The reason for this Post are some mails from my readers about the SEO Smart Links plugin. Some Bloggers who blog about creating and maintaining Blogs are recommending the SEO Smart Links plugin. The very basic idea of this Plugin is to automate the process of interlinking your articles, especially the older ones which have gone down the heap and improve overall SEO while doing so. The idea is to keep the reader engaged to get more page-views and reduce bounce rate.
But I would advise not to use SEO Smart Links as it is a lot annoying to see links highlighted allover the article distracting the reader from the actual content the reader has visited your Blog/Website. It does more harm than good and may land you a penalty in your search engine rankings.
Though the plugins naming conveys that its a SEO plugin, it harms your SEO by linking keywords to articles/pages on your Blog/Website. To make it worst the plugin in its free version does not have an option to the number of keywords to link on a page and this creates the unintentional storm.
Here is an excerpt from Marketers BrainTrust by Dan Theis explaining how this plugin can harm your search rankings.
Every month or so, we get a question from a student about whether we can recommend using the “SEO Smart Links” plugin for WordPress. The answer is always no, because the way it works inevitably creates a terrible user experience. Well, now we’ve got evidence that it can do far worse than that.
After reviewing the evidence, I am convinced that using SEO Smart Links can get you penalized by Google. This does not mean that using this plugin will instantly cause a penalty, but the way we see most people using it is extremely risky.
What is SEO Smart Links? Well, this plugin’s intended purpose is to improve ranking, by automatically linking every occurence of a keyword or phrase within your WordPress site, to a target URL that you’re hoping to get ranked.
There are undoubtedly some “smart” ways to use this plugin. I can think of several – like automatically linking a call to action (“click here to sign up”). However, right-out-of-the-box, it is one heck of a dangerous tool. Out of the box, in the free version, it doesn’t even limit the number of links it creates on a page.
Imagine what it would look like if every occurrence of “SEO” in this post were linked to our home page, or to some doorway page. To make it easy for you, I linked a bunch of SEOs (to href=”#”) already. Now imagine if we also wanted to rank some different pages for keywords that included words like [Wordpress], [plugin], [penalized], [user experience], [keyword], [ranking], [google], etc. etc. Half of the sentences in this post might contain links!
Imagine if we actually thought that would be a good idea.
If we did, we’d install this plugin, keyword-stuff all of our posts to get more links in, and add as many keywords as possible to the plugin’s list…
Which would make our posts harder to read, and much less useful. It would, in short, reduce the quality of our web site. It might even cause us to violate Google’s “quality guidelines” for web sites.
As happened to a friend of a friend, whose rankings went deep into the well of despair shortly after installing and beginning to use SEO Smart Links. Since there hadn’t been any other changes to the site, he took a flyer on a reconsideration request and discovered that yes, indeed, there had been a penalty:
When it comes to SEO and your Blog, never implement recommendations on a fly. If the recommendation is coming from Authority’s like Moz you can be assured that a lot of testing has gone through. If its from any non-authority source or whatever the Plugin/theme developers are claiming, then run a thorough check with a Google search for problems. You can also do a background check of the developers other products to get down to a conclusion.
If you wish to know what plugins I use or recommend, Check out The Successful Bloggers Secret Plugins
I would also recommend using the least amount of plugin as possible. As page loading speed is a big criteria in search ranking and plugins do slow down your page loading speeds. Try to minimize the use of plugins – Yes I know its time consuming to do some of the things manually, but If you are doing it – Do it Right.
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