As I was cruising Facebook this morning, someone asked me to elaborate on a comment I’d made on a link directory’s sponsored post. I don’t want to point any fingers (not really, anyway), but people who attempt to take advantage of veterans without caring about the consequences really piss me off.

What is Doing to Vets?

Here’s my take on what this Veteran Owned Business Directory is doing. They’re getting thousands (tens of thousands) of veterans to sign up for inclusion in their spammy link directory. However, they’re selling advertising because business owners don’t know any better than to buy.
Veteran Owned Business Directory Selling Ads to Vets - Link Directories Are BAD for Your SEO

Screenshot taken on 09 MAR 2016 from

I replied to the guy who asked me for clarification on the original post:
Sure – Google’s Matt Cuts, the head of the “Webspam Team,” says that link directories are bad news.
Google evaluates websites, in part, based on the company they keep. So if reputable sites (such as those with a .edu or .gov extension) are linking to yours, Google feels that you have something its searchers want to see.
If link directories, which Google considers to be junk, are linking to you, the Googlebot (Google’s crawler) will believe your site is junk as well.
Remember that Google has one mission: to make searchers happy. If they deliver junk sites, people will switch search engines. If they deliver high-quality sites, more people will use them.
It may not be fair, but if you have links from link directories and none from reputable sources (other websites with high value and those with .gov or .edu extensions), the Googlebot will think that your website doesn’t have anything that searchers will find worthwhile.
Part of Google’s core algorithm is called Hummingbird. Hummingbird comes into your site, determines what it’s about using technology called LSI, or latent semantic indexing. That’s how they can tell what it’s about and whether it’s going to be relevant to searchers.
The other parts of Google’s core algorithm are Penguin and Panda, which devalue sites based on their backlink profiles. (A link coming into your site is called a backlink.) If you have backlinks from directories that Google considers spam, you will have a problem with Penguin and Panda.
They use more than 200 metrics to determine whether a site is worth delivering to searchers, but having links from link directories is bad news – it’s a negative against you right out of the gate.
If it’s tough to get listed in a directory, such as it is to get listed in DMOZ, then it may not be a spam directory. However, free link directories, such as this one, may be considered spam by Google.
Here’s further reading if you’re interested:

Should Veterans Put a Link on

The answer to whether veterans should put a link on is a resounding NO.

I am a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom 5 and Operation Iraqi Freedom 7-9.

If I wasn’t an SEO professional, I wouldn’t know any better… and I don’t expect any of the veterans listed on that directory to know better, either.

The fact is that there are companies that exist solely to prey on veterans. I’m not saying that this company didn’t have good intentions, but their service is anything but helpful.

If you’re a veteran (or anyone else, for that matter), steer clear of link directories unless you’re putting a link in DMOZ or another site that you’ve thoroughly researched. There’s no reason to take the chance on harming your site’s ranking — particularly when there are far better ways to rank in the search engine results pages, or SERPs.

By |2016-03-09T16:09:13+00:00March 9th, 2016|Blog, Link Directories, SEO|Comments Off on Selling Spam Links to Veterans (Don’t Fall for It)

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

About the Author:

Angie Papple Johnston is the author of the best-selling ASVAB For Dummies, Military Transition For Dummies, ACFT For Dummies, ASVAB AFQT For Dummies, and 1,001 ASVAB AFQT Practice Questions For Dummies. Angie was formally trained as a journalist by the U.S. Army, but she's now a copywriter, SEO expert, legal blogger and real estate blogger who writes engaging and informative B2B and B2C sales copy, website content, press releases and more. Angie works with some of the biggest names in retail, law and real estate to create world-class, compelling content. You can view Angie Papple Johnston's portfolio, find out how much it costs to hire a freelance writer or find a blog post package that works for your company. Need a quote? Contact Angie today. Connect with Angie on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.