The effect of unnatural linking patterns on your
search engine rankings
Inbound links are one of the most important factors that
Google uses to determine the position of a website in the
Some years ago, it was sufficient to get a lot of inbound
links to top Google's search results. Nowadays, it's not
that easy. Google has started to detect unnatural linking
What are unnatural links?
Unnatural linking is linking that wouldn't happen if search
engines didn't exist. Unnatural links are links that are
built purely to increase the search engine rankings of
a website. These links don't have topical relevancy.
For example, unnatural links are:
- links from totally unrelated websites (that have no
value to the web surfer)
- links from blog comment spam and forum spam
- links that exploit a weakness in server design (like
What are natural links?
Natural links are simply links that webmasters would also
build if search engines didn't exist. For example, reciprocal
links with related websites make sense (I send visitors
to you and you send visitors to me, our visitors benefit
from the links).
If a link is logical and on-topic then search engines
will like the links. The following graphical example explains
why on-topic links will increase your search engine rankings:
The topic of your website is symbolized by the green color.
The more other "green" websites link to your site (symbolized
by the green arrows), the deeper is the green of your own
In that case, search engines know that your website is
very relevant for this "green" topic and they will give
your site high search engine rankings for search terms
related to that topic.
Now lets take a look at the effect of unrelated links:
The links from unrelated websites (symbolized by other
colors) take away the green from your website. They make
it harder for search engines to identify the topic of your
If you have a lot of links from unrelated web pages then
your website becomes less relevant to the original topic
of your site.
What does this mean for your website?
Links that are useful to web surfers are links that search
engines deem relevant. Do now waste your time with shady
link farm systems that promise hundreds of links in a short
time. This won't help your website much.
Better focus on high quality links that will bring your
visitors while increasing your search engine rankings at
the same time.