What is Link Spam? How Can You Avoid It?

10 mins read
Aug 25th, 2023
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Links building is one of the important tactics which is used in Search Engine Optimization. Because they possess the capability to boost your ranking. But the fact is that your site should have authorized links. That is why, getting a huge number of links does not make any sense in enhancing the ranking. In fact, search engines look only for quality links.

But some marketers pursue building a high volume of links for the purpose of enhancing search engine ranking and incur a huge loss. Because getting links is good, but so many links can create complications. Well, today we will be discussing the topic of “Link Spam” in Search Engine Optimization.

So, what does it actually mean? however, you might have come across the embedded links in posts that redirect you to some other page that was not even related to the page you are looking for. And, these kinds of embedded links are found everywhere on social media, any SERPs sites, which are called Spammy Links.

Well, let’s see in detail what is the real definition of Link Spam. So, stick to this article till the end.

What is Link Spam?

As per Google, Link Spam refers to the creation of backlinksFV for the purpose of manipulating the rankings of the website on search engines. It is typically the technique of “Black Hat SEO”, which is why it is considered an illegal way of building links. Because Link spamming violates search engine guidelines and can lead your site to a penalty.

Generally, the technique of link spamming is used by brands in order to promote their content by embedding the links into the posts regardless of what the post is about and where it was posted. The process of spamming links usually occurs in social media channels and is used by the business for increasing their number of external backlinks to boost their search engine rankings.

Higher SERP ranking is directly proportional to higher traffic rates, so it’s common for businesses to use link spamming techniques for getting conversions and leads. However, Spammy links do not have any real effect on your page’s quality, it just violates the search engine guidelines.

Look out for some examples of Link Spamming:

  • Selling and Buying Links
  • Huge amount of link exchanging for cross-linking
  • Generating links from automated programs
  • Excessive links in widgets, footers, and, website templates
  • Links in advertisements

While search engines consider links as one of the main factors for determining the relevancy of web pages. That’s why, it s easy to see why link spamming is still a common practice. But with the update of the Penguin Algorithm, various link spam practice has become less effective.

Is Link Spam Important?

However, Google has introduced various anti-link spamming algorithms to find out such manipulating tactics. That is why, right now it is much harder to achieve it now because of powerful updates but still a common issue now.

Link spamming is the shady black hat technique. And these tactics work against the search engine guidelines and engaging in such practices can even lead you to huge penalties and can harm your site badly and even reduce your search engine visibility in the long run.

So, if you seriously want to grow your business in the long run, then you must follow the search engine guidelines for long-term goals. Moving organically can take time but it will be worth it.

In our opinion, anything that works against search engine guidelines should be avoided, and Link spamming is one of the illegal tactics.

Types of Link Spam You Must Know

Cleansing Domain

Cleansing Domain is also known as “301”, it’s a kind of link manipulation technique and also comes under the category of black hat SEO. And the chances of getting your site penalized increase when you use this type of link spamming. As you know, a black hat never takes you towards the safe side.

This Link spamming technique uses the redirect method, which redirects the new links to any domain and not behaves like any natural link. But Google does not detect it so often now, but that does not mean that it will remain undetected for long. If the search engine catches you applying this technique, then actions like Penguin which redirects the “301” to “404” are taken immediately.

Hidden Links

Hidden links are another link spamming technique, where the site hides hyperlinks within its posts and even sets its link color to the background color so that the viewers can’t easily find them.

They insert hyperlinks in the images as many users rarely click on the images, and even hide the links in the site’s code, only an algorithm sees them. The purpose of using hidden links is to avoid the direct detection of users by using these tactics.

Poorly Executed Network of Blogs

In SEO, Blogs play vital in enhancing your search engine rankings. Guest Blogging and another type of content posting are the legal way of getting links. But, Google dislikes the network of blogs, which pays and contributes content for the purpose of getting links. Because Google likes quality content and this blog network strategy relies on posting low-quality content.

In a Blog network, each blog possesses the content with a constant ratio and each post externally links to random sites multiple times, with a lot of inorganic anchor texts. Almost all the backlinks in blog networks are spam.

And, Google does not like low-quality posts with so many anchor texts. Quality blogs contain a good amount of 400-500 words with a maximum of one or two backlinks and the writers always focus on posting quality content. While the network of blogs ruins the posts by filling excessive backlinks and making the content cringe. This is an important point to keep in mind as we move forward. Backlinks represent your site authority so, this kind of backlink-building technique must be avoided, which destroys your site authority by harming Google’s integrity.

Article Marketing Spam

Posting articles for the site creates magic for your site. Because quality articles have the capability to boost your search engine ranking and also enhance your site authority.

Article marketing takes this to a new level. So, don’t post articles for the purpose of acquiring links only. If the following link on the site is self-generated and not approved by external sources, you might harm your site as well as it’s user-experience. Thus, we advise you not to post low-quality articles just for the purpose of generating links.

Single-Posts Blogs

Web 2.0 Blogs are called single posts blogs. These kinds of blogs are generally small blogs on subdomains platforms like Tumblr, WordPress, and, Google. And, they are not performing well.

Single-post blogs are a sign of link spam, as the site owner will post one link in an article in the hope of increasing their search engine rankings. However, these blogs are very less effective and do not get as many impressions and traffic.

Site-Wide Links

A few years ago, this practice was almost used by experts. Generally, it is the technique of putting links on the footer section of the webpages which are paid links or Google Bombs.

This technique was ruined by Google as it employs the Penguin action for the overuse of anchor text. This practice is not considered safe and must be avoided by the site owners.

Paid – Links

There is no foolproof method to detect the paid links on every single page. But if you do it in bulk, these links can be easily detected.

You just have to make sure not to make it obvious to the search engines’ algorithms and trust your seller that they have not link spammed your paid links. So, just make sure that all link buyers follow the same and not buys links in bulk. If it happens, it can be easily detected and tracked back to your website.

Link Exchanges

Exchanging link is a good practice until it is not done in bulk. More amount of link exchange can create trouble for you. This process requires you to have faith in complete strangers in order to acquire external links to your site and this is also called the “Link Wheel”.

The process of the “link wheel” is a very risky method because the acquired links are as strong as the weakest links. Thus, it is better to post valuable content and acquire links with no risk rather than link exchange techniques.

Link Bait and Switch

Link bait is the process of developing content for the purpose of attracting backlinks. It tricks the user to visit the page, that they do not wish to visit. Manipulating users with unwanted pages is not a good practice. The search engines do not encourage this tactic and even penalize you.

These things are not done so often, but it’s better to use organic ways for promoting your links.

Low-Quality Press Release Syndication

Press release conveys your brand messages accurately, so it should be of high quality. High-quality PR always comes with fact-checking and follows editing guidelines. While Low-quality syndication does not check the content and sends almost anything to any site. This can lead you to the links not getting indexed by the search engines and even being counted very low.

Directory Spam

Directories submission can be good if you want to improve your search engine rankings. In the case of local SEO, registering your site in different directories can incredibly boost your search engine rankings. But the fact is that your directory needs to be authoritative.

Directory spam is not about the authority of your site, it’s about the authority of the directory itself. If your site is registered across thousand of sites or blog feed directories, then it would be a sign of a red flag. Because these directories are created for the purpose of link manipulation. Google has even taken steps to remove this directory from the search results as they provide very little value.

Link Farm

Link Farming is another technique of link spamming, it is the process of sharing multiple links with each other and putting them on a single website. The main purpose is to achieve a higher ranking on SERPs.

However, this practice is not considered authoritative and therefore it may have a negative effect on your site. The search engine can even penalize your site for doing this.

Forum Spam

Forum is an online discussion site, which allows you to post your content and website links. It is the place where you can get a lot of links. However, their effect has been evacuated by search engines now. Whenever you post follow or no-follow links, it has zero effect on search engines. By the way, forums do not enhance the authority of the site. So, it is just a waste of time.

Profile Spam

It is another victim of Link Spam. The Links uploaded on the authority domains, often go through the unplanned follow links which makes the profile spam, another link spamming technique. Moreover, Google finds it difficult to impose as it intercepts the spammers and imitators from exploiting the brand’s name.

Comment Spam

This is another type of link spamming tactic, where spammers post backlinks on the comment section of the site. Spam links in the comment section are not likely to hurt your ranking but won’t even increase your ranking. Then what’s the benefit of doing these? it’s just a waste of time. Because, if the site contains 1000 comments then 1/1000 of links would not pass any link juice nor will generate effective backlinks..

No-Follow Links

If your site contains plenty of no-follow links, then it would be considered link spamming. The automated link-building software generates a huge number of random links to improve the backlink profile and remain undetected.

But the Google Penguin update has made this almost impossible. Because Penguin examines all the links based on context and quality rather than quantity. Now, it has become impossible to put no-follow links on the content and go undetected.

How Link Spamming Can Affect Your Website?

It can happen that the link spamming method might give you good results in the beginning. But as soon as, the search engine analyzes your website and finds any link spamming technique applied, can cause you a huge loss, that you have never thought of. It will drop your site ranking immediately, and penalize that won’t be possible to recover.

The Recent Link Spam Update Made by Google

The update of Google regarding link spam in December 2017 has modified its algorithm. This update was specifically targeting those websites, that were using the tactic of link spam. That is why, many websites have experienced drops in their traffic in terms of fitness, health, and weight reduction areas.

The issue of link spam has become more and more prevalent with the passing days. Due to this, Google released a new version of the algorithm in December 2022. This modification is done to overcome the issue of link spam.

Websites using link spamming tactics like link farming, irrelevant blogs, and no-follow links are the major focus of this update of Google. This upgrade will penalize the site if it is found using any of these tactics.

After this update, many changes were seen in the SERP. The high-ranked websites that were previously ranked on SERPs have observed quick declines or missing from the SERPs. If you run a website using one of these tactics, Google can punish you and remove your site permanently.

How to deal with unwanted Links?

You can do various things if are hit by Google algorithm updates of spam links.

First, just check your backlink profile and find out if your site has any low-quality links. If it happens, contact the webmaster and ask them to remove those links from your site.

After that, check the quality and relevancy of your website content. And, try to remove unwanted and repetitive information from the site.

Lastly, create additional backlinks from reputable sites, this will increase the number of links pointing to your website and tells Google, it should rank higher on search engines.

How You Can Avoid the Link Spam?

While there is not much you can do in preventing people from generating bad links for your site, rather you can manually approve them. But, you can take the help of an SEO agency like UPSQODE will help you to detect the bad links.

Once you have identified the bad links, you can contact the link owner who has put them there and ask him to remove them. If it does not work, you can also reach out to the hosting company and ask them to remove the links.

If all these things do not work, then you can use Google Disavow tools. Using this tool, you can provide Google, with a list of links and domains you want to remove.

How to Recover From Link Spam Penalties?

If your site has come under the link spam penalty, then no worry there are some approaches that you could take to recover your site from spam penalties.

Stop any link spamming activities and if your Spam posts are old and outdated then Google will immediately

1. Remove them whenever it will access your SERP rankings.
2. Do SEO audit for your site. It will help you to understand why your site is not performing well. If you found , it’s happening because of link spam, then you can use disavow tools that would help you to remove the unnatural links from your site.


Link spamming is not a worthy tactic to use for improving search engine ranking. It might give you good results until it is detected. Once it is discovered by Google, you could observe a huge loss. After all, it’s a black hat technique, and it should be avoided for sure.

It is always recommended to stay away from this shady tactic and use white hat SEO tactics for getting organic results. The white hat tactic may take time to show the results, but it is worthwhile to wait for getting fruitful results.


What is Link Spam?

Link spamming is the process of posting irrelevant links on websites, forums, and articles for the purpose of increasing search engine rankings.

What is the Goal of Link Spamming?

The goal of link spam is to increase the number of links found across the internet that leads back to your website. The main belief is, the more links you will have, the higher will be your search engine ranking. This can lead you to get more potential customers.

What is the Link Spam update of Google?

The Link spam update of Google which was recently released in December 2022 mostly targets those sites which use link spamming techniques. This update will examine the site links on a quality and context basis and if it’s found any spammy things, it will penalize the site and remove it from the SERPs permanently.

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