content.
This is a fairly common mistake made by beginner bloggers, they often buy or build backlinks using the same description which is taken from their website. Google knows that these are not natural backlinks, as this is not how backlinks are made naturally.
If you are building backlinks than you must build backlinks from niche relevant websites, for example, if your website is in the pet niche than your backlinks should come from other websites in the pet niche. The problem is that getting niche relevant backlinks is extremely hard, and this is why so many bloggers only focus on the metrics of the backlinks rather than on how relevant these backlinks are.
The problem with irrelevant backlinks is that they don’t really do much when it comes to ranking. Usually, these backlinks are extremely easy to make and oftentimes they are created with software. As they are extremely easy to make, a lot of people will build backlinks from the same websites, which devalues their metrics significantly to a point where they are rather useless.
Drop in the rankings
Oftentimes when you build backlinks your ranks will drop, this is also called the google dance. However not all google dances are equal, some might drop you a couple of spots for a while and after that, you will pop up higher than ever. The problem is that the more backlinks you build the longer this google dance will be and the drops in ranking can be massive. You can go from ranking on the first page of Google to nowhere to be found on the second day.
The most common advice when this happens due to backlinks is that you should build more backlinks, I strongly disagree as the backlinks have created this problem and if you build more backlinks than you are just pouring fuel on the fire. The drop in the rankings can take a long time to stabilize, by that I mean several months, so if your post was getting traffic every day then you will get no traffic for a couple of months, and there is no telling if your website will pop back up in the SERP or not.
Building backlinks can result in getting your website deindexed, once your website gets deindexed there is not a lot you can do, most people simply abandon it and move on to another website. This usually happens when you build a lot of backlinks, google knows that these are not natural backlinks and rather than crawling every backlink and indexing them, it will simply deindex the website where the backlinks are pointing.
This way google doesn’t waste resources on crawling backlinks and websites which are trying to artificially manipulate the rankings. A lot of times once you have managed to rank in the first position and you start getting some traffic you might still get deindexed if the users bounce off too quickly and if you are promoting something sketchy. If you are wondering what you can do if your website gets deindexed than check out my recent article How long before google reindexes my site? ( The Honest Truth ).
Reported for unnatural links
If you are building a lot of backlinks than your competitors can quickly find most of the backlinks you have created. In some niches the competition is fierce and a lot of bloggers will do anything to stay on top of the search results, this also includes reporting your website for unnatural links. If you have a relatively clean link profile than there is nothing to worry about, but if you have hundreds or thousands of backlinks from the same websites with the same anchor text than you might have a problem.
Competitors reporting websites for unnatural links are extremely common in some niches, oftentimes they will use bots to scrape the first page results which outrank them and report all the websites in mass. Although this doesn’t always work, but if your competitor manages to deindex your website by reporting it to google then you have to start all over again with a new website.
No control over the backlinks
Generally speaking, most people will buy backlinks in bulk, and if their rankings do not go up they start wondering why is this the case. Far too often the backlinks which you have built or bought will hinder your website from ranking. At this point, you can disavow the backlinks in the search console but that is not a guarantee that Google will actually disavow them. On the other hand you can also manually remove the backlinks, although this is far easier said than done.
If you have hundreds or thousands of backlinks then you will need the log in details for all of them, and if you bought the backlinks than you probably do not have this information. Basically, once the backlinks are created you do not have any kind of control over them, and if a google penalty hits you then you will wonder if it was an algorithmic penalty or if you got slapped due to unnatural links.
Google is extremely smart and it can figure out fairly quickly which backlinks are natural and which ones are not. The problem is that most bloggers blast their websites with a lot of backlinks before the website has any kind of traffic. This is an instant red flag in google’s eyes and they might not index the backlinks or they might even penalize your website. Building backlinks is almost a form of art, and there are so many ways you can destroy your website by building backlinks.
Hard to index
A backlink that is not indexed is worthless, generally speaking if you build a couple of backlinks once in a while you will be able to index them fairly quickly. On the other hand, if you build hundreds or thousands of backlinks in a short period of time than you will have an extremely hard time indexing them. Google doesn’t index every single backlink, especially if you have a lot of backlinks, and trying to force Google to index them all is just asking for trouble.
As you can see there are a couple of risks involved when you are building or buying backlinks. While you are building backlinks you will always feel like you are walking on eggshells and hope not to mess your site up. There are a lot of blogs that do rank without any backlinks, and they will get backlinks organically over time, so blasting your website with a lot of backlinks just to rank for a couple of weeks isn’t a smart idea.