Bad Link Building: Google vs Halifax

Google is getting tough. Unnatural links are being penalised, but it’s not just the small businesses that are being hit, there’s been a few bigger scalps recently.

The one I want to draw your attention to is the UK banking chain, Halifax.

According to a recent article in CognitiveSEO, the UK’s largest provider of residential mortgages and savings accounts has felt Google’s wrath. Its link building strategy has been deemed as not being very Google friendly and is now facing a major online upheaval.

The article shows that the Halifax experienced a significant SEO drop at the beginning of February.

It would appear as though in December of last year, Halifax received a huge increase in new links – over 400,000, but only from 190 referring domains. Then, at the end of January, its number of lost links suddenly spiked. This was probably in reaction to Google’s penalty.

Unnatural links will cause Google to take a closer look at your website and if you have over 20% unnatural links you’ll be classed as high risk and will be flagged by the Google algorithm.

What happened?

After a bit of digging, CognitiveSEO identified 3 dodgy link building strategies used by the banking giant.

  1. 1.     Web directory links
  2. 2.     Easily pattern-able links
  3. 3.     Advertorials (paid posts)

You can read the full story here.

So as this case study has shown, no one is exempt from Google’s penalties and that’s why it’s essential you adopt good link building techniques.


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