• Identifying Spam Links

    An interesting article recently appeared in the Moz blog, Detecting Link Manipulation and Spam with Domain Authority.

    The article wants to show the advantages of using Moz DA and using their Open Exporer, but there is some useful information to be reminded of or possibly learned.

    Lets look at some patterns discussed.

    The First Is, What Is known As Link Decay

    The web is a fluid place and there are reasons why a valued backlink may not have the same value as it once did. A link within the content of a blog, is could be an example. As more posts are added, that content can be pushed further into the site, no longer linked to from the home page etc. Of course the once fresh content may now be out of date and no longer the fore front of a website.

    In theory, links attained naturally are at the mercy of the site owner and will inevitably be part of a bigger picture of content and outgoing links.

    So if your website link profile is studied over a period of time and there is no decay in Domain authority, then this could be an indication that these links are from a controlled source such as a Private Blog Network or similar.
    If all your links are from a PBN and they never decay in value, or ever drop off, then who is to say, Google hasn’t marked your cards. Of course the latest Penguin update suggests Google ignores poor backlinks, but we just don’t know at present if Google goes to this level of measurement.

    The Second Theory, Is The Balance Between Nofollow and DoFollow Links

    It is assumed that spammers do a lot of blog and forum commenting. In most cases these types of links are nofollow, that most of us believe can still add value to authority (but not page rank).

    Russ Jones who wrote the piece expected to see a lower ranking correlation between a high nofollow set of links V dofollow, but the evidence shows no correlation. Facebook is the site he points out has a huge nofollow link profile.

    For me that makes perfect sense, many big companies will get a lot of nofollow links, from banner advertising on magazines, newspapers etc as part of natural adverting rather than SEO. I am not a big company, but my simple yellow pages listing shows over 160 nofollow links from Yellow Pages what should be just a telephone directory. If I get that many, how many would a large corporation get?

    The Third Consideration Is A Profile That Is Too Good

    Let’s be honest if you have a SEO company working for you, there are standards and he suggests in his piece the typical standard is building links from pages with a min DA of 30. So if your site ends up with a high proportion of only good links, there could be an indicator of manipulation. All natural link profiles consist of low quality and high quality links. I often link out from starter sites that have yet to gain a reputation.

    It was an interesting read, and goes to prove that good link building consists of several strategies and not a reliance of just one.

    I choose not to do link building at all at the moment, I am still working on, where to find value elsewhere within the algo, to bring the traffic and then hopefully great engagement stats. It is working in some areas, but not so much in the high competitive niches. Time will tell.