Unnatural Link RemovalLast year, Google made some significant changes to its ranking algorithm. The changes were designed to make the rankings harder to manipulate through bulk link building. Instead of simply looking at the quantity of incoming links that a website has, Google now also looks at the authority level of the linking website, the anchor text and several other factors.

What Does This Mean For Your Website?

If you have ever used link exchanges, automated directory submissions or paid link services, Google may be penalising you for having a lot of low quality links. The good news is that it is possible to recover your rankings if you show that you have taken measures to remove those links.

The Link Pruning Process

The first thing that you need to do is figure out which links should be removed and

which can stay. In general, good link profiles are ones which:

  • Come from a source page which is related to your site
  • Have organic looking anchor text
  • Include some links to the home page and some “deep” links to other parts of your site
  • Include individual links as well as site wide links

If you run a blog about horses and you have a site-wide link on a blog about knitting, this is something that Google will find suspicious. The idea behind links is to add value to real human users, not increase your Page Rank or any other number that only computer software should care about. This is why top business websites and blogs make use of some of the best backlink checkers. It can tell you if the domain is worth getting a backlink from, consequently improving your search results.

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Removing the bad links to your site will make the good links stand out and help Google to more accurately judge the content of your site. In Google’s eyes, a site with a lot of links from authority blogs in a particular niche is worth far more than a site with thousands of links from article directories.

Removing the bad links will be a laborious process. You will have to contact each site owner and request that they remove your links. If you choose to do this yourself, keep a list of everyone you contact so that you can pass that information on to Google when you submit a request to have your site’s rankings reviewed. If you decide to outsource this job, make sure that the person sending the requests for you keeps good records.

The Recovery Process

Depending on the number of bad links you need removed and when each of those websites was last crawled, it might take a long time to see movement in your rankings. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to speed this process up. Whilst you’re waiting for your site’s ranking to update, focus on adding fresh content and building higher quality links.

If you find that some of the website owners you contact fail to respond, don’t worry too much. Simply keep a record of when you contacted them and what contact details you used. Google will take that information into consideration when evaluating your rankings.