describes links with the intent to increase PageRank i.e. improve Google
There are two cases:
Manipulative links become Manipulative links can be a risk for your rankings. toxic links - and hurt your rankings, if they are discovered by Google.
If manipulative links are not discovered by Google, then those are the links that drive the SEO economy and link building ever since. Manipulative links can be a reward for your rankings.
Links are created either as
unsolicited links or natural links, or
solicited links or
unnatural links - according to Google, which are essentially manipulative links - if they do not have a NoFollow tag
The reason they were created doesn’t (yet) decide if links are dangerous (“toxic”) or not for your
Only when Google decides that a link is “unnatural”, and Google must be very sure for that, then this
manipulative link gets a higher risk for causing a penalty.
The degree to which we think it will cause problems for your
rankings is measured in Link Detox Risk ® in LRT.
Just because a link is deemed riskier than others, doesn’t mean it’s a
toxic link, or even causes a penalty.
TL:DR Manipulative Links are links without NoFollow link tag, created by webmasters or consultants hired by the webmasters. They can be toxic or not.
In a more recent article Mary Haynes came up with a classification of links where
Manipulative Links were a separate category to Toxic Links.
This does not make sense, since
Manipulative Links only become risky if discovered/detected by Google - and that is not the case for many manipulative links.
Why? The industry of link building would cease to exist if Google could spot and penalize every manipulative link.
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