One of the dirtiest tactics in SEO is linking bombing, or negative SEO. This is generally done by competitors in an attempt to have your site lose it’s rankings. This can cause your site to get penalized and/or lose a lot of organic traffic from search engines. These types of links generally come from poor quality, spammy, untrusted sites.
Although Google is getting better and nulling the effects of link-bombing from your competitors, it still isn’t pleasant because it often times can have huge negative effects on your website. Moreover, it isn’t always easy to clean up.
Below, I’ll share with you a few steps you can take to help you just in case your site gets hit with negative SEO and the steps to take in the event that you do get hit.
1. Keep Track of Your Links
It’s very important that you keep track of every single link that you build to your site. A good record of the links you build to your website will remove 95% of the headache. This is because all you’ll have to do is just target the links you haven’t built to your website.
However, if you haven’t kept track of the links you’ve built and you’re not too sure about the links pointing to your site, but you’ve noticed a steep decline in your organic ranking, you can such as Ahrefs, Moz, and Majestic to help you find many of the links pointing to your site. The free version of these tools can provide you with a brief summary of your link profile. However, a paid subscription will be required to get their full report on your link profile.
Lastly, you can also see some of the links point to your website through Google Webmaster tools. Surprisingly, and unfortunately, it’s not as good as Ahrefs, Moz or Majestic. However, it is free and it will give you some idea of what sites are pointing to yours.
2. Determine the Good and the Bad
This is the hard and technical part. You’ll need to be able to determine what types of links are bad vs what are good. Generally, you can easily identify bad links by the types of anchor texts used. Most negative SEO tactics will push a lot of links with spammy anchor text related to porn, gambling and pharmaceutical drugs. If you see any anchor texts related to this, you’ll want to highlight these on your link spreadsheets. Another negative SEO tactic is to hit your site with a number of money keywords in an attempt to over-optimize your site. For example, if you’re site is ranking for “Toronto Daycare,” you can get hit with thousands of links with the anchor “Toronto Daycare” from many low quality websites.
You can look at all the inbound links with this specific anchor text and start to manually go through and remove the legit links you’ve built, from the spammy links you haven’t build.
3. Request Removal
This is the most time-consuming part but once you’ve determined the bad sites that are linking to yours, you’ll want to start contacting the website owners to have those links removed manually. Often times, you can find the contact information for the website’s owner on the website itself. However, if this information isn’t available, you can try using Whoer.net to look up the ownership information for that domain.
After you’ve obtained the contact information, you’ll want to reach out to the website owner with an email. If you don’t get a response within a week, send the webmaster another email and wait for them to get back to you. If they don’t get back to you’re last resort is Google Disavow Tool.
4. Google’s Disavow Tool
If you have signed your website up for Google Webmaster Tools, you will have access to Google’s Disavow Tool. This is a tool, as the name states, allows you to have Google disavow those links, which will remove their negative effects on your rankings. However, this tool can harm your site and it’s very important that you use this tool only as a last result.
Going through you’re link profile to understand which links and bad from which are good is not an easy process and it really does require a lot of time and patience. Not to mention, some of the links that may appear to be negative may actually have positive effects on your website’s rankings. One last option you can also consider is hiring an expert.
5. Hire an Expert
Here at Thunder Rank, we’ve dealt with website’s that have had a negative link profile. You may have got links through ancient SEO techniques or you might have got link-bombed. Regardless, we have the skills and expertise to help your business remove those toxic links which might be hurting your website.
To clean more, contact us today to learn how we can help your website improve it’s rankings, regardless of it’s link profile.