You Need Sucky Links

I’ve been meaning to blog about your desperate need for sucky links for some time, because I have not seen this aspect of link quality discussed anywhere.

People approach me all the time asking for high-quality links.  Not surprising – who would want low quality links?  But if you ask an SEO consultant to build you only PR6+ links, consider what message that sends to the search engines.

At worst, Google will assume you are buying links to buy PageRank…and we all know how much Google loves link-buying to boost PageRank, don’t we.

At best, the search engines will think your site appeals only to some kind of an elite.  How else would you explain that only high PageRank (high traffic, high-trust, etc.) pages link to your website?  Why do smaller blogs not link there?  How come your website is not included in any normal directories?  Why does this website have no appeal to normal people…and why should we rank it if it has no popular appeal?

No, the search engines won’t ask these questions outright.  But remember that all algorithms are created to simulate what would be normal linking and trust patterns that real people would follow.  Having links only form high quality, top-ranked websites does not look normal.  It’s a giant red flag.

Ironically, the more high-quality links you have, the more poor quality links you need.

By “poor quality”, I do not mean spammy websites.
I do not mean you should be on pages full of words related to
enhancing body parts and gambling away the kids’ inheritance. 

But I do mean, that you want links form websites with a variety of linking profiles, ones that might be new or might not be running any link-building campaigns, ones that we might consider much less significant.  In short, you want a normal linking pattern.

The ideal way to build links is still the tried and true…

Step one, create awesome content such as useful articles, instructional videos, samples and demos, all the things that are generally called “link bait”.

Step two, publicize this content.  If it really is good, many websites will link to it, including top-rated websites and many smaller less significant websites.  They will do it naturally. So you will have a natural linking pattern.

To answer the obvious question, yes you will surely want to put extra effort into publicizing your content to high-trust, authoritative websites.  But those links are the kind of links that less-significant website owners will follow, read and link to, as well.

So don’t forget to get links form a wide variety of insignificant websites as part of your link-building campaign.  With algorithms designed to simulate something like democracy, votes from “the little guys” count, too.


  1. Fair analysis here Dave. BTW, friendly tip, though you likely know it already: you can use the shity links to prop up the decent ones into better than average links. E.g. link your blog comments to guest posts on minor blogs.

  2. @Gab You mean like linking to , where we’ve both just been commenting? Although that blog is certainly not minor. 🙂

  3. David, I agree with your post. I see so many people and so many businesses trying to link their site into only good sites, but they don’t realize that Google is smarter than that. They invented this, so they know the loop holes. If they don’t, they know how to play the game as much as SEO gamers.

  4. Exactly, having links from the good, highly relevant and high PR sites is much beneficial then the FFA sites. These are comes under white hat SEO. But today’s point of view most of us are doing spamming for getting links from FFAs and using Black hat SEO. Thats not the correct way to work out on your sites activity.

  5. It’s good to know that link building can be done naturally just by writing good content and linking to others when appropriate. I like your site because it’s rich in info I still want to learn.

  6. Good content will get you the links you need. If you can create the content that is truly accurate and imformative on your topic everyone will link back to you and beg for to link to them.

  7. I agree, including “lower quality links” allows for you to even get more links instead of just chasing the big PR ones. It also gives you an oppurtunity to get your anchor out there more.

  8. Yes, Tom, good content and a good megaphone will spread the word…and the links will come in a variety of quality. The thing is not to sweat it, they are all good.

  9. This was a very intriguing post, something that I’ve never thought about before. I like the thought; then again, all I have are bad links. I’m kidding, of course.

  10. @Mitch You do want high quality links, too!

  11. As long as people will make posts or comment on blogs (erhm..) just to get a back link, the true meaning those wise men at google and other search engines originally intended for the value of backlinks in their algorythms will be distorted

  12. Very very true. Never really though of this but I think so long as you aren’t really too focused on getting back links, you won’t lose sight of the sucky ones and have a good balance between the two.

  13. This is good to know. I had been under the impression that big was best. I like the idea of a link bait but I have yet to find one with my site. I had put some good content in and tried to get it seen but all that happened is that delicious seems to have banned my site for it never appears no matter who bookmarks it.

  14. Heck, I'm still working on Link-baiting, although I have quite a lot of ideas in mind, I'll need to fully design it before I put it forward. By the way, excellent article!

  15. I know it's old but I'm so glad I ran across this post. I've been trying to build ultra high quality links and wondering why google and yahoo don't seem to care. MSN on the other hand seems to love it. Time to change strategies. Thanks for the information.

  16. I have found that links of non related topics seem to pass value as well. How much value is still unclear. Thanks for the continued info! Glad I came across these posts

  17. I like the idea of a link bait but I have yet to find one with my site. I had put some good content in and tried to get it seen but all that happened is that delicious seems to have banned my site for it never appears no matter who bookmarks it.

  18. Can I use this if im sensitive to caffine or is the product completly free from caffine?