Since its launch, Google has ranked websites according to their popularity. At the time, its designers considered that this popularity was based on the number of external links pointing to the same site. Thus, the more external links a domain name can claim to its pages, the more popular it is, and therefore deserves to be positioned in the best results.
If it could be relevant at that time, this basic principle of the Google algorithm has quickly appeared as a flaw. Indeed, it was then enough to exchange or buy links by the hundreds to immediately be propelled on the front page.
In 2012, the one who is already the leader in online research whistles the end of the manipulation of his SERPs by deploying a filter called Google Penguin. It aims to penalize all sites that have or would be tempted to ignore its guidelines by acquiring links of poor quality and certainly intended to manipulate the results.
Today, loading speed, https or user experience (UX) are among the hundreds of criteria that influence SERPs. Google’s objective is, of course, to refine the results it proposes so that they are as relevant as possible. But it is also an opportunity for him to reduce the scope of what is the basis of his operation, netlinking.
If this one has lost its superb quality, it is still a powerful visibility lever, one of these fundamentals of SEO that must imperatively be part of any good sustainable SEO strategy.
Google Penguin, the penalty for bad links
If links are still one of the key criteria for your visibility in search engines, compliance with Google guidelines is essential. Indeed, a netlinking strategy that does not take them into consideration often results in a Google penalty.
Among these is the Google Penguin filter deployed since April 24, 2012. It has been updated several times before finally becoming an integral part of the search engine algorithm. Its objective is to oust from the SERPs all sites seeking to manipulate its results via poor quality netlinking techniques (site network, blog comments, etc.) or Black Hat (techniques disapproved by search engines to modify their algorithms).
To avoid any Google penalty, it is therefore essential to be vigilant about the quality of the sites to which you link at the time T, but also about their evolution over time.
You want to be sure that your site is not sanctioned by Google? Get advice from one of our SEO agency’s Google penalty experts.
SEO: what is a good backlink?
In SEO, the incoming link is always the basis of natural referencing. But not all backlinks are equal, far from it. While some may be very useful in gaining a few places, others, on the contrary, will have a toxic effect.
So, what is a good backlink? While this is obviously at the discretion of the referrer, certain criteria must nevertheless be taken into consideration:
The theme: the incoming link must come from a site whose theme is similar or related to yours. It is unlikely that a kitchen portal will point to an online shoe shop. On the other hand, if you manage a cooking blog, a link to one of your content from a magazine on the same theme will certainly be appreciated by Google
Page indexing: if the page is not indexed in search engines (which may appear in search engines), the link found there is not either. Worse, depending on the reason for this non-indexing, this backlink can be toxic
The position in the page: the links in the body of a page are much more influential than those in the footer or used for navigation. All this is to avoid manipulation and spam. It’s no secret: Google is hunting down purchased links. As this type of link is usually found in footer or sidebar, it is therefore logical for Google to give little credit to this type of hyperlink
Backlinks from new sites have more weight than new links from already referenced domains. It is therefore preferable to have a link from 50 different domain names rather than 50 from a single site
The keywords in the text have more weight than those in the ALT attributes of the linked images. This does not mean, however, that such backlinks should be dispensed with.
Trusted and popular sites also have a stronger SEO influence