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Beat Bad Backlinks and Build Them Better!

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Posted on 03/21/2018 at 11:32 AM

In the world of SEO, backlinks have always been a key aspect of building and maintaining a website’s credibility. Essentially, backlinks are links to your website from other websites. The importance of backlinks has fallen in and out of priority over the years as changes to Google’s search algorithm has redirected the focus from the number of backlinks to the quality of the backlinks. Understanding how backlinks work and how Google treats various qualities of backlinks should guide you in your quest to develop and grow a quality website.

Some History on Backlinks

Backlinks may seem more complex or difficult than they actually are. The concept itself is pretty simple: get quality backlinks, and build your website’s credibility! However, the most difficult part of building backlinks is making sure that they come from relevant and credible sources.

Back in the early days of the internet and search engines, a high number of backlinks was all a website needed to rank on page one of Google. However, as more black-hat link-building methods became prevalent, search engines sought to punish those that were abusing the system with harsher judgment on low-quality backlinks. This means that search engines give preference to backlinks that connect websites with similar subject matters and with equal or better credibility, whereas they punish those with links sourced from spammy link farms (a.k.a. black-hat backlinks).

What are black-hat backlinks?

There are many groups touting that their link building services are quick and easy. Our SEO team sees the effects of these kinds of groups on a frequent basis. Essentially, they offer to spam the internet with links to your website. These groups promise a boost in your website performance, but while this may work temporarily, it won’t take long for Google and other search engines to recognize the low quality and irrelevancy of the backlinks. This results in search engines punishing your website and, in turn, lowering your place in search engine results.

How do I check for and remove bad backlinks?

Find out who is linking to you:

Many tools, including Moz’s Open Site Explorer and tools in Google Search Console, allow you to see links from across the web that point to your website.

Access the quality of backlinks:

With the help of the aforementioned tools, you can review the links and verify that their intention in linking is noble. Moz, in particular, provides a spam score metric which can be used to gauge the likelihood that the backlink is spammy.

You can also tell a lot from the link source itself, for instance, if you have a lot of links from a website that is “selling” designer handbags for cheap, and your website is for a non-profit organization, then that’s a pretty clear sign that they are not linking to you because they find your content relevant. They are linking to you because they’ll link to anyone in an effort to grow their number of links.

Getting rid of bad backlinks:

If you discover links that seem malicious, you have a couple of options to remedy the issue.

  • Request that the owner of the website that is linking to yours remove the link

While this is a good first step, there is a potential to be ignored, or worse, the webmaster will require some form of payment to remove the link. Never pay these webmasters! It’s unlikely to work and you would be putting your payment information at risk by doing so. There are far better ways of dealing with this conundrum.

  • Utilize the disavow process outlined by Google:

Disavowing a backlink tells Google to not take into account this link when assessing your website. Google warns that the Disavow Tool, “…is an advanced feature and should only be used with caution.” They go on to say, “If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results.” So, tread lightly; if you are unsure if a backlink is bad or if you are wary of using Google’s Disavow Tool, be sure to contact your Internet Marketing Specialist.

  • Remove the linked-to page:

In some cases, you may have the option of removing the linked-to page. Of course, if this is a high priority page to your users, you’ll want to have a strategy for recreating it swiftly.

  • Move your website to a new domain:

In drastic cases, moving to a new domain entirely can be the best solution, however, this should only be considered if all other measures have been exhausted. If you are looking to purchase a used domain, conduct a domain background check on it first to ensure that it has never been associated with bad backlinks.

How do I get high-quality backlinks?

There are many ways to get high-quality backlinks through the process known as link building. Some link building methods are more passive than others. Creating and posting great content on your website is a great start. If a person shares your content, you have successfully acquired a backlink by only creating content! More active methods of link building include soliciting other content creators to share your work. This typically requires a share-back, but in cases where your content is high quality, a simple explanation of the mutual benefit to be gained is all it takes.

The concept of backlinks can be confusing and even a little frustrating, but if done right and monitored frequently, backlinks have the potential to grow your website traffic and brand reach. If you are interested in learning more about backlinks or other marketing services offered by Global Reach, please contact our Internet Marketing team!

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