Our Stance On Google’s Quality Guidelines
The short Explanation
Multifuse's link building does not violate Google's Webmaster Guidelines on link schemes because we:
- Do not use sneaky or manipulative ways to obtain the link.
- Do not use keyword-rich anchor text.
- Provide a reason for the links we include in our content using our Justified Mention Method strategy.
- Do not pay or incentivize our publishers to publish the content and/or links.
- Do not use any of our own domains for link building purposes.
Disagree or want to learn more? Keep reading.
the long Explanation
On the surface, this sentence seems pretty ironclad that Google does not want people building links, but there are a few essential words we've bolded in orange, and as you continue reading, you'll see what Google is really looking for.
Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.
Traditionally, the definition of "manipulate" is to "control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously." Usually, when you're manipulating something, it's to exploit it in an unfair and uncommon way.
In our professional opinion, link building strategies that do not provide any reasonable value or insight to the end user/reader will fall into this category.
Does Multifuse provide value or insight to the end users that read the content we create? We do by using our Justified Mention Method strategy. All of our content has a justified reason for why links were included, much like a college paper uses citations to give credit to sources that helped with the thesis.
The second bolded word, "may," means there's more to what Google will consider as a link scheme. Let's continue reading to see where they go with their definition of a link scheme.
It's widely known that paid links are a form of backlink manipulation. But, what does that mean? Does Google care about you paying a company like Multifuse (or any SEO agency for that matter) because you don't have the time to do it yourself? If so, can you build links yourself? No matter what, someone is getting paid to do the work.
Or, is Google referring to paying a Webmaster (the person that holds the editorial control)?
And for Google, it's more than just "exchanging money for links." It's also trading any value with the Webmaster, whether it be goods or services, giving them free product, or otherwise.
I refer back to my previous question, is Google referring to paying a Webmaster (the person that holds the editorial control)?
We ask, "Is Google concerned about paying a Webmaster, service provider, or anyone?" because all three have distinct answers that affect the website reader and Google's users.
Paying a Webmaster means the Webmaster can no longer vouch for that link on its own merit. The Webmaster is being incentivized and they have full control over whether to place the link or not.
Paying a service provider (like Multifuse) means the Webmaster ultimately still retains editorial control, assuming the service provider isn't also the Webmaster of wherever the link is placed (which is common for private blog networks that are unarguably a link scheme).
The other bullet points in Google's examples of a link scheme follow the same trend - they are all lacking editorial control or use blatant manipulation.
- Excessive link exchanges? The exchange is an incentive that compromises editorial control.
- Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links? Keyword-rich anchor text is manipulating and exploiting Google's perception of relevancy and rarely do real Webmasters use keyword-rich anchor text. Keyword-rich anchor text examples: [wireless headphones] and [desktop organizer].
- Using automated programs or services to create links to your site? Wherever those links are automatically being placed are not passing through the eyes of the Webmaster to vouch for them. Example: social bookmarking or online directory sites.
Ah, yes, now we're getting to the root of Google's problem - whether or not a link is editorially vouched for and even in this section, they say that links that are not editorially vouched for can be considered in violation. More vagueness, but I'm sure there are situations where links that didn't go through editorial review are still legitimate, like social icons, links in iframes, etc.
Or, as Ahrefs explains it in a very relevant blog post:
Links which are editorially controlled by the linking site = good (high quality)
Moral of the story for this section?
- If you're paying for links that pass PageRank, just add the nofollow tag to the HTML link code.
- Don't use keyword-rich anchor text, ever.
- Don't bother building bookmark links and only use reputable business directories. Better yet, stick to directories that are specific to your industry or location.
- Don't build a widget, plug-in, site theme, or other embeddable tools that secretly place links to your website, especially if they use keyword-rich anchor text. If you must have a link, make the anchor text branded and add the nofollow tag.
- Don't spam forums, blog comment sections, or other communities.
Let's continue, none of this applies to Multifuse practices.
Nothing interesting to read in this section other than the explanation of using the nofollow tag within links that shouldn't pass PageRank.
Also, value isn't necessarily lost with using a nofollow tag. It's a controversial subject, but this post sheds some light on how effective nofollow links can be for influencing rankings.
The final section of the Link Schemes page reinforces what Google cares about - editorial control. When your backlinks are not paid for and are editorially vouched for by the Webmaster, they are not violating Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
There are three kinds of marketers in this world:
- Those who think creating great content on your website is the only legitimate way to obtain backlinks, and therefore, any strategy other than that is in violation of Googles Link Schemes Webmaster Guidelines.
- Those who disregard Google's guidelines on links and think any strategy is fair game.
- Those who think there is a happy medium between creating great onsite content and supplementing it with natural and justified link building because, in the real world, most great content doesn't naturally attract links.
Can you guess which kind of marketer we are?