What are Backlinks?
Backlinks are incoming hyperlinks from one or more web pages to your site. Backlinks are key performance indicators (KPIs) to tell Google on how “important” your website is.
The Good Backlinks
To gain good backlinks to your site you need to work within your community with hard work. Below are some great ways to build good backlinks
- Create unique interesting content on your website and share it with the world.
- Reach out to the businesses, organizations, and groups that you belong to and find out how to get your site listed on their directory, web page, or blog article. (Don’t pay for the link or your website rank will!)
- Create and engage on social networks – every social network you belong to that allows you to talk about your website is a good link.
- Help out local, state, & national government agencies. A link from a .gov goes a very long way.
- Help out with your local schools & universities. A link from a .edu also go a very long way.
Dealing with Low-Quality Backlinks
A long time ago it was normal practice and an industry standard to pay for links or jump on to different linking schemes, but not anymore. During this time a lot of business owners had outsourced their web marketing to a company and may not be exactly sure how what they may have done. So how do I tell if I have low-quality backlinks?
The links to your site section of Google Webmaster Tools is a great starting point for an investigation as it shows a significant amount of your site’s inbound links. If you know that you ran an SEO campaign during a particular period of time, downloading the latest links can come handy in slicing links created at that time. Using the links found in Google Webmaster Tools, we recommend looking for patterns that point to general issues that are worth resolving. For example, spammy blog comments, auto generated forum posts or text advertisements with links that pass PageRank are likely to be seen as unnatural links and would violate Google’s quality guidelines.
So You Discovered You Have Bad Backlinks
Anyone on the internet can link to your site whether you asked them to or not. While you cannot prevent this you can take action. Here’s what to do.
- Once you have your list of bad links email the site owner a request to remove the link. This is important because it resolves the root of the problem and will help your site from being penalized in the future.
- If they site owner refuses or doesn’t respond in a normal amount of time Google has added a disavow links tool. (Most People Don’t Need this Tool)
Question: If I disavow links? What exactly does that do? Does Google definitely ignore them?
Answer: This tool allows you to indicate to Google which links you would like to disavow, and Google will typically ignore those links. Much like with rel=”canonical”, this is a strong suggestion rather than a directive—Google reserves the right to trust our own judgment for corner cases, for example—but we will typically use that indication from you when we assess links.
Once you spent a good amount of time trying to clean up your site and feel as though you have done all you can to clean up you site. The final step is to send Google a reconsideration request. Once again Google has made it easy by adding a tool in your Google Webmaster Tools which can be found on the Manual Actions page.
Things to think about and include in your reconsideration request: