The Problem with Do It Yourself Link Building
It used to be really easy to do your own link building. Just get yourself a copy of XRummer or SENuke, set it and forget it. Okay, it was never quite that easy but the tools that existed then (and which still exist today) made link building a relatively painless experience. The problem of course is that as with anything else, once someone finds a method that works, everyone piles on and bad actors eventually ruin it for the rest of us.
There was a time when this didn’t matter though – if you ended up creating junky links, it wouldn’t hurt you necessarily but it also wouldn’t help you at all in building the kind of link profile you need either. Google’s algorithm simply ignored the junk links and focused on the good stuff. I still maintain that Google should have stuck to this policy because they’ve created a problem for legitimate SEO people with their new system.
The Rise and Fall and Rise of Google Bowling
We’ve been down this road before – back in the mid aughts, Google tried to penalize websites for creating junky links to their own websites. The idea was to cut down on the ever expanding world of bot links created by the likes of XRummer and the like.
Of course, as I said above, as with all good things, bad actors found a way to ruin it for everyone else. Google bowling was the result and people started creating garbage links to their competitors in order to drag them down and by extensionl, hopefully give themselves a leg up in the SERPs (search engine results pages).
After a short while, Google’s engineers cottoned to what was going on and changed their algorithm. Instead of counting crappy links against you, they would simply be ignored completely or have so little value that even creating millions of them would be all but worthless.
That was then and this is now. Around a year ago, Google re-introduced the whole concept of penalizing sites for crappy links pointing to their sites. I’m not sure why exactly but if I had to guess, I’d say that they found that the bots had been getting better and better at creating natural looking links so that they were having trouble keeping them out of the rankings.
How they think it’s better to penalize bad links (i.e. how does the system know that something is a bad link and therefore a site should be penalized for it) any more than whether it’s legit I don’t really know. I do know however that Google is trying to help out legit website owners who are targeted for Google bowling. They have beefed up the Google webmaster tools to allow you to continually monitor your site’s health and they created the disavow tool to help you when all else fails.
Today, It’s Too Easy to Accidentally Google Bowl Yourself
The problem as I said is that today, it’s just too easy to accidentally Google bowl yourself. The powerful link building tools still exist and they can even be a big help for those who know what they’re doing with them. However, if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing, you’re best off just hiring a pro to do the job for you because you can easily mess things up for yourself.