When is “Bad” Link-building Good for Your Site?

It’s true that certain link-building methods have been targeted for punishment by Google, but one SEO specialist insists that all hope is not lost for these methods, when used together and sparingly. What are these methods? You’ve undoubtedly heard of them and chances are they’re going to sound taboo, but you’ll have to resist your initial impulse to run the other way.

How much do you trust link-building through these methods nowadays?

  • Guest posting?
  • Article writing?
  • Directories?
  • Forum commenting?

Guest Posting

Matt Cutts’ infamous “put a fork in it” comment has caused a lot of panic in the world of guest posting and put a huge gash in the number of people willing to write and publish guest posts. It’s an unfortunate development, especially since it remains a viable channel for exposure, clicks, and traffic, when used wisely (as always).

Cutts’ comment and Google’s crackdown were prompted by the outbreak of blog networks that pushed a flood of low-quality, back-linked blog posts onto the web, offering little value to no one and abusing the algorithm.

Your objective here should be to find blogs that you can legitimately contribute to while building a real relationship with the blog owner. Alternately, you can even seek out bloggers to write for your site.

Article Writing

Ever heard of content spinning? Of course you have. It’s this and other shortcut methods that got article writing a bad name. Articles were written and then spun and spun again to be sent out to dozens of websites. The result is invariably bad text that doesn’t do anything for anyone.

Google attacked the method to curb the growing trend of mass syndication, but seeking out websites to write articles for remains a viable way to collect links.


Directories are no exception when it comes to the rule that a good thing can be harmful when abused. And in this is area especially, spammers have done a great job of ruining a good thing for everyone. But all isn’t lost even with directory link submissions. If you’ve found a niche site that addresses your topic specifically, consider these pointers before incorporating the directory into your link-building profile.

  • If there’s a fee required, it shouldn’t be for the link, but for a review, and it should be refundable. If it isn’t, seek elsewhere.
  • Good directories won’t require you to link back to their site.
  • Don’t post on a directory with PageRank of 4 or less. Doing so will hurt you rather than help.

Forum Commenting

Don’t be one of those obnoxious, self-promoting commenters. That’s probably what you think of when you read “forum commenting.” But as blogger Dave Davies points out, there’s nothing wrong with perusing other blog comments for topic ideas and then returning to the origination of that idea and leaving a comment with a link your post.

As an example, you could say, “Here’s an angle you might consider as an answer to your question. I’d love your take on my perspective.”

People can tell the difference between spammy, indifferent comments and genuine engagement on a post. Even better, don’t let it be your only comment. Establish your presence in the comment chain so that you’re not just a one-off commenter.


Remember that a healthy link-building profile can include these “taboo” methods only if you’re willing to put in the effort to use them as they were originally intended. Everything has its corrupted alternative. Choose to take the higher road and Google will reward you.

How have you used any of the above methods to your benefit?


Davies, Dave. “Bad Link-building You Should Be Doing.” http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2364063/Bad-Link-Building-You-Should-Be-Doing?utm_term=&utm_content=Bad%20Link-Building%20You%20Should%20Be%20Doing&utm_campaign=09%2F10%2F14%20-%20SEW%20Daily&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Daily. (September 10, 2014.)

1 comment on “When is “Bad” Link-building Good for Your Site?”

  1. Michelle Rivero

    When having a blog, it is important to check where your posts are going when other people share them. It is wise to always keep a track on it. Also, being a blog commenter, it is very smart to know how to comment. I agree that spamming is not good whether you are a blogger or a commenter. I really like this blog post because it was addressed to both people who write blogs and people who comment on blogs.

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