In a post Google Penguin and Panda internet, poor quality SEO companies now seek to clean up their spammy ways. Unnatural link profiles and low quality, keyword-stuffed text gets you in trouble around these parts. Solving the onsite over-optimization issue isn’t so bad, but what do you do about all those bad links? Learn the dos and don’ts of disavowing links.
Right, so you’ve just been hit by the latest Google Update, and you decide it’s cleanup time. First, you review your own website, going page by page, cutting back on excessive keywords and anchor text links. While, you’re at it, from a content marketing perspective, you might also want to add a little more substance to your web copy. Pick a page on your site, take a look at its title, and think for a bit on what sort of content a user might desire to receive when searching for related content. Add a few paragraphs of detailed information, links to resources, and maybe add an image or video that you think nicely complements the subject. Before you know it, you’ve got some quality content on your website. This entitles you to one free hug from Matt Cutts.
Out with the Old Offsite SEO
So, that takes care of the onsite cleanup. Now it’s time to look at those offsite backlinks. The reality is that most webmasters have either built backlinks or have paid an SEO company to build backlinks for them. In the past, this wasn’t an issue. In fact, it really helped you rank well in Google. But now everyone knows that manipulative, low quality exact match anchor text backlinks can completely sink your sales, traffic and rankings whenever Google updates their dreaded Penguin algorithm. These bad links have to go!
Thankfully, in October 2012, Google released their Disavow Links tool to help Webmasters Recover from manual spam actions or get rid of spammy links that are hurting their websites. It’s fairly easy to use, but the ramifications behind the Disavow Links tool are enormous, so use it at your own risk. That being said, Google’s Matt Cutts did state the following back in June, 2013:
So there’s your incentive for disavowing links. And here’s how you get started: If you are a verified owner of your website through Google Webmaster Tools, you can then upload a text file to the Disavow Links tool, containing specific URLs and/or full domains that contain backlinks that you no longer wish to associate your site with.
If you want to disavow one or more URLs, simply add one per line on the document. If you want to disavow a full domain and all of the pages it contains in one fell swoop, do the following:
Google recommends that you first try removing these links prior to submitting them to the disavow tool. This is done by reaching out to the webmaster by email and politely requesting that they remove your link. Most webmasters may be unresponsive, but it might be worth the effort if you really feel that a particular links is hurting you.
HOWEVER, before you go about removing or disavowing any bad links, you have to be sure that you know what you’re doing. Google has said that recklessly disavowing links can actually harm you. Make sure you have someone with experience in link and Google penalty removal behind the wheel of your campaign, or you may hurt yourself even more.
You should also consider that removing/disavowing bad links and Google penalties most likely won’t result in an automatic boost in your rankings and traffic. After all, the very links that you just removed or disavowed were previously the very foundation of your rankings and traffic. What disavowing links can do for you is help you find a new beginning. It’s a chance to move forward with your domain no longer being held back by web spam and Google penalties.
Need help with your SEO Recovery? Want to get rid of those bad links that are holding your website back? Drop a comment below or contact us.