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“Links are important for SEO, so go and get some back links” If this sounds familiar, then you will have listened in on some SEO advice at one point or another. But it’s usually the next sentence that is missing, and is one that is perhaps even more important: “but only if the links are from a good, reliable and relevant source”.

Having a high level of inbound links to your site is a crucial element of any SEO strategy. It indicates to Google that your site is deemed worthwhile by the community; therefore it should be worthwhile for their search engine. Getting links from industry analyst websites and market directories is a powerful way of alerting search engines as to the relevancy of your site, consequently improving your page rankings. But if you are being linked to from a spam site, who are relying on cheating the SEO system themselves, your site gets tarred with the same brush.

This is why it is crucial to find out where your site is getting its links from. You will be penalised by definition if you are receiving too many links from too many irrelevant sources, making the affect of the decent and relevant links obsolete. Simple tools like Google’s Webmaster tool and Google Analytics will help you identify these sites so you can begin to have them remove the links to your site.

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