Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Check Your Backlinks...

Since Google's latest update, Penguin, targets low quality, irrelevant, spammy websites and links (which we'll call 'bad links'), it's prudent to check your own website's back-links to ensure those who are linking to your are relevant and synergistic to your own site's content.

To do this you can use several free back-link checkers, such as http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/, http://www.backlinkwatch.com/, or http://www.iwebtool.com/backlink_checker .  

Then, go down the list and see who's linking to you. This may be laborious, but well worth it. Especially if you noticed your traffic and SERP precense drop in the last few weeks, you may have speculated that Penguin is to blame.

Next, it's literally a manual process of visiting the 'bad link's' website and contacting them to remove the link going to your site. If there's several 'bad links', it's best to create a form letter. According to searchenginewatch.com, the letter should state that you are a website owner trying to recover from a Google penalty and would like the following links removed. Then, list the URLs where the links can be found, the URL on your site they point to, the anchor text ─ all the info needed to easily find the link you're requesting removed.

Sometimes, it's easy to find contact information of 'bad links', you simply visit the site and can find email or similar information in the footer or 'Contact Us' area of the website.
Other times it's harder, and you may need to engage in some free tools to help determine a 'bad link's' website owner. According to searchenginewatch.com, such tools are:

  • Domaintools.com: If you want to find out who owns the site your link is on, visit domain tools or type "whois.sc" in front of a URL.
  • C-Class Checker: If you have a list of all the links you want to get rid of, you can run them through a bulk C-class checker to see how many of them are on the same C-class.
  • SpyonWeb: If you only have 1 URL to work with, this tool lets you find out what other domains they are associated with. Just put in a website URL, IP address or even the Google analytics or AdSense code and you can find all of the websites that are connected to it.Keep a record of all efforts to contact 'bad links', as it will show Google you've been making a good effort to get rid of these irrelevant links.

If you find that Google's Panda & Penguin updates have affected your website and you believe there may have been an error of some sort, there is a form on Google you can fill out to pinpoint search terms that you believe you shouldn't be penalized for: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dEVxdmdRWFJRTjRoLWZVTHZkaTBQbkE6MQ&ndplr=1

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