Your Backlinks Suck – Now What Should You Do?
Like many websites, your particular site may have been around for a while at this point. Over the months and years, search engines have altered the criteria by which good and bad sites are measured, so it is perfectly normal to have to make adjustments every now and then. What happens, however, when you discover that your backlinks are either utilizing outdated methods or just plain bad? The realization is the first step in correcting the problem, but it takes more than observance. We have outlined some of the best actions to take when discovering bad or non-functional backlinks on your site.
Identify The Good Backlinks
Using a tool such as Pingler’s Authority Link Checker, you can identify the strongest contenders (government domains, DMOZ and other directories) to see which backlinks have the most clout. Having backlinks on highly-established websites never hurts; while it may not be driving tons of traffic your way, chances are that the boost in PageRank they provide will still make it valuable. Seeing as how it is much harder to obtain backlinks on authority sites, this type of backlink always carries more weight.
Removing Bad Backlinks
Chances are that the vast majority of backlinks to your site have been posted by yourself or a member of your site’s team. This makes it much easier to eliminate trouble backlinks from other websites’ comment forms and forums. How do we know if a backlink is bad? Predominantly, you will have to judge a book by its cover in these circumstances. Having backlinks on gambling, pornographic or otherwise illicit sites is a big no-no for search ranking, along with posting your links on free-for-all link directories. Generally speaking: the easier the backlink is to obtain, the less value it has (with it sometimes having a negative overall value on your site’s performance).
Remove Others’ Potentially Hazardous Backlinks
Depending on the setup of your particular site, you may have backlinks all over it – for other websites. When users comment on blog posts, they may leave a link back to their site in the process. If the site is measured as being hazardous, illicit or shady by the search engines in any way, you should also be “dinged” for linking to it. Always be sure to monitor comment sections (require admin approval before posts display) and to disable comments whenever possible; it is most likely unnecessary to allow people to comment on every single aspect of the website.
Use Google As An Option
In many cases, bad backlinks can be removed by the webmasters of other sites via request. Sometimes, however, webmasters will not oblige you – whether that be the removal of the link or the addition of no-follow tags to it. If this is the case, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google that details all the steps you have attempted to take to bring your backlinks into compliance. Be sure to provide copies of any emails or contact you have had with the webmasters in question. Only well-documented cases will be reviewed in this instance, so be prepared to be transparent and upfront about everything.