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Be careful while executing SEO Link-Building exercise. Refer to Irwin Mitchell case.

Recently, Google has penalized Irwin Mitchell website. This means, irwinmitchell.com will not be listed in Google search result for stipulated time. This is certainly unaffordable for any business and irwinmitchell.com is not an exception. But why did this happen? Why this penalty?

SEO process has broadly two parts – On-page and Off-page. On page SEO refers to all the changes that are done within the source code of the site so that the site and its contents are well interpreted by Google bot (algorithm of Google search) and are indexed well by Google. Better Indexing leads to better search results. Well, the other part, Off-page SEO mainly consists of link-building exercise. Simply put, creating links (URLs) on other websites that point to your website domain is link-building process. Such link is also referred as back-link. The quality of the back-link depends on the quality of source site, or the site from which link goes to your website domain. If a down-graded site points to your website domain, it’s an ill-back-link. And if site such as Forbes.com points to your domain, such back-link is considered authoritative. But the question is – why Forbes.com will point to your domain unless you have something special that Forbes thinks it is publishable on its site. Well, for last 2 years, webmasters are under the wrong impression that more the back-links, better is the ranking. Actually, quality matters than quantity. There are thousands of sites (directory listing sites, article listing sites, online PR sites) that allow you to create a page (and add a back-link) from their site. Such listing is free as well as Paid. The real problem is – how do you decide the reliability of such directory listing website before you create a back-link on it. I am not the authority to firmly say this – but the same must have happened in case of Irwin Mitchell website. The bad back-links made Google bot suspicious about the intent of webmaster of Irwin Mitchell website and finally Google penalized it. It is also said that Irwin Mitchell paid other websites to publish content back-linking to its website, spamming forums etc, though there is no evidence of this available in public domain.

This is a big lesson for clients as well as SEO service providers. Clients should not insist SEO service provider for creating more and more back-links. And SEO service providers should not give follow the wrong practice of link building which may ultimately hamper the site’s credibility in the eyes of Google. Website domains are de-listed by search engines (like Bing, Google) if it’s algorithm questions on the reliability of back-links to your website.

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