Over the past few articles I’ve brought you different tactics you can use to help build quality links to your site.
And while I am going to continue to bring you even more of these tactics I thought it would be good to step back and take a big picture look at why link building is important.
Further, I wanted to look at other things you should be considering when you are doing your link building: Namely managing your online reputation.
As the web evolves, reputation management becomes even more critical to your online business. This is because many people will form their opinion of your or your business based on the sites found around you.
An upset former customer can do a whole lot more damage to your reputation online that you may suspect. If they are a popular blogger, for example, and are able to call on their network of sites to help promote their negative view of you, it can have a detrimental impact on your search rankings.
This is because they can use a tactic called link bombing to rank higher than you for your name or the name of your company.
What do you mean links can be bad?
Just like how you need to build links to improve your link popularity and ultimately search engine rankings, links from other sites can work against you.
Let me give you a practical example:
If you do a search on Google for “miserable failure” or “failure” you will see that President George Bush’s White House bio is ranked number one. This is an example of many thousands of sites linking to the site’s bio page, with the anchor text “miserable failure” and “failure” in them. Google then counts these links as votes for the site for that phrase. Since the site receives the most votes it ranks the highest.
But this is just one example of using links to negatively influence search rankings. There is another where personal sites and blogs have used similar linking strategies to outrank corporate websites for negative terms.
I once talked to an attorney who was ranked #2 for his own name behind a blog site which went on about how terrible an attorney he was and how you shouldn’t hire him.
The blog site took advantage of the system by requesting links on the attorneys name from other bloggers, thus moving it ahead of the attorney’s own site.
It is this type of tactic which can be used against you because in this case, short of legal action, the attorney would have to build even more links to his site for his name than the negative blog.
In the mean time, however, the blogger continues receiving links as other sites which link to him now request the same links. It becomes a snowball effect. One link leads to three, which leads to ten, then a hundred, then 500 then 1,000 and so on.
That is the real power of blogging – the ability to quickly build links back to your site on virtually any phrase you chose to target.
And since bloggers have that much pull, they can (and in many cases do) use that ability against you.
But it doesn’t have to be just bloggers that do that. Any site that has the pull can post a derogatory page about you and flood the web with backlinks, through submissions to thousands of directories and other sites which don’t check for quality and will accept automated submissions.
And the kicker of this is, by the time you realize it has happened to you, it’s almost too late.
That’s because those links were submitted months ago and have passed Google’s aging policy. The only way you can combat this is to build a similar number of positive links and wait the same time until Google approves the links and adds them to your link inventory.
As you can imagine that can take some time so in the meantime your site suffers because of these negative tactics which were begun months ago.
So how you do combat negative links?
There is no real way to combat them. Once they are there they pretty much exist forever. The only real strategy is to ensure that you continue to build high quality relevant links to your site. Thus, you are essentially taking preventative action against those who may not have your best interests at heart.
That means using the tactics I’ve described in some of the recent articles, and continuing to monitor your link popularity.
It also doesn’t hurt to subscribe to services like Google Alerts. I use this to monitor a variety of keywords both in the news and in the organic rankings.
You could create an alert for your name and receive emails whenever there is a mention of your name – either through the news, or when a site begins to move in the organic rankings.
Then you can monitor a few sites to ensure that nothing magically appears ahead of you that is negative in nature.
And if you do find a negative site that appears on Google’s radar, at least you can take a somewhat proactive stance and begin building positive links at an increased rate, to keep them down in the rankings, and solidifying your position.
I don’t want to scare you with this. It’s not something that is rampant on the web. In fact, the average person has no idea how to “trash” you online, other than perhaps posting a negative comment on your website (if you allow commenting).
All I wanted to do with this article was to let you know that such individuals do exist. And they do have the power to supplant your positive online image with a negative review of you even if it is untrue.
But if you follow the rules of good link building you can help prevent such attacks from happening to you.