Link Building Outreach Risks

  • Risks of outreach link building with a spam email as an example.

Link building outreach is a tactic used in both white hat and black hat SEO for different reasons. In white hat SEO, a webmaster will contact a website and purchase a link that uses the “nofollow” or “sponsored” tag, which means the site won’t pass any equity, also known as ranking power, through the link.

Contrary to popular belief, Google does permit this exact practice, which is something we go over more in our article, “The Only Way White Hat Link Building Services Can Exist“.

Google does understand that buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web for advertising and sponsorship purposes. It’s not a violation of our policies to have such links as long as they are qualified with a rel=”nofollow” or rel=”sponsored” attribute value to the tag.

Google Search Essentials, Spam Policies, Link Spam.

The black hat version of this simply requires someone to reach out to another site owner either through their own efforts or by using a link builder, pay for a link, and not use the tags Google suggests. This results in a standard link that passes equity.

Of course, purchasing links in either scenario carries some risks, albeit less so using white hat strategies.

Top 5 Link Building Outreach Risks

Risk #1: Contact Form Spam

If you purchase a link on any website, be prepared for the possibility of spam, especially through your site’s contact form.

Seriously, there are some people who watch sites known for outreach link building, we’ll just call them vultures.

In other cases, the sites you reach out to will actually sell any information you provided them to others since you’re considered a hot lead.

Risk #2: Algorithm Penalties

This is the main risk site owners worry about whenever they do link outreach.

There’s always a chance that some current or future update to Google’s algorithm will result in your site losing its rankings as a result of your link building efforts.

Risk #3: Manual Action Penalties

If you’ve been particularly egregious in your link building efforts, your site might even get hit with a manual action penalty.

Whilst we’ve personally never experienced a manual action on any of our websites, we have known others who have received manual actions that completely tanked their website’s rankings.

Risk #4: Poorly-Written Articles Associated with Your Site

Occasionally, you may receive the opportunity to provide the content yourself, although the site owner or the link builder usually provides the content themselves.

Unfortunately, the quality of the content varies wildly. With the emergence of machine learning in the industry, articles generated by ChatGPT are often used. Now, whilst you can argue that this is a step up from articles written in bulk English, the prompts that some outreach link builders use are not well thought out. What we’re trying to say is that the articles will either sound like they were written by ChatGPT, or they won’t be related to the topic of your site at all.

Risk #5: Scams

There’s always a risk of not getting what you ordered when you purchase links, but we’re referring to another kind of scam that pertains specifically to outreach link building.

This is more of an issue if you pay a link building to do outreach for you. In many of the outreach link building scam cases that we’ve reviewed, we learnt that some purported outreach link builders were actually building links on so-called private blog networks (PBNs).