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Link Schemes: How To Avoid Them?

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What Is a Link Scheme?

Link schemes indicate to search engines what links they should pay attention to.

A link scheme is a system for classifying and organizing links to resources on the World Wide Web. It manages links by subject, type, or other criteria to rank resources by importance.

A link scheme is any tactic used to artificially increase the number of links to your site and drive traffic. It includes any behaviour that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.

It may be tempting to try and boost your site’s ranking through link schemes, but it’s essential to remember that these tactics are not only frowned upon by Google but can also result in severe penalties.

Why Is It Bad For Your Page?

Search engines consider link schemes to violate their guidelines and may act against sites that engage in them.

There are a few reasons why link schemes are generally considered bad for your pages.

First, they can result in a search engine penalty. Your pages could be removed from the search engine’s index or pushed down in rank.

Second, link schemes often involve low-quality or spammy websites. These sites can damage your reputation and hurt your rank in search engines.

Finally, link schemes can be time-consuming and expensive to maintain.

Link Schemes Examples

Link schemes are a type of link-building tactic that has been used in the past to increase traffic and manipulate PageRank. Link schemes are for internal and external links but typically links intended to manipulate.

Examples of link schemes include buying and selling links and excessive link exchange.

Buying links

Buying links as link schemes is a black hat SEO strategy and is therefore not recommended. There are things to keep in mind when choosing to pursue this route.

First, only buy links from reputable sources. There are some businesses out there that will sell you low-quality links.

Second, make sure that the links are not obvious paid links. If a link looks like an advert, Google will likely penalize your site.

Finally, buying links should only be a part of your overall link-building strategy; it should not be your sole focus. If you only pursue this tactic, Google will likely penalize your site.

Selling links

One way to engage in link schemes is to sell links. It inflates the number of links pointing to a site, resulting in an artificially inflated site’s ranking in Google search.

While there may be some legitimate links selling, it is generally frowned upon by Google because it typically results in low-quality links not being editorially placed.

As a result, selling links can be considered a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

You can do it through link directories, link farms, or other similar services.

Link farms

A link farm is a group of websites owned or controlled by the same person or organization and used to generate traffic to their website.

Often, link farms will sell links to other websites for a fee.

Link farms are sites that link to other sites in exchange for backlinks.

Link directories

Link directories are another common type of website that sell links.

These websites are essentially lists of links to other sites, organized by category. While some link directories may be edited manually by a human editor, many are by automated software.

Link directories are similar to link farms but are usually less blatant. They may charge for inclusion or require backlinks in exchange for a listing.

Excessive link exchanges

Excessive link exchanges are a form of a link scheme.

It is when two websites agree to link to each other to boost their respective SEO process. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with exchanging links, it can become a problem if done to excess.

If you’re interested in exchanging links with another website, please do so in moderation.

If you’re participating in a link exchange with another site that isn’t relevant to yours, you’re going against Google’s webmaster guidelines, and your site could be penalized.

In addition to being irrelevant, the linking site must also be of high quality. Suppose you’re linking to a low-quality site that reflects poorly on your website. Google wants to see links from reputable sources relevant to your site. Linking to low-quality or irrelevant sites can hurt your rankings.

If you’re participating in a link exchange, make sure that the site you’re linking to is high-quality and relevant to your own. Otherwise, you could be penalized by Google.

Guest posting

It is when someone writes blog posts on another person’s website. Guest posts will usually include backlinks to the guest’s website.

Google has said that it can be a form of a link scheme because it is solely to build backlinks.

The guest post may not be relevant to the published website, and the link may not be appropriate to the content of the guest post.

If you have large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns, make sure that your guest post is relevant to the website it’s being published on, and make sure that your link is relevant to the content of the guest post.

Creating links with software or other automated programs

Using software or other automated programs can be link schemes.

These programs typically generate links to your site unrelated to the site’s content or the user’s query. It can result in a bad user experience and lead to search engine penalties for the site engaging in the link scheme.

It is essential to ensure that any links generated by software or other programs are relevant to the site’s content and not solely links intended to manipulate search rankings to avoid penalties.

Press releases with keyword-optimized anchor text

Press releases with optimized anchor text as link schemes can be an effective way to improve your website’s search engine optimization.

This type of press release is sometimes also used to increase the number of inbound links to a website to improve the site’s ranking on Google.

In this scheme, a press release is written and distributed with backlinks to the website using anchor text specifically chosen to improve the website’s ranking in Google search results.

However, press releases with optimized anchor text are generally considered link spam and can result in your website’s Google penalties.

If you’re using press releases to promote your website, ensure that the anchor text is relevant to the press release’s content, and avoid using keywords that are not related to your site.

Links to/from Poor Quality Websites

The site is likely part of a link scheme if you see many links coming from spammy or low-quality sites.

Poor quality websites often link to and from others to improve their site’s ranking in Google searches, but you should avoid them if you want your website to succeed.

If a website has a lot of links from low-quality sites, it may be part of a link scheme. It could lead to that website being penalized or even removed from Google search results altogether.

Linking to low-quality or spammy websites can harm the reputation of your website. When linking to another website, be sure it’s a high-quality site relevant to your own.

Linking to irrelevant or poor-quality sites can result in your website being penalized by Google.

How to Recognize Link Schemes?

The best way is to avoid any tactic that tries to game the system. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Here are things to look out for in identifying whether a website is using link schemes:

Links from unrelated websites

If a website links to you and has nothing to do with your content, it’s probably a link scheme. For example, if you’re reading an article about dogs and you see a link to a website about cars, that’s probably a link scheme.

Links with anchor text that is unrelated to your website

For example, if you run a pet store and someone is linking to you with the anchor text “cheap shoes”, that’s probably a link scheme.

Links from websites that are themselves part of a link scheme

If you see a website with nothing but links to other sites, it’s probably best to stay away from it.

An excessive number of links on a single page

It often indicates that the site is trying to game the system by cramming in as many links as possible. It is a clear sign that the site is trying to inflate the importance of that particular page artificially.


Avoiding any link scheme that could be considered artificial or manipulative is best. They can make your site look untrustworthy and spammy, which you want to avoid if you’re trying to build a successful website.

If unsure whether a particular link arrangement is legitimate, it’s always best to err on caution. When in doubt, it’s best to avoid the structure altogether.

By being aware of link schemes and how to avoid them, you can help ensure that your website has a substantial SEO value.

Focus on creating high-quality content that people naturally want to link to if you’re interested in link-building that helps your site rank better.

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