This blog is all about bad links- What are they? How to identify these bad links and how to implement action on them in order to lessen their negative impact on a website? In this blog different free tools of unnatural link detection and removal are described to help the webmasters eliminate bad links. In the end the not so highly recommended Disavow link tool has been highlighted as well as a last resort to deal with the issue.
h3>How To Remove Bad Links For Free & Get Out Of Google Penalty
Well conducted researches testify the fact that among a lot of reasons causing Google penalty, bad links in various forms holds a very big place. What are these bad links and what implications do they have on a website? Let’s start with the understanding of what bad or unnatural links mean? “An unnatural link is any link that is added to illegitimately manipulate the page rank or ranking of a website in the search engine’s result. Such links are considered as a breach to the Webmasters guidelines framed by Google and causes imposition of penalty by Google.”
How to identify these unnatural links before Google detects them? Try to export the all the data of your website with the help of the back link detector and try to locate the following kind of links:
- Links that have repetitive anchor text arising from a number of websites
- Links present on your website coming from other websites that have no relation with purpose of existence and niche of your website
- Links of other websites present on your website that are generating less traffic or have a low page ranking
- Links on your website from the article directories and websites resembling to link farms
- Links present on your website derived from link exchanges
- Links you have rented or paid for, they can be in the sponsored posts, sidebar etc.
- Links present on your website coming from sites that are black listed for malware warning
- Links present on your website coming from sites without indexation
- Spam Links arising out of comments in the blog posts of your website
This image reflects the kind of message Google sends after it detects presence of unnatural or bad links to your website
Launch of Google algorithm updates over the years has made Google the best search engine and largest visited website of the world. The emphasis of Penguin and hummingbird is hugely laid on checking the links and penalizing low quality ones which makes it imperative for webmasters to remove the bad ones immediately. Google is too smart to identify the natural links gained organically from the unnatural one arising out of link building tricks. The process of getting rid of bad links to get out of Google penalty involves the three step procedure- Identification, analysis and elimination of the unhealthy links.
Paying heed to organic perspective and the root causes for all the trouble
Organic search traffic is the one that is generated with the help of organically generated inbound links and it must be paid attention to along with the rankings. Detection of a site-wide penalty becomes easy when a large plummet is witnessed in the ranking of keywords or in the fall of referrals gained organically. Another sign is a plummet witnessed in ranking separately or in traffic for few selected keywords which isn’t very severe but reflects presence of a lot of links having rich anchor texts. At times the culprit for dooming your ranking and traffic is the technical modifications made by you in your website which causes search engines problem in finding you or in indexation of your website. Removal of the analytic code might cause the same problem. To deal with these aspects it must be made sure that all the technical changes made must concur with Google algorithms.
Let’s understand the identification procedure first in order to make out which links are unnatural
Webmasters must keep a good eye on the back link profile of their website. Scanning it frequently is similar to following the proverb- ‘prevention is better than cure’ because it helps the webmasters identify the threat beforehand and prepare for action. There are a lot of tools available that can help you with conducting this review of your back link profile. Here is a list of them:
Google’s tools for all intents and purposes
– Webmasters tools helps in detecting the possibility of a threat because it’s the first destination that warns of the presence of a bad link on your website, plus it helps in deriving all the information on these unnatural links in deep. In the traffic column, accessing the section web interface helps in getting information on inbound link data of your website and it’s downloadable.
Open site explorer and Link Detective Tool
– A free tool and it helps in knowing the details of the links present on your website in totality like URL, Title, page authority as well as the domain authority of the links of your website. The free tool helps in conducting a scan of the top most pages, recently found links and the linking domains. The SEO gadget excel tool is another free tool that uses the data derived from open site explorer assisting in classification of the links.
Step 1: Create an account for free and login on http://www.opensiteexplorer.org.
Step: Download your link in CSV format.
Step 3: Create a free account on Link Detective: http://linkdetective.com/ and upload your CSV file after creating a project.
Step 4: Wait for some time till the report is complete.
Step 5: Watch out for low domain authority & page authority sites, spam comment links, non-contextual links from directories, blog networds, over optimized anchor text links and send them email for removal. Keep a record of the contact details of all the sites so that you can give a proof that you actually contacted the webmasters for link removal.
Majestic SEO– Is a link intelligence tool and it helps in analyzing the back link profile of your website and it depicts the different categories of links as well as the anchor text used. Majestic SEO is a free tool and comes in a paid variant too. The free tool assists in allotting a trust score as well.
Ahrefs the categoriser– Ahrefs is a great tool as it helps in classification of the inbound links into categories like the IP they belong to, their domain name, type of the website- whether it belongs to education, or government or is a social welfare type website, the top level domain suffixes etc. A brilliant typology of links is facilitated by ahfers and each type is clickable for deriving more information on it.
Link research tools– These tools help in combining the aggregate data on links from different sources rather than scanning the web themselves. Apart from this these tools help in removal of the duplicate links from various locations and see to the active participation of links in the link report service.
Tools related to word press for detecting unnatural links
Checker for detecting broken links: The inbound and outbound links are of no use because they don’t work. They leave a very bad impact on the SEO and they must be removed.
Wordfence Security- It’s a Plugin responsible for security and is a cyber security solution- Antivirus and firewall for all wordpress sites and it does so by conducting a frequent scan to your website and picking out the links that can activate the malware threats. These links once identified can be edited in the WordPress dashboard. It has both free and premium versions.
Commentluv link cleaner– It’s a Plugin responsible to eliminate of doubtful links that are outbound. Commentluv facilitates comments and providing back links. But the old comments display 404 pages and Google isn’t fond of their high intensity in any website. To deal with such links and cleaning the bad ones, commentluv link cleaner is great.
Measure of link removal other than Google webmaster tool
- Send a request to the owner of the website to get the links of his/her site removed from pointing to your site.
- Search engine watch recommends sending a request of link removal to the contact email address mentioned on the website to the relevant person about the presence of an offending link in the web page which is harmful. This technique of thoughtfulness increases the probability of removal of the link immediately.
- There are services available like task bullet that helps in designing the link removal campaign by administering it.
- Apart from these free measures there are paid measures available as well that help in filing link removal reports
- Remove’em helps a website detect the unnatural links as well as it contacts the webmaster by making a complete database and files the request for removal. The self serve option of it costs around $249.
- Rmoov does it by importing the whole list of links and detecting the information of contact of the webmaster along with running and reporting for removal of links.
A tip on using remove’em and rmoov is to keep a track of the efforts you are making for removing these links as Google considers the efforts made with sincerity on removal of bad links and getting out of penalty.
If these tricks and efforts do not work, you should choose the Google’s way of disavowing links feature present in the Google webmaster tools, which might sound easy but is not recommended to be used frequently and casually because a small mistake in its use will cost a lot to your website. The section below will explain in detail how to disavow a link through Google.
Denying or disavowing the bad links by Google
Google page rank is the way Google describes how important a web page is on the basis of inbound links coming from various other websites. Page rank sure is a very important determinant but there are enormous amount of other reasons that describe why a website is included in the good books of the high and mighty Google. The bottom line is one link coming from a website is considered as a vote in favor of the high quality of it.
Google tries its best not to let the third parties hinder the quality of a website of let it get affected negatively. There are so many ways the hired help can hinder the quality of your website- Construction of bad links through paid links or not keeping the Google’s quality guidelines in mind while designing the link schemes. Google recommends immediate removal of any link that is spammy or of low quality from your website to stay out of danger of penalty. Even after the removal of such links you are finding it hard to remove unnatural links ask Google to overlook them when it evaluates your website. This act in technical term is known as disavowing links. You can clearly specify these links to Google and it will disavow them while evaluating your site, thereby making you safe from penalty out of them.
Disavowing of links must not be taken casually because if an error made in the use of this sophisticated feature your website might suffer in terms of its performance in the search results of Google. It must be used in the case of dire need as a last resort for excessively spammy, duplicate, artificial and very low quality links that are only a liability to your website and are good for nothing. Anyways Google is smart enough to detect which links are trust worthy and which of them are mere filth.So, in general websites won’t need the use this feature usually.
Disavowing back links is a procedure that requires you as a webmaster to follow simple steps:
First thing you need to do is to download the whole list of links present on website and hand pick the ones you wish to disavow. Create a file of these very links and submit this file to Google by uploading it. Create a text file in .txt format encoded in UTF-8/ 7 bit ASCII of the links that you wish to disavow and each line must have one link only. This file can include the links arising out from an entire domain as well and to do so just add in a line “domain:xyz.com”. This text file can cover the information on the links you have excluded but do remember to prefix # character before the links you wish to be excluded from disavowing as Google ignores the lines that begin with ‘#’. Also it is recommended by Google not to upload the whole list of the links of your website because the purpose of this file uploading is to tell Google which links from your website it must avoid and you want it to ignore the good ones at any cost.
How to upload the list of the links to Google you wish to disavow
- On the Google webmaster tools go to the disavow links tool page
- From the field, select the name of your website
- Choose on the disavow links option
- Click on the ‘choose file’ option
This procedure takes time as once you upload the information it, it goes to Google’s index and Google crawls the web again and brings in account the pages and reprocesses them. This takes time going to a number of weeks.
Removing a dormant page or link from your website
As I mentioned earlier that Google is smart enough to make out the bad links and pages and avoid them automatically. It does that by crawling web and locating the fresh pages, eliminating dormant links and show these changes to the existing pages. This keeps the index of Google updated and refreshed always.
Just in case the outdated links of your website are giving you a hard time make sure these very pages or links depict 404 or 401 note in the header of the page. This makes their removal easy as it conveys the message loud and clear to Google that the URL is not working anymore. Request of removal of a 404 error URL can be made by you through the use of Google’s request removal tool. 404 pages are often automatically eliminated from Google index over the time due to non linkage of pages through them.
So that will be all on link unnatural link removal to get out of Google penalty for free. Though it might sound all scary and difficult to implement, my advice to all webmasters is always to keep calm and never make decisions in haste as they always lead to disasters. All these efforts once implemented require time to show the results which requires patience from your part. Keep calm and cautiously take action following the correct path that. It will definitely help you succeed.
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