Clean Up Site Links
Thanks to new search algorithms, dead back links or bad back links won't go unpunished. What that means is that it's time for any site to clean up some of those links. Performing a site link audit is something that has to be done periodically in order to keep search engines like Google happy. Here's how to accomplish that task with some ease.
Clean Up Site Links: Calling All Links
The first thing that you have to do is find all of the links on your site. To do this…
- Log into your Google Webmaster Tools dashboard
- See if Google has notified you of any penalty links
No bad link notifications? Follow these steps to find bad links manually…
- Go back to your Google Webmaster Tools
- Look for the ‘Search Traffic' section
- Click on ‘Links to Your Site'
You want to look for any link that counts for more than 50% of your back links – Google doesn't like links that rate that highly. It's also a problem if all the back links on your site send people directly to your homepage. Both types of these back links are bad because these types of links tend to come from ads and other paid sites (and Google doesn't like that!).
Clean Up Site Links: Removing Links Manually
To remove links manually, you will have to go through all of the links that you found through your Google Webmaster dashboard. To do this, open up each link in a different window and make sure that all of those links are good.
If a link seems unnatural to you, get rid of it. How can you tell an unnatural link? Any link that exists simply to raise your page rank is considered unnatural. Google will reward sites with links that make sense (pertain to content), and punish you for links that simply try to boost traffic to your site. This tactic no longer works. What's considered an unnatural link?
Unnatural Link List According to Google:
- Buying or selling links that pass Page Rank. This includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a “free” product in exchange for them writing about it and including a link.
- Excessive link exchanges (“Link to me and I'll link to you”) or partner pages exclusively for the sake of cross-linking.
- Large-scale article marketing or guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links.
- Using automated programs or services to create links to your site.
In short, it's pretty hard to trick Google these days, so I suggest playing by the rules. Otherwise, your site will fall to the bottom of those rankings, and that's not a good thing.
Clean Up Site Links: How Often Should You Audit?
It's recommended that you search for bad links on your site two to three times per year. Back links that are penalizing your site can build up quickly, so it's best to be diligent about getting rid of those links. But, a word of caution: make sure that a link isn't bringing valuable traffic to your site before you get rid of it. Otherwise, you could be wiping some needed traffic from your site!
If you have questions about scanning a site for bad links, we have answers. Just ask!
Photo courtesy of steve greer via Flickr Creative Commons