Over the past year I've had an SEO guy who I'm just now learning has been backlinking from very, very poorly written articles on absolutely no-name blogs. I sell a type of medical device and these articles make absolutely zero sense when you read them.
After expressing my disappointment in learning this, he is trying to suggest that it essentially doesn't matter, that the main thing is that backlinks are there. Article/blog quality don't matter much.
I have a very hard time believing this. My SEO has greatly improved, but I am personally creating video content on my YouTube channel, and it does provide quality traffic.
Any thoughts on this? Is it true what he's saying, or is he just (as I suspect) trying to cover his a••)?
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Honestly, I've analyzed HUNDREDS of backlink profiles of law firm and legal websites that rank on the first page of Google, and have high traffic.
90% of them have the majority of their back links coming from low caliber sites with poor to awful content quality.
And they pay hundreds/thousands for those links much of the time. So while it's not what you want to hear, your SEO guy may be telling you the ugly truth.
Are they ranking because of them or in-spite of them?
Brandon » Josh
Sometimes it's CLEAR that they are ranking because of them. In other cases, they also have excellent content. Take a look yourself. It's mind boggling.
I have a theory that Google turns a blind eye to the legal niche, so long as the site owner has links from a few reputable directories.
After that, seems like EVERYTHING (i.e., white hat, black hat, no hat 😂) is fair game.
Tim ✍️ » Josh
That's my take on it. We were slowly chugging along for the first 6 months. Then I started creating YouTube content and I started ranking first page, then top 3.
Marco » Josh
Finally someone that gets it
Richard Hearne 👑 » Josh
It's a relative world. You're not competing with the entire web, but with your peer group who target the same keywords. What you mention for legal niche – multiply it by 100 for the gambling, pills, p0rn niches.
Michael Martinez 👑
If you cannot find the articles indexed in Google then they are NOT helping with Google's search results in any way whatsoever. Beyond that, there is no other way to determine if a link affects your search results in any way.
That said, you don't need a lot of low-quality backlinks to build search referral traffic in either Bing or Google.
You can certainly create a content-based campaign without the links, where you publish articles about your medical devices on other sites. Teach people to search for your brand.
"if you cannot find the articles indexed in Google then they are not helping…". Hey sir, I need some clarification, my Google console shows very few backlinks (less than 50) however when i check my backlinks using Ahrefs, it shows 300 backlinks and this really confuse me. How can I know my exact number of backlinks?
Trenton » Odowa
You can't really know unless you check all 300 links and see if they are actually linking to you. Ahrefs shows links that are no longer linking to you.
Michael Martinez 👑 » Odowa
You need to copy and paste the URLs into Google's search box to see if they're currently indexed.
And keep in mind that it's normal for pages to be indexed, drop out, get back into the index, drop out, etc.
Odowa » Trenton
I check the links manually and they are linking to me, however they are not showing up in Google search console, does this mean that these links were ignored by Google and they completely have no effect on my rankings?
Trenton » Odowa
Most likely yes.
Some of the smartest people in the world work at Google. If you, with zero training, can see that these are awful links. Don't you think search engineers have figured out low quality AI written garbage. Trust your instincts.
I don't know that those links are something to really worry about in a negative sense – unless they are done at a huge scale.
That said… I don't know that they are doing you much good, either… and I can think of about 10
0 things to spend that budget on that would have some better results. So… I'd look at the money you're spending on those and reassessing where that money is being spent. 1 or 2 good links are typically a lot better than a few hundred of those crappy ones.
Thanks. That was going to be the 2nd half of the question, do I need to ask that he remove them. The articles are just nonsensical.
I wouldn't worry too much unless there is some indication in Google search console that there is a penalty or problem. Really – lots of sites get these just naturally – folks link to them too in order to mask who they are really trying to bolster – among other things.
If 100% of your links were garbage and looked and acted the exact same way – that would be a problem – even if those were what most would consider "good links." Real world link profiles tend to be diverse – so having these won't really hurt. Just make sure there are others existing or coming and do the best you can.
There's so much you can do between YT & your website that you don't need spammy links. Work on quality links with HARO or pump that budget into other SEO. My client is killing it once we started SEO'ing their YT and embedding them with a transcript on the website.
Thanks, that's what I did myself. Which kind of p****s me off that it took me to do it. I started making review videos of the products, made a professional YT channel, provided good descriptions, subtitled, etc. I then embedded each video on each product page, and more or less "converted" what I'd said in the video to be more reader-friendly (cleaned up a little bit of the conversational tone).
It was then that my SEO really started to climb.
Aamir » Tim
That's looking great. You are producing your own video content as Google current update enforce this to add such material in your content.
If you go with proper competitor analysis, link strategy , content management and strategy, your site will definatley boost and will get real organic growth.
Sounds like you got the hang of it. I would use HARO for backlinks. I keep a template and spreadsheet and scroll it at the end of the day and respond.
Brenda Malone 👑 » Kolleen
HARO can be a sh*t show these days. It is not the quality that it used to be. The chances of getting a link are very small and I think your time is better spent developing your own content and stories that ARE worth sharing.
It is basically a marketing vehicle for Vocus to try to sell you on PRWeb. Very rare to get a good nugget. Most are just junk blogs that you can pretty much access and get linked on your own.
Kolleen » Brenda Malone
I'm still getting good links. I didn't even realize I have a backlink from UpWorks blog post until the other day. When I put the time in, it has paid off.
The quality of the articles from which you receive the link will not reflect on your site or your site quality, they will just signal to Google that the site that is hosting the backlink is full of sh*t and therefore you won't be gaining any benefit. Think of it as receiving a recommendation for a vegetarian restaurant from someone who has never been there and isn't a vegetarian. – You won't see that as a reflection of the restaurant, you just wouldn't consider the recommendation a valid one. and The links are unlikely to hurt you unless any of the links are from dodgy link farm-type sites, in which case I would disavow them. Review your links and ensure this is not the case. Your SEO needs a boot up the but and a termination letter. They haven't harmed you, but you've paid them for a service you have not received. I'm always careful to sit with clients and layout what I'll be doing, why, and what results it is reasonable to expect. This is written into my contracts – do you have anything similar written down for your SEO?
With this particular guy, I don't think I signed a formal contract. FWIW, he's a nice enough guy and I think he has good intentions, but has gone about doing everything very old school, "cookbook" SEO recipe method, if that makes any sense.
When I started to make a fuss about it, he was polite enough in listening but essentially told me that the backlinking is almost like an "extra" he's been doing, but that he's more focused on sitemapping, submitting changes to Google, monitoring, etc.
It's probably more annoying to me than any real harm/damage. He's been helping me for a year now and dumb me, I'm just now discovering how s***y the articles are. And he has helped me with Google ads, too. It's not like he's an expert in the field, I get that, but at no time did he even ask me for clarification about the accuracy of any of these articles.
I actually think he himself has done little to nothing with the articles himself. I'd almost guarantee he just subbed that out to someone else, who then ran them through an AI app and posted them.
But yeah, I do kind of hope he learns from this. I know I have.
I think it's more difficult when a nice person does shitty work – it feels horrible complaining.
Richard Hearne 👑
There's a lot of opinion/theory in here, some of which is being presented as fact. SEO can be a very grey subject. Remember – YMMV.
It's also super to see so much interest in this topic. If you wish to share your site Tim please feel free to do so. Examples of the content mentioned might also be useful for everyone.
I'd thought about it, but based on past experiences decided against it, as it tends to attract aggressive sales pitches. I've already received several PMs from this post alone, unfortunately.
Richard Hearne 👑
This is why we cant have nice things 🙁 Such a shame, as it would be very interesting to research this further.
You can always make the network yourself and control everything written on them. Make it a side gig, if not. I don't see how the guy's efforts are going to harm you if his SEO tactics are working.
Just hope he's future proofing his work is all I would include.
"The guy's efforts" can be harmful if they eventually trigger a manual action notice (penalty). And that happens more often than people realize.
In fact, Barry Schwartz reported this morning that Google's spam team may have a backlog in processing reconsideration requests, so until that gets cleared up, anyone who does earn a penalty will have a long wait for getting it resolved.
Google Clearing Out The Manual Actions Backlog?
Morgan » Michael Martinez
I did end with future proofing his work.
Michael Martinez 👑 » Morgan
I know, but people might take away the wrong impression nonetheless.
I can't fault you for someone else cherry-picking your words, but wanted to link to Barry's post. I thought it was timely.
Sometimes it works. But the law of ranking dictates that quality and relevant content is paramount. You may win now but you will be caught.