In 2015, in order to stay ahead of the competition, it takes more than basic on-site optimization. With new penalties creeping up almost every month, it;s becoming more and more important to clean up your existing backlinks, to get rid of the bad eggs which could end up biting you in the back side further down the road.
We have all made the mistake of hiring a shady SEO company at some point in time, and without proper knowledge of SEO, it can be difficult knowing what makes a good link, and what makes a bad one. It’s not hard to find a bunch of horror stories of people who have hired an unprofessional SEO agency who promise first page rankings, only to have their website fired into the dark side of the search engines.
While ‘bad backlinks’ can and will work at first, it’s almost a guarantee that they will backfire at some point, and will spiral you further down the rankings than if you never built a link in the first place. Not only is this a waste of money, it’s also extremely difficult to recover from, as Google know that your website may not have the quality of content that is good enough to achieve real, quality backlinks.
Telling the difference between a good and a bad backlink is actually quite simple. It all comes down to the quality of the website in which your link is found on. Sometimes is blatantly obvious, and sometimes it takes a little bit more research, but in every case, the links will fall into a couple of categories.
These are generally pretty easy to spot. If the website has a bunch of useless articles that have no relevance to each other, and it’s apparent that they are only their to provide an anchor for a link, then it’s a sure sign that it’s been set up just to build links.
The majority of the time, these websites are built with Wordpress, and they will make use of a default theme such as TwentyEleven.
Spam Bots have been around since the start of the internet, and they don’t seem to be going anywhere soon. As a matter of fact, these spam bots are becoming more and more intelligent by the day, with the ability to leave completely customizable blog comments which seem to be genuine at face value. However, don’t be fooled by the real appearance of these links. They are simply spam links, and provide no value to your website whatsoever.
The general assumption is that the majority of ones backlinks will use the anchor text of the website name, or in some instances, the exact URL. If the majority of your links are coming from websites which use an exact keyword as the anchor text, then it’s a usually a sure fire way of telling you that these links are shady.
If Google see that the majority of your anchor texts are an exact keyword, you can bet your bottom dollar that they don’t take your website too seriously, and a complete de-index of your website from their search results is not uncommon.
Websites which are built for the sole purpose of providing a link, are usually full of automatically generated, and spun content. This is easy to spot, and should ring alarm bells instantly. Not only do these websites use spun content, they will also completely plagiarise another websites content, instead of writing a unique piece which provides value. If the shady SEO provider wants to look a little more legitimate, they will often create websites which are related to the industry your website is in, in order to give the impression of a natural link. Don’t be fooled!
These websites will be hit by Google eventually, no matter how real, or how related they are. The Google Panda update was released specifically to target low quality content, so it’s just a matter of time.
Real links will more than likely come from the country in which your business or website is based. Links from Russian or Dutch websites for a company website based in New York City just doesn’t fly.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what makes a link a bad one, you need to know how to get rid of them. Fake, unnatural backlinks will definitely hurt your rankings at some point, so getting rid of them early on is crucial. Here are a few methods for disabling, and getting rid of these fake backlinks:
All of these methods of removing bad backlinks will work eventually, but it is worth remembering that you WILL lose traffic because of this. The loss of links will more than likely affect your positioning on the search engines, ultimately leading to fewer visitors. Is it worth it? Of course it is. It’s a short term loss, but with some proper backlinks on real, quality websites, you can get your website back to full force in no time.
Sure, this isn’t an overnight fix, and there is a lot of work involved, but if you value your website, and you don’t want to give up without a fight, then unfortunately, there are no other options!