Let’s Analyse Your Backlinks and Clean them Now!
One of the factors that can improve your website’s ranking in search engines is having a good number of inbound links from other websites, which are also known as backlinks. These are links that are directed towards your website. If your site contains a lot of quality backlinks, it will appear more trustworthy in the eyes of the search engines, and seen as a ‘popularity’ vote substantiating the position of your website within the search engine rankings.
Search spiders count the number of quality inbound links as part of its search engine algorithm, so it’s important to make sure that you are getting or receiving quality backlinks. Thus, you might want to consider reviewing your backlinks to remove low quality links as well as unnatural links – links considered ‘spammy’ by the search engines, artificially created and in an attempt to falsely represent the popularity of your website to others. This article outlines the process of reviewing and removing bad links that point back to your site.
First: Gather a Backlinks List
Start by adding your website to the Google Webmasters Tool (GWT), one of the best free tools you can use to gather a list of your site’s backlinks. It is an opening into understanding how Google sees your website. Once you have added your site, then you can proceed with reviewing your backlinks with the following steps:
On the Dash board, click Search Traffic
A drop down menu will appear, click Links to Your Site under Who links the most. Then click More.
After clicking More you will see the details and the number of domains that have links to your site, including an additional three tabs. You must click the tab for more sample links but you can also click the tab for latest links. They have the same list of backlinks; the only difference is that the latest links tab includes the dates.
Second: Link Evaluations / Backlinks Analysis
Once you click either more sample links or latest links tab, you will get the list of your backlinks within a few seconds. After gathering the list of your backlinks, you can now perform link evaluation/analysis.
Caveat: Please note that Google doesn’t provide 100% transparency and accuracy to the full range of inbound links that exist globally and link back to your site. In fact if you are performing a cleansing action for your site (disavow), you may find that once you have accomplished the initial clean, other links then appear available within GWT. Search Group when tasked with your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) activities, uses a collection of different tools on-top of GWT to provide a broader selection view of your website which ensures a higher degree of success and faster response to resolution.
How do you evaluate the links on your backlinks? Here are some guides for you:
You need to be patient, as manually checking each link will provide you with better results.
Let’s start the process:
Get the links one by one on your list of backlinks. Load them in the web browser or you may use www.urlopener.com (it is a bulk URL opener site) and check if the link is:
● Is there an error such as 404 (Not found) or 500 (server error)? If yes, you don’t remove the links yet. Instead add a note and go on to the next link.
● Does the page load properly without any errors? If yes, check the page again because there can be instances of hidden links that you’ll need to disavow.
If the page loads properly, ask the following:
● Identify where the link is coming from?
● Does it come from a directory site?
a.) First, identify how many links came from a specific directory site. Are they relevant to your site niche? Is your domain name found in the right category? If not, then you have to contact the webmaster for the removal of your link in that category. If the webmaster doesn’t comply with your request, disavow the link.
b.) Check if the specific page of the link has too many ads (Note that Google considers only 3 ads per page as a threshold). If you found too many ads, add to your disavow file.
c.) Search for your domain name. If you find nothing, you need to disavow the directory site link/s. If you found your domain name, check if the link is good and relevant.
● Is the link from a blog posting (Web 2.0) site? A lot of blog sites have a collection of spam links (on the comments) and by associating your website with them, Google will see these links as low quality backlinks.
a.) If the link is on the comment, disavow.
b.) Check if the blog is relevant to your niche. If not, you need to disavow that link. If you find it’s somehow related to you, still check the following:
▪ Check for bad neighbor links, a kind of link from other websites that are violating Google’s guidelines in linking. They have low quality content. If you find any, add to disavow
▪ Check the OBL (Out Bound Link) of that specific link. If it is more than 50, disavow.
● Does it come from article submission sites? Google’s Panda and Penguin updates are targeting articles that are submitted to different article sites, as most articles from these sources are not constructed naturally. If you find that your submission has appeared on your backlinks list, then you need to do the following:
a.) Remove your post on the site where you made a submission. You can do that if you saved your login details. If not, you can contact the webmaster of that site to remove your post.
b.) After taking out your post, you need to disavow the link of the article site because it is possible that it was affected by the update.
c.) If the link has a 404 error – contact the webmaster and ask for the removal of your post. You don’t want a link followed by a user to end in a 404 error.
d.) If there was no link pointing to your site from this submission – contact the webmaster to remove your post. This is to remove spammy content associated to your brand.
● There are some links that are not relevant but you can retain and these links are mostly “no follow”.
a.) The links from people finder sites are not relevant but they can’t be considered as spam.
b.) Make sure that backlinks from specific posts on social media channels are surrounded by suitable content. If this is not the case, disavow that specific link.
● If the link falls in one of these situations, disavow it:
a.) The links are hidden.
b.) The links are cloaking. It’s an SEO technique that can be considered as black hat, wherein the content of the website presented to the search spider is different what is presented to the users (human). You can use this cloaking checker to check your backlinks.
c.) The page of the link uses certain keywords heavily, it has a list of site’s PR or it says SEO, SEO friendly, or are just all about SEO purposes.
● If the link is site wide (footer links) – contact the webmaster and request for a rel=”nofollow” attribute. Better yet, change the anchor text (Client Industry + your Keyword).
Third: Disavowing Links
This will be the last process. You need to place the links and/or domains that you are going to eliminate on a text file and name it with an appropriate file name.
Example of Correct file content:
Save it as UTF-8 encoding type while limiting the file size to 2MB.
Then you have to go to the disavow tool page of your Google Webmaster Tool > choose your website > upload the text file that contains the links that you want to disavow.
Once you have successfully uploaded the file on the Google disavow tool, it will show the message posted on the image below.
You can edit the list of links you placed in your text file anytime, but you have to be careful with using the tool. It is possible to edit the file and restore links, but once you remove links that are actually contributing to your ranking, it may affect your rankings.
When is the best time to do the link audit?
Backlinks are certainly one of the key factors that affect site ranking in search engines. When is the best time to do this audit? It is recommended to perform this audit at least two to three times a year. Make sure that you only remove links that are actually harmful to your site! If you would like further information or direct assistance with performing a link audit of your website, get started today by contacting Search Group.