Penguin has caused a lot of problems for webmasters and bloggers who were engaging in previously kosher backlinking activities. But the implementation of this fowl update has led to many a site with questionable backlinks getting the boot from the Google index. So if you happen to be suffering from a backlink profile rife with low-quality entries, here are just a few tips to help you recover and get back in Google’s good graces.
- Find the right tools. When it comes to digging up your linking history you might not know where to begin. Many sites owners don’t exactly keep track of their backlinks, and even if you are one of the rare breed of highly organized individuals that has kept immaculate records, there could be all kinds of backlinks pointing to your site that you don’t know about. Luckily, there are a number of tools designed to help you uncover this information as well as tell you the quality of those links. Google’s Webmaster Tools will provide you with a good springboard, and from there you may also want to try notable programs like BuzzStream, Open Site Explorer, Majestic SEO (from Raven Tools), and Site Explorer (ahrefs). All conduct searches a little differently so your results may vary by the tools you use.
- Sever links. It’s easy enough to remove questionable links from your own pages, but getting backlinks to your site removed is another matter. However, once you have become aware of linking activity that could pose a threat to staying on Google’s good side you can begin the arduous process of contacting bloggers and webmasters to get your backlinks removed from their sites. Think of it like cleaning up your credit history; you don’t have to do it, but it’s necessary if you want proper credit in the future.
- Improve content. The main goal of Google’s Penguin algorithm update was to ensure that the sites delivering premium content get special recognition, as opposed to sites that simply knew how to optimize in order to improve their page rank. So once you’ve cleaned up your backlink profile you should take the time to assess the content you’re providing and look for ways to step it up, such as offering original and timely content that readers find valuable.
- Get quality links and likes. These days the number of links is not nearly as important as the quality, so you’ll want to work hard to get backlinks from highly-rated sources (and add such links to your own site, as well). This starts with creating compelling content and then networking with prestigious and respected blogs and websites. Equally important, however, is your +1 status, so setting up like buttons and creating a Google+ profile is another option to explore.
- Keep a record. In case you didn’t know, getting rid of a history of backlinks (which could number in the thousands) is no easy feat. In most cases you will have to contact webmasters and blog owners to get every individual backlink removed. In some cases you will be unable to contact these people, and some may not respond. Others may be unwilling to bother attending to your request for whatever reason. Although most people will likely accommodate you, especially if you include specific information to guide them, you might not be able to address every iffy backlink. In order to protect yourself during the back link removal process, you must keep a record of your efforts. If Google sees fit to oust you from their listings you’re going to need this documentation to fight back and regain your ranking.
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