How to Fix My Online: Why Can’t I Click on Good Links?
One of the first questions I usually get on how to repair a damaged reputation is why can’t I just click on the good links? Or, why can’t I hire people in [India/Brooklyn/wherever] to click for me?
This question might seem logical—after all, the more you click on on a positive blog post, article, website, the more it rises to the top of Google searches, right (and thus, push down something negative)?
Well, not really. In really, it doesn’t work quite that way. Here’s four reasons why.
1. Clicking Is Not the Only Thing
It is true that one of the ways Google determines where to rank a page in search results is by how many clicks it receives.
But that is just one of about fifty or more indicators. There are many other factors that go into Google’s search algorithm, such as the perceived strength of the link–is it from the New York Times or a personal WordPress site, for example–is it unique content, does the page load quickly, is it in line with your industry, how many links point back to the article, and many, many more.
2. Google Knows
It’s tempting to sit at your desk while reading a book or eating a sandwich and hit the return button every minute on your own website to drive up the ranking to build a positive online reputation.
However, after the first few clicks, Google will interpret these as trying to “game the system”, and essentially ignores them.
While it still may count as a “click,” it will not improve where the page appears in search results and reputation damage remains intact. The same hold true when hiring a firm in another country. Warning: this is considered “black hat,” and never do anything like this.
But second, just as important, it won’t work–Google detects this type of activity and neutralizes it.
3. Having Others Click Doesn’t Work
Another temptation when repairing or building an online reputation is to enlist others such as friends or colleagues to click on positive links. This might seem like a creative DIY alternative. Again, in concept, this seems reasonable, but search engines know where clicks come from from via your computer’s IP address, and will not count the majority of them.
Also, it’s not really a sustainable response to a very serious issue.
4. VPNs Is Not the Answer
For those advanced users, one solution might appear to use a Virtual Private Networks. VPN allows users to browse through shared or public networks as if their devices were directly connected to a network in another place. In other words, it could appear that you are clicking on a website in another part of the US, France, the UK, India, or elsewhere. However, Google too has a way of detecting this, making it ineffective.
So while it may be tempting to click on links, it’s just spinning your wheels, costing valuable time. Remember: the more a damaged online reputation is visible, the more likely it will get worse.