Fundamentally, obtaining backlinks is a critical aspect of gradually building SEO. These links are assessed by major search engines, such as Google, who subsequently factor the backlinks into its major ranking algorithm.
For this reason, many businesses focus a majority of their content marketing efforts on building links organically. Though, there are some businesses that purchase backlinks from other publishers to rapidly improve their SEO.
The excessive practice of buying multiple backlinks can lead to stiff consequences if Google picks up on the habit. Still, there is a growing concern about whether websites can be punished if they received a backlink from a spammy website.
Check out what Google’s John Mueller had to say about the implications of aggregating multiple spammy backlinks.
Recently, a question was asked to Mueller concerning the topic of spammy backlinks, which read:
There are tens of thousands of backlinks to our website… I heard a lot from you… that there are websites which are… spammy websites, maybe penalized by Google… What should we do about those websites? Should we just ignore and act like we don’t know anything?
Mueller promptly answered the question, reassuring that there are many circumstances in which spammy backlinks would not be an issue for publishers.
For the most part, unless you’re aware of kind of regular activity that… a previous SEO or like someone in the past has been doing for your website with regards to links then I wouldn’t about it. That’s something where if a website has been around for a long time then it has links from all kinds of crazy places. …These are things we see on the web all the time.
Mueller’s explanation takes into account the fact that Google is an intelligent search engine. Many popular websites receive backlinks to spammy websites on a monthly basis. Nonetheless, Google doesn’t punish websites for simply being mentioned across the web, even if these mentions are derived from spammy websites.
Hence, Mueller maintains that these websites have nothing to worry about unless they are willingly participating in gaining these links.
Google on Negative SEO
When answering the aforementioned question, Mueller alluded to the topic of negative SEO in exception to his previous advice.
So unless you’re really aware of kind of dedicated activity of someone going out and buying a lot of links and kind of really doing a lot of things that are against our webmaster guidelines then I wouldn’t really worry about this…
In this quote, Mueller is explicitly clear that purchasing spammy backlinks is against Google’s webmaster guidelines. Violating these guidelines can result in Google flagging your website as spam, causing a phenomenon known as negative SEO.
Spammy Backlinks are Normal
Unless you are spending hundreds of dollars purchasing backlinks from spammy and irrelevant websites, your website won’t receive any SEO implications from Google.
After all, spammy backlinks are normal and ubiquitous across the internet. Although this is the case, it’s still important to build backlinks legitimately, and that’s through creating viral content that’s noticed and cited by other websites.