Are You Falling Victim To Bad Backlinks?

Conventional wisdom throughout the early 2000’s pushed SEO experts to build backlinks for their clients, no matter the page authority, no matter the page rank and no matter the anchor text. In recent months people have seen rankings drop on their site because of bad backlinks.

Over the last two years it’s been a much different game in terms of creating positive backlinks and getting rid of bad backlinks. With Google unveiling 500-600 updates to their algorithm yearly, to fight spam and bad SEO tactics, it’s important you take the proper steps moving forward with your link building strategy.

So how do you find out what links are harming your site?

I would recommend using a program like Traffic Travis which has a very useful free component. This will crawl and get your backlinks, while at the same time dissecting their prowess on the net. Also, if you are paying for any link directories, stop it immediately.

You’ve the got the list, but now what?

Here you have a couple options, but this should be your standard operating procedure:

(i) Figure out which links are hurting you and which are helping you. Matt Cutts from Google’s spam team has spoken at length about getting relevant and natural links. If you’re a travel company in New York and you have a pile of links on plumbing sites in Florida this should be a definite sign of spam to Google. And if Google hasn’t recognized it as spam yet, they will soon so get it taken down.

(ii) Contact all of the webmasters on which your bad links appear. Thank them for linking to you for so long but that you’d like your site taken off their site for SEO reasons. They should understand.

(iii) Google has a disavow tool in Webmaster Tools which allows you to signal Google on which links you don’t want to count towards ranking your site. This should be a last option as Google wants you to exhaust all other avenues before dumping a bunch of domains into this tool.

What steps should you take now?

Stop trying to trick Google. This has plagued SEO companies reputations over recent years. Part of picking an SEO company is picking one who anticipates Google’s next move, instead of trying to beat the current algorithm. The truth is you can’t “beat” Google, instead you should be working with Google to give your users the best possible experience on your site, combined with relevant information.

So, when it comes to your link-building (off-site SEO) think in terms of building strong relationships with industry related companies. If you are a painting company, then ask to do a guest post on a local furniture site’s blog.

Also make sure your links have the appropriate anchor texts. Google is placing a higher importance on company branding over keywords, so start allocating your anchor text appropriately.