Getting rid of the liability of unwanted backlinks
Back in the earlier days of Search Engine Optimization and Link Building in particular, it used to be a very commonly shared notion that more backlinks meant better results as far as SEO was concerned. And for a time, it was so … to the point where one could buy dime-a-dozen links which were not particularly related to the site’s niche, but would do the trick. Then came the Google Penguin update or Google also can take manual spam action shattering the illusionary success of many. With it , came the necessity to do backlink removal.
What’s the point ?
Although backlink removal cannot assure instant and marvelous results, it’s at least a decent form of damage control for after your website has been penalized.
And if for some reason , your site wasn’t penalized you can assure that fact stays that way by removing backlinks of doubtable origins and quality. This will make sure penalization is not an option anymore , and you’ll continue your SEO efforts.
What do I need?
Quite obviously , the first thing you’d need in such a case would be a list of your backlinks. That may prove problematic, since there are both free and paid solutions for you to avail from. The Yahoo backlink explorer is a good and free solution for those of you on a budget, but it might not be as accurate as one would hope for.
Seomoz and Majestic SEO offer their separate options which might prove useful, but that’s not really the whole problem – different tools would yield different output, and they have different indexing so keeping track of all your backlinks may not be as easy as you’d think. So if you’ve hired a company to procure those links for you, maybe you can ask them for a list.
The actual removal process
Here’s where things get extremely tedious and difficult. Imagine having 10 000 links … and having to remove each and every one of the manually. That sounds like a nightmare, simply put. But what can you do to make the process easier.
First off, find a way to filter the really low quality backlinks from the rest, and only remove them first. Go from low quality to higher quality, leaving only the best backlinks at the end. It’s important that they come from sites in the same niche as yours. Also , you’d do best to order them by Page Rank or Domain Authority, since these are all good metrics.
Now for the actual removal … let’s break out the hard truth, there is no simple way to do it, and in most cases – no automatic way either. You’d have to contact and request the removal of links manually from each and every site.
Finding the contact information
Naturally , in order to contact the people responsible for the backlinks , you’d need some contact information.
First off, if someone else has acquired your backlinks for you, find them and ask for a report on which the sites are and how you can contact them. This will save you heaps of time, if the company responsible has kept good record of where your links came from. You can also try asking them to do the removal for you, but that has rarely worked for most people.
Other than that , you can use your backlink explorer in order to find the sites, and then look manually. In most cases, just look for “Contact Us” somewhere around the site, or something that says a similar thing. If you still can’t find any logical contact information, you can do a domain whois on the site, and it will yield the e-mail of the administrator in nearly 70% of the cases.
The removal and removal requests
A good practice adopted by many is to make a removal request letter, in which you politely ask for the removal of the said links. In that letter, make sure to include the particular links that need to be removed, as well as where they are and what the anchor text is. This will make it easier for the administrator to remove them.
Keep good track of what you have removed and what you haven’t , a spreadsheet will do just fine for that task. Maybe you can even color code it to improve the visibility of the removed, pending to be removed, and not removed links.
It’s going to be difficult , but manageable, so stick with it , and good luck with your SEO damage control endeavors!