In the world of the SEO, an efficient link building strategy has always relied on getting as many quality references on the web as possible. As most of us have learned so far, the keyword here is “quality” and any attempt at search engine manipulation gets penalized, rather than appreciated.
Apparently, some so-called “SEO experts” still neglect the quality-over-quantity mantra when it comes to developing link building strategies, which is what leads Google and all the other major search engines to constantly sharpen their measures against such practices.
Now, even if you are aware of the importance of quality, there exists a possibility that your website gets some unwanted backlinks. This is usually, though not exclusively, the case with companies that hire random SEO agencies to help them build their online reputation. These agencies typically offer unnaturally short period for your website to get listed in Google’s search and promise thousands of backlinks that would eventually get your website loved by the engines. Another possibility is that your competitor has started a negative SEO campaign against your website, which can result in dozens or even thousands of bad backlinks pointed to your website.
What are bad backlinks?
The first step in fighting bad backlinks is understanding what they are. Therefore, for those who are not that well-acquainted with the latest SEO trends, it might be helpful to outline how bad backlinksare usually built. According to Google, a bad link is virtually any link that is obtained through link schemes, which include the following:
- Any form of buying or selling links
- Excessive cross-linking
- Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns
- Automated links
How can bad backlinks be removed?
Now, removing all the bad links pointing to your website may be an exhaustive task, depending on the efforts your SEOer invested in building them. In addition, there seems to be no easy way to properly do this, although there is a couple of things you could try:
1. Disavow backlinks
One thing that Google recommends for removing bad backlinks is to use the Disavow links tool, which basically tells Google what links it should not take into account when accessing your website. However, the problem here is that you must be very careful about this feature because it can potentially harm your website if used incorrectly.
2. Delink from unwanted websites
This is another suggested way to deal with bad backlinks and it basically refers to asking individual websites to either delete your link or add rel= “no-follow” attribute to it. Clearly, many websites may not respond to your request, so in such cases, it may be a good option to submit a disavow request.
3. Start a new website
As suggested by certain webmasters, this technique may only be a viable solution if a website in question is either brand new or if not too much work was invested in it. This may sound as the worst possible option but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad solution because any effort to save your website’s online reputation is better than no effort, and we all know how much this matters.
The problems with removing harmful backlinks only speak about the importance of having an excellent SEO strategy for your website. With respect to the recent announcements from Google about enhanced measures against bad link building practices, it gets increasingly difficult to achieve and preserve good online reputation, but this is an investment every serious company should make.