I read many SEO articles and I am frustrated because there certainly is a sort of "private club" of people writing what I call soft nice SEO (fluff) articles that do not do anything to help you and may even harm your SEO results.
To be specific, today SearchEngineLand has an article that gives very poor SEO advice in my opinion.
There are big egos with some of these supposed SEO experts. They think they are so smart, yet they often lack real experience.
Back to this useless article from SearchEngineLand.
Why would someone listen to a company that does not even perform link building as one of their services?
Bruce Clay does not do Link Building.
They built a tool to tell you if other incompetent people are making the same mistake you are about to make.
What use is that?
80%+ of webmasters do not know a good backlink from a bad backlink. They do not know how to tell if a page with a link on it is penalized or if their own website is even penalized.
I do not want to do too much bashing of this SEO article, except to say it is not true that there are all these "grey areas" of if a backlink is helping you or not.
Generally it is very clear, the url of the page with your link on it is taken out of the cache by Google, if it is in the Google cache, generally (90%) of the time if it is in the Google cache it is a valid backlink.
Google only sets up traps to catch link buyers and sellers in rare cases, just like the USA IRS (taxes) do not audit every single person. E.g. Google would only leave a url (webpage) they did not like in the Google cache if they were setting a trap. For example lets say Google wanted to add to their already existing database of "suspected known link buyers and sellers". Yes Google has had this for a very long time (2008) and I imagine it is quite a large database today. I am 100% certain of this fact, however I clearly can not say how I know... LOL .
In order to provide the accurate SEO history, Rand Fishkin back in 2008 wrote the most popular SEO article for 2008/2009 that explains in detail what Google would be penalizing for years in the future. It took Google a lot longer than I thought it would to penalizes these SEO and link building methods, yet Google eventually penalized these backlinks and sites using them.
Furthermore if you have many years of real experience working on these kinds of SEO problems, you know what type of backlinks Google is targeting for penalties and what types of backlinks Google likes. If you obtain a backlink that Google values highly, it will within a few weeks to a few months give you a significant increase in your search engine rankings. Why the range of time required? Because Google is on their schedule and not on our schedule and if Google is doing some major database update they may not make any search engine results updates for a few months. If you think about this, it also works to Google's advantage to keep people confused.
I wrote an article that may help you if your site is penalized by Google and the steps to take.
However it is paramount for people to understand that once Google penalizes a site, it is generally better to create a second site and keep your old site without putting any effort into it and focus all new efforts on your new second site. You need to remember that Google has already devalued your backlinks and does not trust you, which is why they penalized you in the first place. There are best practices and several secrets I have for this, however I cannot give away all my SEO secrets.
Then people hire a company to disavow links and have Google say the penalty is taken off, when in fact it is not taken off as your rankings are still terrible. Often after Google says the penalty is removed (it really is not removed) ignorant people start up with the low quality crappy link building again and Google really lets them have it.
I do not blame Google in these cases, as these stupid business owners and webmasters deserve to have Google shoot and kill them on the Internet.
I just wish more people that claim to be SEO experts would focus on scientific data, facts and common sense before they write an incorrect useless SEO article that may actually harm people if they follow this faulty advice given in the SearchEngineLand article I reference above.
In fairness SearchEngineLand does have many correct and useful SEO articles and please note I do have positive comments to make about SearchEngineLand in many of the articles I write.