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You’ve heard the phrase “guilty by association,” right? This is a pretty accurate way to explain how search engines view website linking. If you’ve got links from high authority websites, search engines think you must be a high authority website. And if you’ve got links from low authority and spammy websites, well, I think you know where this is going.
Although inbound and outbound links are important ranking factors for SEO, linking needs to be done carefully to protect your company’s online reputation. Below, I have outlined basic SEO practices you should take when dealing with backlinks.
Why Linking Is Helpful for SEO
When your website is associated with a trustworthy site (say for instance, the Better Business Bureau) via a backlink, it becomes more trustworthy in the eyes of the search engines.
Overall, these backlinks from credible sites help your SEO because they show search engines that your website is credible and therefore valuable to their users. And overtime, as you build a healthy profile of these good backlinks, your rankings will improve as the search engines acknowledge your position as an authority online.
What Is a Bad Backlink?
A bad backlink is a link that comes from a not-so trusted website. Since the Penguin algorithm change in 2012, Google has been cracking down on bad links. Before Google launched the Penguin algorithm, websites were violating Google Webmaster Guidelines with black hat SEO. Essentially, people were paying for links so they would have higher rankings and higher authority—not okay. As a result, Penguin was launched. Instead of improving their rankings, this update actually penalized webpages that were associated with these bad links.
Finding Bad Backlinks
There are many resources available to find these spammy backlinks: both free and paid. One way to search for these backlinks is in Google Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools). There, you can view a list of website that link to your site. More often than not, these links help your SEO and are mostly from websites like Yelp, social media, or Better Business Bureau; however, there may be links that aren’t trusted and are harming your SEO.
When looking through the backlinks, there are several questions you should be asking yourself:
- What kind of website is this? If you notice it is a very low quality sites with hundreds of links, it may be a bad page to be associated it.
- Does the link better your business? If the answer is yes—keep it! If you wouldn’t want to be associated with the business your link is coming from—you may want to get rid of it!
- Is there an “about us” section on the website? Often, if a website is hiding something, they will not post any information about their business.
How to Remove Bad Backlinks
Getting rid of spammy links requires you to first make a list of the webpages you want to be disassociated with. Then, use the disavow tool in Google Search Console to remove yourself from bad backlinks. This process may take a few days for the links to be completely gone, but will help your website to be authoritative and trusted by users and search engines! Read more about how to remove bad backlinks.
Still Have Questions About Bad Backlinks?
If you still have questions regarding backlinks, or are looking to improve your online visibility, contact us at Blue Corona! We can help your business’s website get cleaned up and improve your website’s SEO—which can result in more website traffic and more leads!
About The Author: Blue Corona is a data-driven online marketing company with offices in Gaithersburg, MD and Charlotte, N.C.
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