You may have been in business for many years and hired several SEO services along the way to build a link profile for you. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to do a link cleanup. Multiple changes were made this year to search engine algorithms, and chances are, you may be on the naughty list if you have been buying links. This guide will help you clean up your links like a pro.
1. Houston, We Have a Problem
If you aren’t sure about some of your links or if you have already received an error like “Unnatural inbound links” from Google, you probably have some issues with your link profile that are holding your site back. There’s still time to save your site from falling in search.
2. Start with Backlink Reports
There are various tools that offer backlink reports such as Google Webmaster Tools, OpenSiteExplorer or Majestic. These tools will give you a report of your backlinks, and you can start working your way through which ones are bad and which ones are good.
3. Develop on Overview of Links
Once you have a backlink report, you can sort the links into categories. Some marketers choose categories like date, region, anchor text or page authority. Link Detox also will sort links for you and even perform a risk evaluation to show you what links are suspicious. Another tool called LinkRisk allows you to do the same.
4. It’s Time to Call Sherlock Holmes
You can play detective once you have your links in order. You should begin by asking yourself some questions about each of the suspicious or high risk links that you’ve found:
- Does the URL contain the words “SEO,” “top 500,” “backlinks,” “exchange” or “link?”
- Do any of these links share a strangely similar anchor text?
- Are the links from the same kind of website such as link hubs or PR hubs? Directories? Advertising sites? Spam sites?
- How many links can be found on the same domain?
- Which links are relevant to your site and services?
- How natural do the links seem to you? Could they have been artificially generated?
5. Take Out the Link Trash
Once you have looked through your links and found the most suspicious culprits, you can start cleaning up and removing links from your profile. Remember, you should always ask yourself if the link provides any value to your site. You’ll have to contact the website owner of each site and ask the link to be removed. You can also ask them to attach a “nofollow” to the link if they won’t remove it. If neither of these options works, there is always the Google Disavow tool. You upload a plain text file with all of the links that you want to disavow from search. You can also include notes on how you have tried to contact the site owners before using the Google Disavow tool.
By cleaning up your link profile, you give yourself a better chance of ranking highly in Google and other search engines. It’s also a good idea if you want to gain trustworthy traffic and ensure that link profile is a valuable part of your marketing strategy.