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Avoid Having Your Site Red Flagged

Oct 18, 2007
It sounds like the simplest thing in the world. Just find someone with a site that has content similar to your own and strike a deal, "You place a link to me on your web site and I'll place a link to you on mine." There was a time when this could be an effective way to generate traffic to your site as well as improve your search engine ranking. But for the most part, those times are gone.

Unscrupulous web masters figured out how to abuse the system by creating link farms and other schemes with absolutely no benefit for the site visitors, and search engines got smart and put an end to the whole thing. So can't we benefit from reciprocal links anymore? Sure we can, but with a few caveats. This article will explore how safe linking practices can still help your site gain traffic, and do better in the search engine results pages.

So as you may have already guessed, search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN are skeptical about two-way links. Due in a large extent to manipulation of the system, these search engines have programmed their bots to penalize sites for unethical linking practices, even if there is only the suspicion of wrong doing.

Where at one time a site looked popular if it was linked to by many sites, now that is a red flag. The search bots actually follow the links these days, and evaluate whether or not the content on both ends of the links is related. If it is related, everything might be fine. If it isn't related, or the bots aren't able to see the relationship, your search engine placements might be effected.

Basically, if anything you're doing even looks the least bit like you're trying to manipulate your search engine placements, you're likely to get dinged. So do you have to worry that a site links to you if they aren't based on a related topic? Technically that shouldn't be a problem; usually only the site placing the link will be penalized for an irrelevant link. Otherwise, it would open the door to a whole realm of sabotaging other sites by linking to them.

So if you want to avoid the famous "Google Slap" where you get knocked off the top of the search engine placements for what Google interperets as foul play, what is a safe linking practice? The answer is simple, "think naturally." Set up linking arrangements that appear natural and ask yourself, "Would I place this link if the search engines weren't a factor?"

Chances are, if you're only linking to improve your placement then you could be asking for trouble. But if the link is there to truly serve your site visitors, then go for it.

After all, isn't that what it is all about?
About the Author
Steve Renner is a well known author and Internet Marketing Expert. Get your
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