11 Bad link building tactics

By Roman Berezhnoi December 5, 2019 1.67K views

11 Bad link building tactics

Every off-page SEO professional knows that backlinks (along with content) have been the foundation of SEO. Of course on-page optimization and technical SEO are vital factors of modern SEO. But links continue to be used by SEOs.

The latest updates to the Google algorithm concern links. Googler John Mueller claims that they are able to ignore bad links and this can greatly reduce the positions for many sites. We predict the fall of PBNs (Private Blog Networks) and many types of backlinks with little utility for people.

Nowadays, links is not real SEO. Advanced SEO services are based on SEO marketing strategy, that includes understanding target audience, UX, and content improvements.
Backlinks can help to get the refferal traffic, trust, reputation and other elements which build your presense in the Internet. Also backlinks help search engines find new pages, crawl and index it.

Here we will tell you how to avoid linkbuilding tactics that can waste your money. This is especially important for those who use link building services and beginners who want to promote their site with links.

1. Press Releases

Links to press releases were popular many years ago, and these links were relatively easy to obtain.

All you had to do was write a press release and distribute it to hundreds of press release distribution sites, when you would quickly get hundreds of links.

This tactic worked well, but it was broken.

Google now believes that some press releas sites are related to the link scheme because they are so easy to manipulate.


If you absolutely need a link to a website for reasons beyond your control, use a naked URL or branded URL as your anchor text in the text. In this case, you should only one link.

If you have enough in your budget, you can use it to publish a press release on reputable news sites.

2. Forums

Many webmasters actively use forums. Although forum owners restrict the addition of links and remove spam, there are a large number of forums without moderation.

If you have thousands of links coming from overseas discussion forums, they are all low-quality links, and this proves to be a problem.

In reality though, not all forum links are bad.


Use forums that are reputable in your field. Stop using links that manipulate or look like spam. Use natural language in the text of your post.

3. Links from foreign guestbooks

Links from foreign guest books can be placed manually or using an automatic program, which is both simple and fast.

Now, if you have such links, you can notice a drop in the position of your site.


Give up this link building method, and check if the agency is using these links for your site.

4. Many random no-follow links

Many distribute nofollow links on random sites. For example, if your link  is to a plumbing site, and you post a link on an anime blog. For a search engine, this looks bad. If there are thousands of such no-follow links, your site may suffer due to the unrelated nature of your site and the forums you are posting on.The rusty chain as the symbol of bad links


Refuse various services of automatic link building and unscrupulous specialists. Do not strive to get a lot of links, because it is better to have several links from verified and relative sources on your topic. Of course, this is more complex, however it is also more effective.

5. Private Blog Networks (PBN)

Previously, PBNs were a great way to build links and increase rankings.

You could continue to see significant benefits from using these methods. For example, you can randomize your trail, and hope that everything will all workout.

However, this is not always the result.

Now PBNs on a sufficiently large scale lead to the loss of organic traffic. Google is able to detect and punish most PBNs by decreasing organic traffic.

You or the agency will be spending more time and money, however in the end, it could be unprofitable. In the worst situation, Google will catch and punish you.


If you used PBNs, it’s time to gradually stop. Start with the PBNs of the lowest quality, and delete all links there. Look for other ways to invest in SEO.

6. Social Bookmark Links

Social bookmarking is a way of storing, organizing, searching and managing the bookmarks of web pages. Users save links to web pages that they like or want to share, using the social bookmarking site to store these links. These bookmarks are usually public and can be viewed by other site members. Social bookmarking links are also considered manipulative by Google. Just two years ago, we noted the zero effect of social bookmarking.


Stop linking here and just let visitors to your site do this instead of you.

7. “Churn and burn SEO” (automated link building)

Building a system with automatic link building is still actively advancing. These services are truly effective and generate revenue for their creators. For users, they write, “the 80/20 rule applies here.” As you can tell, this is does not have a great outlook. They urge you to invest in a deliberately losing business.


Many advise users of these services more wisely so as not to become a spammer for search engines. Perhaps this is good advice, but we suggest abandoning these services for most sites. This creates little value and you are better off directing your efforts towards creating quality content instead.

8. Sites directories (Directory Submission Service)

Submitting to substandard directories is more likely to do more harm than good for your ranking. Therefore, we especially recommend abandoning the use of services of automatic placement in directories.


Authoritative and high-quality catalogs still remain. Although there are not many, you can still use them. Some of these are Best of the Web, Spoke, Bing Places, Google My Business, Yellowpages. But be careful, directories such as Yelp may be higher than the reality of your site on the SERP.

You can use relevant and targeted directories to get relevant traffic. Directories are good sources of audience for many specific business industries (for example experts on business brokers and every other type of firm that sells businesses)

A macbook pro on a table with Google search bar on the screen

9. Blog Comments

Comment spam is an ancient link getting tactic that should be avoided. The goal of introducing no-followed links was to prevent spammers from benefiting from SEO by abusing the comments section.


There is a right way. This is to find relevant articles for your topic and post interesting comments on each article. In many cases, you can opt out of the link and simply indicate the name of your company or product. If it is really interesting, people will look for you.

10. Cheap but quality link building services

This is another SEO abuse tactic for using services similar to Fiverr. As one user writes, “Even if the service you were provided was terrible … you are only out $5”. Note that this is rather imprudent; if your site suddenly gets a bunch of random links, it could be penalised – you were warned.


Give up the idea of ​​a magical solution at a low price. All cheap services are attractive because of their availability and low cost, however the result is just as cheap as the price. In many of these cases, you just lose.

11. Using .edu .gov domains

This link building tactic is based on the myth of .edu/.gov domain authority.

The fact is, Google rates the content. If you are selling a construction tool and posting a link on the college website, you will not reap the benefits. Search engines understand that, in the context of a college or university page, this link is foreign.

Even if the link is relevant, you will not get more success just because of the .edu or .gov domain.


Stop spamming on .edu/gov sites.

Main tip

In conclusion, give up the idea of ​​cheap ways to promote. If you don’t have substantial financial resources, you can handle it yourself. It’s easy enough to start at Google My Business, and write a good comment on a feature article.

Also, if your site has some web design or technical issues, backlinks won’t help you improve your SEO. That is why the best way start from SEO audit to find a problem. In many cases to save time and money you can contact a website development agency, that can build a new site or refresh your site design, create and implement SEO marketing strategy.

Anyway, use quality link building techniques. It’s better to have 2-3 quality links than 1000 links that give no results!

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