Since the arrival of Penguin 5 there is a great deal of interest in understanding what a low quality backlink is : specifically what Google ‘thinks’ is a low quality backlink.

Google defines broadly defines low quality backlinks in its WebMasters Guidelines in the Link Schemes section where they refer to these as:

  • Buying or selling backlinks
  • Excessive Link exchanges
  • Large scale article marketing
  • Automated programs to create links

Google also provides a range of examples of unnatural backlinks including:

    • Text advertisements (without a no follow directive)
    • Advertorials or native advertising where payment is received for articles  (without a no follow directive
    • Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites. 
    • Low-quality directory or bookmark site links
    • Links embedded in widgets that are distributed across various sites
    • Widely distributed links in the footers of various sites
    • Forum comments with optimized links in the post or signature, for example:

My interpretation is:

  • Backlinks from advertiser sites that do not include a no follow tag
  • Backlinks from low quality sites eg sites that are clearly just a backlinking farm

Ironically backlinks that may have helped your website rank prior to Penguin 5, may now be the cause of its non-performance.

Posted in: Google, Penguin