Everyone does things they regret once in a while. If you participated in some black hat SEO tactics—specifically spammy links—back when they were an everyday occurrence, this is likely one of your regrets. Sure, at the time it seemed like the thing to do, at it probably boosted your rankings, but times have changed, and these spammy links are now the downfall of your search rankings.
Whether you received these spammy links via a link exchange, you bought them, or you got screwed over by your last less-than-admirable SEO company, one thing is for sure: You need to do something about these spammy links, and you need to do it now. Google’s algorithm gets smarter every day, so you really can’t afford not to take action immediately.
Locate Inbound Links
Before you can do any rank-saving work, you need to figure out which inbound links are actually harming your site. When you take a look at your backlink profile, there are a few red flags you need to locate:
- Links coming from brand new domains
- Links from low-traffic sites
- Links from PR0 or PR-n/a sites
- Links from a page that has a huge number of outbound links
- Links from several sites that have the same C class
Attempt to Remove Them
Now that you have figured out which links are wreaking havoc on your site, you need to remove them ASAP. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. You pretty much have two options:
- Delete the Targeted Page – After all, if the page doesn’t exist, the link can’t harm you. However, if the targeted page is your homepage—which most spammy links are—this is no good. Not only that, but do you really want your site full of 404 and 410 errors? No, you don’t.
- Contact the Webmaster – The better choice is to contact the Webmaster behind the sourcing site of your spammy links and ask them to remove yours. Some webmasters will oblige, and others will not. Just make sure to let them know if you were not the person who placed the link there in the first place because it will make them more willing to cooperate.
Disavow Spammy Links
If you have put an admirable effort into removing your spammy links on your own, but you still have several that remain, then it may be time to disavow the links. Essentially, this is asking Google to ignore the spammy links when crawling your site. It sounds easy enough, but Google is very upfront in saying that this should only be a last resort. Not only that, but the disavow tool is only to be used by an expert—if you use it wrong, it will do more harm than good.
Know When It’s Better to Start Over
While it may seem like all hope is lost, you do have one more option: You can ditch your old site and start from scratch. However, this is not a viable option if you already have a large following or you have put a tremendous amount of work into creating and developing your site. It’s really only a wise choice to start over if you are a relatively new site and you haven’t spent much time or money on building up its online presence. It is also crucial that you score a domain name that is just as easy to remember and suitable for your product/service as the last one.
After reading all of that, is your head spinning? Yes, dealing with spammy links is a very daunting process, but you don’t have to attempt it alone. At Zero Gravity Marketing, we have turned many sites around, and we can do the same for you. If you are ready to see your business back on the top of the search rankings (who doesn’t?), give us a call today. You don’t have time to waste.