Toxic Backlinks: SEO significance

The effect of toxic backlinks on a site’s SEO performance is not as clear as it used to be. Google uses backlinks to determine the  “Authority” and “Trust” of a site and reward it with higher page rank and higher organic positioning (

But, when low quality link schemes began to take advantage of this algorithm, Google began to penalize sites with it’s “Penguin” penalty. These penalties (Penguin 1-4),  lowered the ranking of sites that used “spammy” or “toxic” back link strategies. But, in the last couple of years Google, according to some experts, Google “seems” to  simply ignore low quality links rather than penalizing them. 

We do know, for sure, (as stated above) that Google still uses good and higher quality backlinks to determine  organic positioning  because of the “Trust” factor these links indicate.

A Change at Google?

It now “seems” that toxic ( or low quality) links are simply ignored by Google, but still there seems to be some difference of opinion.  Knowing “for sure”  is critical because it can be very time consuming (i.e expensive) to keep track of the bad links pointing to your site (via scans) then requesting removal from each source by getting Who Is contact information, and finally, using the Google Disavow procedure for the non respondent URL’s (i.e. most all of them). All of this could be eliminated if we knew for sure that Google simply ignores toxic links (or simply spammy, irrelevant, or bad links).

There is one other possibility in this whole regard.  When the toxic links  are very numerous and constant, it may indicate to Google that the links are an intentional spamming strategy, they will hit you with a Penguin penalty. So, the answer to the question “penalize or Ignore?” may be yes and no depending on the number and quality.

If any reader has had direct experience, or has simply fairly well informed knowledge about this issue I would be very happy to receive your comments.  Thanks in advance! 

Back-Links and Website Content. Which is more important?

It is a longstanding Google guideline for websites that, “Content is king”, as I had written in a 3/17/17 post a few days ago. I had an objector who claimed that “no matter how good your content may be, your site will not rank well without good quality backlinks”. So which is the real King? Content or Back-links?

I believe content is still #1 because you will have great difficulty getting other websites to link to yours without very good to excellent content. This means content which is, in Google’s words, “Rich and relevant”.  “Rich” in terms of content that is useful, well organized, engaging, easy to navigate, and read, etc.,  as well as being highly “Relevant” to the keyword or key phrase being searched. 

But how does Google rank this kind of excellence when it uses largely algorithms or mathematical formulas?  That would seem to make it difficult (or impossible) to judge quality pages. They can see “keyword density” and total number of words, see charts and tables, and videos, and still direct searchers to unhelpful websites. How does Google judge quality websites for so many millions of websites? Alone they cannot. 

So, Google lets others “vote” for websites, count those votes, and use them to rank web pages accordingly. These “votes” are “recognized” by the number of other related and quality websites that “link back” to that site. So a backlinks campaign is actually a political campaign to convince other good websites to link back to your site because of its quality and usefulness, relative to a particular search term.

(See also that includes a list of sources for back-links

SEO where “Content is King”

SEO is not just a matter of getting all the technical issues correct; but, much more importantly, building a website with "rich, relevant, content" relative to the topics and keywords being promoted.

I think it was someone at Google who first advised SEO web-developers about SEO where “Content is King”. What he meant was that SEO was not just a matter of getting all the technical issues correct, but, much more importantly, building a website with “Rich, relevant, content” relative to the topics and keywords being promoted.

There may have been a day, even as recent as the late nineties, when getting the Meta tags right could get you on Google’s coveted first page, but those days a long gone. The Search Engines algorithms have greatly advanced in determining the best results (websites) for the search term being used. This has had the profound effects in, not only, increasing the number of actual searchers (by making “search” easy) but also in increasing the competition for “organic positioning” on the SERP’s. (See our SEO Glossary)

And, it’s not only the algorithms that have gotten much more sophisticated but Google has also hired technicians to physically review thousands of their own algorithmic results pages (SERPs) and recommend changes in the rankings. These are then compared not only with their own algorithmic results, but by comparing the results of three or more technicians (for consensus), they are much better able to determine the best results (websites) for the keywords being used.

A question often asked is what makes “Rich, Relevant, Content”? It’s not just using a page with the recommended number of keywords and having the correct “keyword density”. Rich Relevant content is easy to read (font size etc), layout, text Positioning, pictures with captions and alt tags, charts, graphs, videos, live chat. It is also competitive; so look at what your competitors are doing and how they are placing.

It’s a lot like the old adage about “building a better mouse trap”. SEO is never a guarantee for first page organic positioning but everything you do to make your site better will always pay off in making your website a better selling tool and a better online presentation of your business.


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