Can you get penalized for building links? The answer is yes.
Some marketers term such penalty as -50 penalty. Some call it -30 penalty. Whatever name you call it, the idea is the same. You are maxed at certain ranking no matter what happen.
To find out if you are slapped with such penalty is simple. Do a Google search for a unique phrase in your webpage and see what is your ranking. Under normal circumstances, you should be on the 1st position, since there is no competition for that unique phrase. But if you are slapped with -50 penalty, you will notice that your website is found on the 51st position.
Such penalty is implemented manually, i.e. someone actually access your website and determine if you should be penalized and how ‘deep’ in the ranking you should be penalized. Google doesn’t go round checking on people’s sites. Usually something must have triggered its alert, so that an investigation is launched.
Let’s be realistic. Who don’t build links? The key here is don’t trigger the manual investigation.
How Not To Trigger Manual Investigation?
No one really knows what triggers Google’s alert system. Your best bet is to play safe. Build links slowly and from a host of varying websites of different nature. Remember, everything is relative. You can be building thousands of crap links to Wikipedia and it won’t harm Wikipedia a bit. But if you build such links to a site with no link history, you are likely to get into trouble. There isn’t a fixed rule as in how fast you should build links or how many links you should build from one site or for one site.
Also, don’t publicly boast about your link building success. Tipping off is one major reason why Google launch an investigation, because when someone complains, Google needs to take action. One annoying truth is sometimes you may rank high in a keyword that a rich company is trying to rank for, and instead of working harder to beat you, that company will engage a lawyer to write to Google, claiming that you build links. Google will need to answer to that lawyer by launching an investigation. It’s unfair, but that’s part of the game.
What If I Don’t Built Links. Isn’t It The Safest?
Yes, if you don’t build links at all, you are 100% safe. But chances are you will also not achieve any good ranking in Google.
Can I Sabotage A Website By Building Links To It?
You see, if a website can be penalized for link building, it means you can sabotage a website by building tons of junk links to it and get it penalized. Theoretically yes. But bear in mind that every penalty is human reviewed. If the reviewer sees that the website has got great content and has tons of different backlinks from different sources, chances are it will not take any drastic action against the site.
So What Is The Best Practice?
The best practice begins from your website. Build quality website that Google is proud to present to its users. Next, promote the website by building links. Build links for the objective of gaining direct traffic from that link, such as promoting your site in the forum or posting articles in article directories. Avoid building links for the sake of links. If you stick to this practice, you should be quite safe.