31 Oct, 2022

Backlinks - How Dangerous are They to Your Website and SEO Strategy?

Backlinks can help in increasing a website's online popularity and reputation. However, there are also consequences. Read on to find out.
Including links to your existing content, also known as backlinking, can be an effective tool to improve your site's search engine optimization (SEO). When done correctly, it can help your site appear near the top of Google's search engine results. But while it is an integral part of your website's SEO strategy, that doesn't mean it is risk-free to use backlinks.

Let's take a closer look at what backlinks are, what risks to website security you might encounter while using them, and how to avoid them and ensure optimal website protection.
What are Backlinks?
Backlinks are a valuable way of increasing a website's online popularity and reputation. The more backlinks you have, the better your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Many online services provide backlink campaigns for websites. These services have been around for quite some time now. They continue to grow stronger every year as they gain more users interested in promoting their websites through these platforms. Numerous bloggers and internet marketers use such services to promote their sites for clients or themselves. You can also monetize your site by adding these links and get paid upon clicking them.

Backlinks are a sign of trust, and search engines use them to determine the authority of a website. Backlinks are also a way for websites to share content.

Multiple Online Services Provide Backlink Campaigns to Promote a Website
You can purchase backlinks from a variety of different services, including:

  • Private Blog Networks. This arrangement allows you to pay for links that point to your website. The goal is to have these links appear as natural and organic as possible, so they don't get penalized for being backlinks. People who want their sites ranked quickly without facing any negative consequences from Google generally use these links.

  • Guest Posting. Guest posts are typically used by bloggers looking to gain exposure across multiple websites to spread their brand awareness around the internet; however, they're also often used by SEO companies when attempting link-building strategies online. When someone writes an article on their blog and then accepts guest posts from other authors (who aren't compensated), the guest writer gets a backlink in return for submitting their content to the original writer's site.

These services ideally lead to the same result - more traffic to your site and better SEO scores.
How You Can Monetize Your Website Using Backlinks
Another potential benefit of backlink SEO is the ability to monetize your website by adding such backlinks and get paid upon a click. You can also get paid for making people click on your links. You can use these links to promote your website or products.

Suppose you've built up a sizable audience with consistent traffic coming into your site. In that case, you'll likely have plenty of other site operators wanting to pay you for the privilege of a backlink. The positive effect in these instances is that you'll increase the revenue your site produces.

The challenge is knowing which sites to backlink to and which may cause problems.

What Happens When Your Website Links to Hacked or Blacklisted Sites?
You risk receiving a Google penalty when your site links to a hacked or blacklisted domain. The link search algorithm considers these kinds of links low-quality and signals that they may be spammy. Google reacts unfavorably to these for SEO purposes.

When you link to hacked sites, you're sending traffic to a website that could contain malware or other viruses that can harm your visitors' computers. A negative user experience can lead to fewer conversions and lower rankings in SERPs.

If you've linked to blacklisted domains, Google blocks the website due to poor-quality content or suspicious activity (for example, spamming). If your site links back one day but then becomes removed from Google's index the next day because of malicious activity, you'll also lose all those incoming links.
What is a Blacklisted Website?
A blacklisted website has been blocked by search engines from being indexed and is not accessible to the public. This can happen due to a compromised domain or a domain used for malicious activities such as phishing or malware distribution. The owner may also request this blacklisting to prevent further damage caused by the website. For example, if your hacked site now displays adult content on every page, you might want it removed from search results so no one else finds it.

Blacklisting also includes blocking certain areas of the internet, such as ad networks, email providers (e.g., Gmail), or social media sites.

How to Verify if My Website Links to a Known Blacklisted Domain?
Numerous tools online can now check whether your website links to a blacklisted domain. However, not all of them are effective. Quttera has a public malware scanner you can use. This will give you a reliable readout to better understand your current backlinks. The scanner will alert you to any blacklisted domains. You can then take appropriate action.
Avoid Linking to Unknown Websites
It's important to avoid linking to unknown or untrustworthy websites. If you link to a website that Google considers spam or otherwise malicious, your site may become blacklisted and placed at the bottom of search results. You can also become blacklisted for linking to hacked sites or websites containing malware. To avoid this, don't link out unless you feel confident in the site's quality and relevance to yours.
How Quttera's Threatsign! Web Malware Monitoring and Protection Platform Can Assist
It is important to remember that backlink SEO is not the only way to increase your website's popularity. You can also create valuable content and get people talking about it. The key here is to avoid using unknown websites as a source for backlink building, as they may cause problems for you and your visitors at some point.

So how do you avoid backlinking to blacklisted domains? By using Quttera's Threatsign! monitoring and protection platform.

Based on a selected plan, we provide periodic web malware scanning, which checks all URLs detected on the scanned website against several blacklist databases and alerts website owners on the found issue. This allows you to remove such links before search engines and other security authorities blacklist your website.

Contact us today for more on how ThreatSign! can revolutionize your website protection.