The Wrong Types of Backlinks Hurt Search Engine Rankings: 6 Sources to Steer Clear Of

Backlinks are crucial components in an SEO strategy since they act as road maps for the search engines. If you have quality and authoritative links, your site is deemed to have authority, making it possible for it to rank for a particular keyword or keyword phrase. However, you need to know that there are certain backlinks that could hurt your rankings.

Bad backlinks hurt SEO

Here are 6 sources of backlinks to avoid…

1. Link Farms

These are sources of low-quality which exist to host links for other websites. They have no purpose other than increasing traffic and page ranking for other sites. As a result, link farms have earned a smack-down from Google and therefore, you’ll less likely see a link farm being highly ranked on the pages of Google. For that reason, if you find a link farm, do not think about using it to post links to your site.

2. Paid Sources

According to Google’s official policy, it’s not acceptable to pay for links. If Google discovers you have been paying for links, they’ll most likely deal with everyone involved. No matter how quality the links may seem, as long as you are paying for individual links, the risk of getting caught is quite high. Paying for SEO services is understandable, but paying directly for links is not recommended.

3. Exchanges

In an online context, relationship building is great. Finding a person you can share content with is an excellent way of building authority and sharing an audience. Nevertheless, if you exchange link with another source consistently and excessively, you could attract some negative attention from Google.

If so much of your backlink profile depends on other sources, it could be a bad situation for all parties involved. However, you can exchange several links with each other only if all that is a part of your overall strategy.

4. Link Wheels

These are considered as pyramid schemes of link building. They are artificial mechanisms for passing link juice through a combination of links which point to one another. In other words, link wheels fool search engines by creating pathways which pass authority from one site to the other. Link juicing isn’t a bad strategy, but attempting to establish a link wheel is what Google considered unacceptable.+

5. Conversational Plugs

One of the most common backlinking strategies is slipping a link into an irrelevant conversation. While blog comments and forums are excellent resources for building quality links, it is deemed a bad backlink strategy if your message is not consistent with the conversation or your intention is to solely build authority with a backlink. Seek out techniques for incorporating your links naturally into a conversation and ensure your link points to a relevant page.

6. Irrelevant Directories

Posting links in directories which have nothing to do with the industry you operate is not recommended and must, therefore, be avoided at all costs. Google is aware of your business; if you are a restaurant posting in a hardware business directory, you are subjecting yourself to a penalty.


The most important thing to take away from this guide is that there isn’t a safe haven for backlinks. Therefore, it’s always good to steer away from the low-quality sources mentioned here. If you don’t know what other options are available, you can hire link building services to build your link in a quality and acceptable way.