Can inbound links affect Google ranking

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Can inbound links affect Google ranking

As a webmaster you probably know that Google first launched its Penguin 1.0 update back in April 2012 and the more recent one was on October 4th 2013. Did you know that inbound links could now have a negative impact on your Google rankings?

Before this update, the inbound links could not do much harm at all to your site and its rankings, however Google being at its unpredictable best, changed the rules, and you now have to look out for the negative links that are pointing to your sites. This is quite scary now because we do not have the control over these links at all.

Many people put all their effort to get ranked on the search engines into link building not knowing that they are accumulating some negative links in the process. After this update the talk will be about how to clean up the link profiles and detox websites off all negative links. Am sure less emphasis will be put on constant link building from now on. We always said that natural link building is the best way forward.

What has happened ever since Penguin 1.0 launched?

There has certainly been plenty of debate as to how exactly Penguin works. We all by now should get this clear in our minds that Google algorithm is something we cannot clearly make out. We can only understand some of the facts presented to us by Google such as:

1.      The date when Google issues a Penguin update

2.      How the update will affect changes in the SERPs

Does it matter if your site is ranking fine?

Well, yes… it does matter because you have no control over who links to you so make sure you are always updated about the latest inbound links that Google crawled and counted. Be cautious from now own as ignorance could lead to your downfall. What we suggest is to fully understand how your link profile looks like so that you are fully prepared if anything happens to your site.

The Sad Truth:
Penguin is an update that is manually run, which implies that if your site is penalised by one update then it may take months before the next update and many more months until you see any positive results from the remedial actions that you will have undertaken.

How to Track Your Links

Before deciding to take any action you have to understand what exactly your link profile is. We suggest using the Webmaster Tools for a start:

  • Firstly set up a Webmaster Tool account if you have not done so.
  • Add your website and verify it (using their verification methods)
  • Go to Search Traffic on the left hand toolbar > Click on Links to Your Site > More
  • Under the tab “Who Links Most” click on “Download Latest Links”
  • You will then be able to see a spreadsheet view of all your latest inbound links

The links that appear here are the ones that Google knows about. If a link has not been indexed on Google then it will not appear on here. It is not necessary that Google has indexed all of the internet. Keep in mind that Google cannot penalize your site for a link that they do not know about, which means the list from Google will be sufficient enough for you. All in all, we just want this process to be effortlessly simple so that you can practice this regularly. 


Many webmasters have debated and wondered whether Google penalizes a website whose inbound links are from a bad neighborhood or not. The question is, can your fellow competitor sabotage your site’s rankings by bombarding your site with negative inbound links? Many members of the SEO community have voiced their opinion over this with all having their individual views. As an experienced SEO webmaster I think this sort of impact is highly unlikely and I will explain why I think so. Please note, this is just merely my opinion on this subject so do not take it as a definitive answer. In fact no one will be able to give you a definitive answer other than Google.

Now am sure Google knows that many unscrupulous webmasters will try their best to sabotage their competitors search engine rankings via any means, so its certain Google must have some sort of control or measures to limit this possibility. We all by now understand that to influence the SERPs position of a particular URL is to point many negative inbound links or backlinks at it. A good backlink can certainly improve your site’s rankings on the search engines where as a bad link could be detrimental to your SERPs and can get your website banned too.

If you are following this attentively you will have got the point I am trying to make. I do not think inbound links can have an adverse effect on SERPs because every unscrupulous spammer will have the freedom to destroy any website they want by attaching it to a bogus or bad neighbourhood. Now these bad neighbourhoods’ links will allow the spammers to attain top search rankings for their keywords through a process known as attrition. Now if a spammer can devalue your site adversely by many bad in-bound links, then it is virtually easy for them to be at the top of all search engine for any keyword they want. How will this all impact on how we will see Google as a search engine then? We will question the quality, reliability, relevance of its overall search results.

My final conclusion is that there is simply nothing that is beyond a webmaster’s control that can harm your search rankings. Inbound links are beyond the webmaster’s control. I think Google will not allow inbound links to negatively impact a site as they will surely have measures (filters) in place for this.

Inbound Links and SEO

we'll look at inbound links and more so on the question that we get asked the most from would-be webmasters or self learning SEO individuals. Question being "Is it ok to buy links to my website with the aim to get more traffic"? Well traffic is a good thing for any business to be successful but buying links? Seriously is NOT a good thing to do! The problem is that on blogs or forums we have come across people asking the same question and many answers are flooded by the individuals of the companies that sell links. People are misled by them and taken to believe buying links will get one to the top of search engines. This is totally wrong and if you have been doing this, please stop at once!

Now lets go further and try to locate these companies for you. Recently we have taken note that many so called Booster SEO companies have come up and yes they are selling so called Booster packages with the aim of getting your site to the top in no time. They tell you how many links are in their packages specified too. Now lets get serious here, why would you buy links and think you will get to the top easily. This is simply not good SEO practice by any means. All these companies are simply just trying to get your money and are making sales pitches on the blogs and forums that this works but in reality it does not work at all.

Inbound links are important but that does not mean you have to take shortcuts in attaining them. Do not also get yourself into reciprocal linking just to get links. You have to simply play clean and fair and you will get your site ranked rather then trying various black hat methods that do not work and will eventually get your site penalized. We at Lowcostseo have never bought or exchanged a single link and yet our site is performing at the top in all major search engines. We have worked on client's sites where the inbound links are very few or none and yet they make it into the top 10 on Google. This will explain to you why we have stressed that buying inbound links is as ineffective as it could be.

The easier way to get to the top is simply having great content, ongoing SEO work, robots text, a sitemap on your site for humans and one for search engines. This all will prove that your site has a good directory structure in place. Here is another angle to look at it, the robots will crawl on your site to get any new data, content or information updated and they do this without knowing if you have any inbound link or not as they are only focusing on what your website content is. Your prime focus should be on seeing how your site is being crawled, cleaning out dead links, checking the robots for any errors and making sure the website is running smoothly.

All in all, it is the quality of the website that will give you the visibility and traffic that your site wants. So please stay clear of buying any links and work ethically on your SEO campaign as slow and sure will win you the race :)