In a recent webmaster hangout, John Mueller answered a question regarding building backlinks using contest. He recommends that you should not use contests to build backlinks.
John said that these links might not be cleaned. If you are doing it in exchange of something like money, etc, it’s against Google webmaster link guideline.
So, if you announce a contest and ask users to link back to your site, it’s against the Google webmaster link guidelines. Generally, people offer physical goods, money, gift vouchers for such backlinks.
Here is the complete response from John Mueller.
I think the situation where you’re doing kind of a contest is something to watch out for. So, mostly with regards to whether these are clean links or not. In the sense of are you perhaps exchanging something for these links like do you require a link to take part of the contest.
But if you get backlinks because you have an ongoing contest, and you are not asking for backlinks, then it is ok.
So, if we check Google Link Scheme Guideline, it says:
- Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
- Buying or selling links that pass PageRank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.
You can watch the complete video below.