5 Harmful Ways Of Obtaining Backlinks

In the previous chapter – 11 Steps To Obtain Quality Backlinks – we learned all the right ways to earn backlinks to our website/webpages naturally that is of high quality, trustworthy and long-lasting. In this chapter – 5 Harmful Ways Of Obtaining Backlinks – we will learn how not to obtain backlinks to avoid being penalized by search engines.


harmful ways of obtaining backlinks


Backlinks are undoubtedly the prime factor for ranking websites on top of the search engine results. Having known about this fact, several webmasters and SEO specialists have tried many illegitimate ways to obtain backlinks and have got severely penalized by Google and other search engines.

While real legitimate backlinks increase your website page rank and authority in the eyes of Google and other search engines, bad backlinks do the opposite. Google’s algorithms are very much advanced in detecting illegitimate backlinks. If detected, such websites with illegitimate backlinks will be slapped with a penalty.

The penalty can be as simple as demoting your website from search engine rankings and reducing the page rank or very severe as removing your entire website from its index altogether.

Therefore, avoid all the below mentioned ways of obtaining bad backlinks. All below-mentioned methods are “Black Hat Techniques”.

NOTE: To learn more about Google Penalty – read – Black Hat SEO Techniques And Google Penalty 


5 Harmful Ways Of Obtaining Backlinks To Your Website

Let us learn each one in detail

#1. Link Farm


Link Farm - Harmful Ways Of Obtaining Backlinks


A Link Farms a group of websites that hyperlink to all other websites in the group. A link farm is created only for the purpose of increasing the link popularity of another site by increasing the number of incoming links. Website involved in forming a Link Farm need not necessarily be owned by a single person/organization.

Search engines consider Link farming as a Black Hat SEO. This is because the content on the web sites linking to each other is often unrelated, of low quality and created through automated programs or services.

As search engines can easily detect link farms, as a webmaster or SEO analyst, it should not be used as a legitimate strategy for long term SEO planing either for yourself or for your clients.

2. Private Blog Networks (PBN)


Private Blog Network


Private Blog Network (PBN) is another version of a link farm. A PBN is a network or group of websites created and used to build links and pass link equity to a single target website for the purpose of manipulating search engine rankings. This is something similar to a link farm as it involves many different websites all linking to one another or to one central targeted website.

3. Spammy Reciprocal Link


reciprocal links


Reciprocal links are like barter systems. You give a link and I will give you back one – for mutual benefit. Though reciprocal links are not bad, at times, getting involved with a wrong site can bring you loads of SEO misery.

Be careful when someone requests you for a link exchange. Thoroughly examine the site to which you would exchange a link. The sites exchanging reciprocal link should be highly relevant and authoritative on the subject of your website theme.

If you exchange reciprocal links with those websites that are already flagged as a spammy site by Google, then, you are sure to be penalized by Google.

4. Incestuous links

A single person/organization will own multiple websites/domains and each website links to their own properties – especially targeting the commercial site. This is to trick search engines in believing that the backlinks are legitimately and naturally earned. The single person/organization does not let the outside world know that he/she is the owner of all the sites from where the links are received.

Though search engines initially find it difficult to spot such tactics, but will eventually be uncovered and penalized.

5. Link Buying

Paying websites to get traffic to your site via placing ads on their site is absolutely welcome. In such cases, make the link as “nofollow” links. Whereas, paying websites to place links for the sake of search engine rankings is considered spam by search engines and better avoid it. 


Congratulations! You are done with the twenty-fourth chapter on “5 Harmful Ways Of Obtaining Backlinks”. Hope you enjoyed the reading.




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Subhash.K.U is a Professional Programmer turned Digital Marketing Enthusiast. He is the most sought marketing consultants for small and medium scale businesses. He founded Subhash Digital Academy to teach professional digital marketing skills to students, entrepreneurs, and working professionals. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and is an Oracle Certified Programmer. He also holds certificates of Google AdWords, Facebook Blueprint and Hubspot Marketing. He is the co-author of the best selling book – Cracking The C, C++ and Java Interview published by McGraw Hill. He is now penning another book on the subject of marketing and entrepreneurship.

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