Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post published by permission of its author.
When it comes to search engine rankings, SEO back links can make or break your website’s positioning in search results. A back link is nothing more than any link to your site that comes from another site. In the SEO world, a link from an article or website that’s related to your site’s topic is more powerful than a directory listing or a link that comes from a page loaded with advertising.
It used to be that website owners tried to obtain as many back links as possible without having to worry about the quality of the links. However, with on-going improvements and changes made to Google’s algorithm which aims to provide web searchers with high quality results, the quality of back links is just as important today as the number of links you have pointing to your site. If you’ve found that your website is not ranking well, it’s time to take a close look at your back links to make sure they are all of good quality.
If you have low quality, spammy back links pointing to your website, it’s not only bad from a ranking point of view, but it’s also detrimental to the credibility of your business.
Here are a few steps you can take which can go far in helping you avoid being penalized by Google and the other search engines due to your site being determined as having a spammy back link profile.
Use Google Webmaster Tools
To find what your link profile actually looks like, use Google Webmaster Tools. If you have not yet done so, set up a free account, add your website and then verify it. Then go to Search Tools> Links to Your Site> More. Then under “Who Links Most”, click on “Download Latest Links”. This will provide you with a spreadsheet view of your most recent inbound links.
You’ll have to manually go through this list carefully so you don’t end up removing valuable links that are beneficial. Links to watch for include non-niche directories that have no defined focus or criteria, links coming from sites that are completely unrelated to your site, blog comments that include spammy link text and low quality or spun article links.
When you’ve identified a bad back link, you can politely contact the webmaster of that site and ask to have the link removed. While many webmasters will respond to your request, some may not. Often times, persistence pays off so if you don’t hear back from a webmaster in a few days, ask again.
Try a Google Disavow File
The Google Disavow links tool allows you to ask Google not to take certain links into consideration when assessing your website. When you tell Google which links you don’t want it to consider, it won’t put any value on those links. To use this tool, simply create a text file that consists of one link per line you wish to disavow. Then simply go to the Google Disavow links page, select your domain from the drop down menu and then click on “Disavow links”. You’ll then be directed to upload and submit the text file you created.
Best Option is To Build Quality, Trustworthy Links
To avoid getting more bad back links pointing to your site, get into the practice of regularly building good links that Google will trust. You can do this a number of ways including guest blogging, getting your site listed in local directories such as Google, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Foursquare and Angie’s List. You also should do things such as writing and distributing press releases about new products, services or news-worthy info people will find interesting about your business. Don’t give up on creating a strong backlink profile, because it will pay off in the long run!
As an Account Executive at Wpromote, Megan is responsible for assisting clients with their search engine marketing needs. While helping clients become recognized in search engines is an integral part of her job, she is also a regular contributor to the blog. In her spare time, Megan enjoys Dodger games and trying out new recipes like chocolate chip cookie dough truffles! Learn more about Wpromote at TeleVox.Wpromote.com