Can Any Inbound Linking Hurt My Ranking?

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Inbound links are a crucial element of every SEO strategy and can affect website’s visibility in a major way. However, unlike other SEO boosters such as keywords or metadata, inbound links can’t hurt your ranking in any way, regardless where they are coming from. The logic is very simple – website owner is responsible for contents displayed on its pages and should be penalized if there are traces of any action contrary to rules of engagement set by the search engines. The same logic absolves the company from any responsibility for content on other locations that links back to the site, since it can’t be realistically expected to control where the links show up.

If it was possible to downgrade someone’s ranking with back links, competitors would do it to each other all the time, leading to absurd and unsustainable situations. Search engines such as Google are aware of this and found a pragmatic solution to allow all inbound links to be seen as positive for the purposes of the ranking algorithm. The opposite doesn’t stand true – external links towards fraudulent or illegal web locations could result in serious penalties or even blacklisting if detected by the crawlers. Consistent compliance with the all rules and regulations defined by the search engines is a necessary precondition for a high ranking and should be taken very seriously.

Acquiring large number of inbound links can be difficult for recently launched websites and it may take a while before the links start having tangible SEO impact. The best possible scenario is organic spread of high-quality content linking back to the website, which can happen quickly if the content has viral potential but is nearly impossible to predict accurately. Alternatively, it is possible to engage in a link building campaign using different methods to stimulate fast accumulation of inbound links. Professional SEO agencies can provide a blueprint for such a campaign and execute it on behalf of their clients, saving a lot of time and producing good results in a shorter timeframe.

Keep in mind that all links are not assigned the same weight by Google and other search engines. Inbound links coming from reliable and trustworthy websites will be valued more than those coming from unconfirmed addresses. This is done in order to ensure relevance of the results and prevent link farms from overwhelming the entire virtual space with pumped up results. Still, even the worst-regarded links will not carry any negative value and there is no need to be fearful of this possibility when sending out contents to various publishing platforms. Inbound links are a safe territory and should be regarded as a priority objective immediately after the website is launched.

In addition to better SEO position, inbound links also account for a portion of traffic directly. Human readers are likely to follow the links if they are accompanied by meaningful and engaging content, increasing visibility of the brand and leading to conversions if the offer can satisfy visitor’s needs.

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