BLOOP: What Does it Mean for Your Website?

This has to be one of the dumbest acronyms ever created, but if you are a website owner it’s one of the most important acronyms of 2012.

BLOOP stands for BackLink Over Optimization Penalty, which is a penalty that Google has reportedly been using in recent years.  When exactly Google started using this penalty is debated, but there has been talk about it for the past several years.  Discussions among top SEO companies regarding BLOOP have accelerated in the past six months leading many to believe that it’s a very real threat to your website.

In it’s most basic form, BLOOP is a penalty for building too many backlinks to your website in a short amount of time and it seems to have caught a lot of people off-guard.  For years we have been told that more backlinks are better.  Many SEO”s and website owners have been feverishly building tons of backlinks from quality sources and as well as some shady sources, all in an effort to boost their search engine rankings.  For a long time it worked, but beware; This practice could land your website a penalty by Google, meaning that you could end up on page 55 in Google’s index instead of page #1 like you want.

The actual penalties vary, from just penalizing a particular page on your website by pushing it further down in the rankings, de-indexing some pages or in the worst case scenario, de-indexing your entire website.  If any of those happen, it may be possible to submit a request for re-inclusion, but it’s pretty difficult to take back all the offending backlinks, making it necessary to start all over again with a new website on a new domain.

There is a second facet to the penalty to keep in mind as well.  When building backlinks, make sure to vary the anchor text used to to link to your website.  For example, if I was trying to rank for the term SEO London Ontario, it would be wise to vary the text that I use when building backlinks to include variations like London Ontario SEO Company or Search Engine Optimization.  Using the same phrase over and over may make sense to you, but to Google it looks spammy.

The Solution: Play It Safe

For some in the SEO business, building lots of backlinks is an addiction.  For a long time it was just part of the job.  Now your best defense against this penalty is to show some restraint.  Build a consistent amount of backlinks on a daily or weekly basis, through various means which may include social media, article marketing, guest posting on blogs, a few good quality directories as well as other places not mentioned.  Go for quality, not quantity and  just don’t go overboard!

As always, good quality content that attracts natural links is always going to be your best weapon to improve your search engine rankings.


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