If you’re going into 2016 with bad backlinks pointing to your site, there may still be time to take care of this pesky problem.
Since the release of the first Penguin update, removing bad backlinks has been a common topic among web masters, but here’s a quick guide on how to handle ‘Bad’ Backlinks pointing to your site.
We all know the importance of building relevant, high-quality backlinks. Ever since the dawn of Google, search engines have used backlinks to determine where websites should rank. If a particular website has a significant number of backlinks from automotive-related websites – and many of those links use automotive-related anchor text – then it’s more likely to rank high in the search results for automotive keywords. But what if you encounter a low-quality backlink in your website’s portfolio?
Identifying Bad Backlinks
You first need to distinguish between a good backlink and a bad backlink. Backlinks created on pages with spam, adult material, automated content, or other “questionable” material are generally considered bad. When conducting an audit of your site’s backlinks, check the pages on which the links are posted. Now, go through and separate these links into two groups: one group for the relevant, high-quality links, and another group for the bad links.
There are plenty of online tools to help you identify bad back links. LinkResearchTools is probably the most referenced, but there are several less costly and equally effective services such as: Linquidator.com
Attempt Manual Removal
After separating your backlinks into two groups, contact the websites on which the bad links are posted and ask the webmaster to remove them. Not every website will heed this request, but that’s perfectly fine. As long as you make an honest effort to remove them, you can move through the steps to clean up your site’s backlink portfolio.
Google’s Disavow Tool
The next step involves using Google’s disavow tool. The Mountain View company released this tool a few years back so webmasters could tell Google which backlinks it should ignore. Take your remaining bad links (the ones you couldn’t remove manually) and upload them to the disavow tool.
Note: always disavow at the domain level rather than the direct page url ie:
Google’s Matt Cutts said that if the links are on sites you don’t want to be associated with whatsoever, to go and disavow the site from the domain level (e.g., example.com) rather than that the exact page the link appears on (e.g., example.com/directory/directory/spamlinkpage.html)
Keep in mind that you won’t see any changes immediately. It may take weeks or even months before Google updates its algorithm to reflect your disavowed links. Once updated, however, the links will no longer pose a threat to your site’s search rankings.
Of course, the best way to handle bad backlinks is to avoid creating them in the first place. You should never use automated software or programs to create links. Furthermore, you should never purchase backlinks, no matter how tempting an offer sounds. Focus on creating high-quality content that other users actually want to read and you’ll notice more links pointing to your site.