Bad Backlinks: Guilty by Association

19 Feb

Ever heard the saying “guilty by association”?

It has pretty much become Google’s motto. If they see your site connected to reputably-questionable websites, they automatically raise their flags and question the credibility of your site.

Basically, guilty by association.

The reverse is also true however. Point a few links from your site to a highly regarded authority site (in your niche), and your site will automatically find favor in Google’s eyes.

It’s as if they all of a sudden trust your site more because it is friends (linked) with another site they trust.

This is nothing new. In fact, Google has not kept this a secret for a number of years now – and yet I am amazed at how few people know this – let alone implement it.

We are always told to have as few outgoing links from our website as possible to keep the PR and link juice, and though that is partially true, a site does benefit from having at least one or two links pointing to a Google-recognized authority site in it’s niche (like a niche related Wikipedia page).

I have known this for ages, but it was one of those things that I barely ever implemented. I guess it just never made it on my list of “important” factors until more recently when I decided to put it to the test on one of my neglected blogs.

All I did was put a link from my site’s  sidebar and linked it to a page in Wikipedia that talked about the same topic. That was all I did.

It took a few days, but then I noticed an almost immediate increase in my search engine traffic. Instead of getting one Google visitor per day to this abandoned blog, it was getting 5 – 10 visitors per day.

I thought it was coincidental so I tried it out on some of my other blogs and they were all (consistently) getting similar results.

I felt dumbfounded. A strategy so simple to implement, and yet I continually failed to do so. How pathetic.

Moral of the story is this: always reference an authority site in your blogs/websites. It gives Google an idea with what kind of circles you associate yourself with and it will rank you accordingly.

My authority site of choice is Wikipedia but there are many different options available, depending on the niche you’re in.


What Sites Associate With Your Site?

In other words, what other relevant sites are linking to you?

I know it is important to diversify links and get them from as many different healthy sources as possible (I agree with this 100%), but one key element we should NOT overlook is: getting backlinks from niche relevant websites/webpages.

Even if the links are no-follow, it has been my experience that your site still gets credit for being associated with those “niche relevant” sites.

In other words, your site gains credibility in Google’s eyes by having other sites say “yeah, we seen him/her around”.

Even if those sites don’t endorse you by giving you a dofollow link, you gain credibility for simply having a story that checks out when Google questions your alleged circles.

To sum this whole post up, I will say this…

Become Known in Your Niche!

Go out there and leave relevant/useful comments on niche related sites. A lovely free tool I like to use is Drop My Link. It allows you to very quickly locate relevant sites you can leave a constructive comment on.

This is very powerful stuff but is tedious work, so it does require a consistent commitment on your part. It is totally worth doing though.

There are many other ways you can get these related sites to link to you. You can always try on guest blogging or even paying someone to link to you. It requires a bit of an imagination at times but it’s energy well spent.

Konrad Braun

I'm an entrepreneur at heart & have been a full-time internet marketer since 2009. I specialize in SEO & affiliate marketing. I married the most amazing woman I ever met & travel the world with her. I love my life!

12 thoughts on “Bad Backlinks: Guilty by Association

    • Hi Joel,

      I kept mine do-follow.

      A no-follow basically says “I do not vouch for this link” which should be fine too (I guess) because all we really want is the association, but I guess it really would be up to you.

      You got me curious now – thinking I might split test this 😀

  1. Konrad, I love the .edu sites that I can sign in one and post articles as a way to get high quality backlinks. The only problem is that my supply is drying up. I looked at the Drop My Link site and all the .edus I found had no way to comment or no way to sign up. I will still use the URL to see if I can find some.

    Thanks for the article.

    • Hi Ann,
      .edu backlinks are powerful. Good on you for putting them to use!

      Have you tried going broader? I know some topics have limited # of blogs (especially .gov and .edu domains) so going broader (if possible) might be the only solution.

      If you got them all already – I need to hire you to do some commenting for me lol 🙂

      • Thanks,

        I did hear that no-follow would be just as effective and not give up as much link juice. But with Google, who really knows. lol

        I would really like to hear about the results of your split testing.

        Thanks again,

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