Google has been increasing the magnification on its backlink microscope, and things have been pretty volatile as a result.

At BFO, we’ve worked with nearly every shape and size of manual action penalty evaluations for unnatural inbound links. One common thread we’ve seen lately is that links obtained through “classic” or otherwise unsullied PR efforts can cause manual action by Google.

Does this mean that all PR links are bad? Not at all – they just have to be done the right way. Every site –and every manual action case – is different. There are, however, some general rules of thumb for backlinks obtained through PR.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • First and foremost, never conduct PR campaigns for the sole purpose of gaining backlinks.
  • Be careful about the kinds of websites you work with. Make sure they post high-quality content and are not part of any spammy or questionable link neighborhoods.
  • Always specify the publisher/website uses rel=”nofollow” if a backlink is included.
  • Disclose the relationship between website/blogger and client in any content that includes backlinks.
  • Do not require or specify anchor text to be used when creating the backlink.

These are some great general guidelines to get you started, but even they won’t keep you entirely immune from penalties. There are other factors that contribute to manual action by Google.

It’s time SEOs and PR folks put their heads together to do what’s best for every client involved. The last thing either of us want is a mutual client to get slapped with a penalty without warning.

Take it from me: manual action prevention is much easier than remediation. If we work together, we can help our clients avoid manual action penalties and keep their campaigns on track.

Check out our ebook, ‘Marketing Director’s Guide to Successful Agency Relationships‘, and learn how these two types of agencies can work together to create success for their clients.

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