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Friday, 15 February 2013

Unnatural Links: How Do You Know Which Links To Remove?

Since the dreaded Panda and Penguin updates, Google has flipped the SEO world on its head. Long gone are the days of directory submissions, paid links and spammy anchor text - the so called ‘black hat' tactics. It's now all about relevant content, serving the user, social search and growing links naturally.

Subsequently, websites have been getting a dressing down from Google left right and centre. The search engine giant dropped websites completely out of the SERPs overnight and sent the unnatural link bombshell out via webmaster tools. No one really knew what to do in the early days, but this prompted pretty much every SEO Agency to look at their site's banklink profile, to try to find a way to rectify the problem and get rid of ‘bad' links as quickly as possible.

Quite a few websites that didn't purchase any links were still receiving the unnatural link warning through Google Webmaster Tools. Since the warning doesn't specifically tell you which links are bad, how do you know which ones to get rid of? You don't want to go through and delete them all because what if you have powerful links coming to your site? Getting rid of those could affect your rankings and traffic even more. Google is trying to become more transparent in stating it likes a particular site, but that there are some individual unnatural links that need to be dealt with. Nevertheless, specific examples are still not cited, which would be the easiest way for webmasters delete specific spammy looking links and resolve their site's problem.

Google did roll out a feature that allows you to sort links by recent discovery, so you can get the date of when Google discovered the unnatural link. The search engine is also in the process of rolling out an approach where it gives webmasters examples of links when they find them. This will be extremely useful and will make SEO professionals' lives a lot easier when trawling through backlink profiles and removing unnatural links. The examples will at last give people an in-depth idea of what Google sees as ‘unnatural', by including an explanation of what the problem with the links is. For example, if there is irrelevant, low quality links coming to your site Google will state this and highlight for removal. The aim is for webmasters to be able to distinguish other links that need to be removed once Google has given an initial example.

It appears Google is focusing on transparency, as much as it feels it is able, when it comes to telling webmasters about unnatural links. Once the examples are rolled out, professionals in the search sphere will have a much clearer idea of what exact links to focus on removing

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