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Cleaning your backlinks - ideas and suggestions
tedster




msg:4450201
 3:37 am on May 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

With all the "over-SEO" and "webspam updates" recently - and especially with the flood ov WMT notifications about backlinks - a lot of webmasters have their attention on what they can do practically to make Google happier about their backlink profile.

The general SEO blogging community has recently begun pumping out ideas and articles. While we do not usually approve links to blog articles here (unless they are by a Google authority of some kind) I feel it's a good idea to start looking at some of the ideas being shared. So this thread is an exception to our normal rule. Let's use the general SEO community to help everyone out, here!

Some of these approaches look pretty darned good to me, and they mirror the kinds of steps I've worked out with several clients who had some real success.

[edited by: tedster at 3:53 am (utc) on May 7, 2012]

 

AndyA




msg:4455557
 1:14 pm on May 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

errorsamac wrote:
Hello,

We charge a fee of 20usa for any link we remove from our site. Thank you.


Looks like this mess Google has created of allowing third party links to harm a site has created a new income stream. Put links on bad sites, then charge the sites being linked to for removal. Nice.

I guess in response, one could say their site charges $25/month to link to their site, so either forward payment for the link or remove it. This seems so ridiculous, links from bad sites should just be ignored completely. Problem solved.

Has anyone tried throwing up a 403 Forbidden response for domains in bad neighborhoods that link to their sites?

Jez123




msg:4455560
 1:41 pm on May 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

I guess in response, one could say their site charges $25/month to link to their site, so either forward payment for the link or remove it.


I can't think that this is probably an unintential bonus for google. It serves only to further drive people to adwords. The only form of "linking" allowed now within google.

backdraft7




msg:4455818
 6:48 am on May 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I concur with Regular Joe - If you intended to build spammy backlinks or bought them, then having to disregard them seems like an appropriate punishment for your blackhat shenanigans. You've wasted your time and money, sentence served.
If you have never attempted to build backlinks and some "helpful" scraper site automatically built them "for you" to fill their directory pages or as negative seo, then the disregard function is also effective. It works for both instances, so IMHO, Google should seriously consider this feature.

However, Indy is correct, Google would never allow that much transparency.

gouri




msg:4456074
 6:27 pm on May 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I have come across a situation where there is a website using content from a page on a site that I am working on and also linking back to it from over 15 of their pages. The content is almost all of the content from a particular page, and on each of their pages, it is the same, with the anchor text used being the url of the page. These links are many of the backlinks that go to this particular page.

When I looked at this, I felt that Google might be seeing this as (a) duplicate content and (b) too many links going to the page that I am working on from one site and using the same anchor text (url). I think that these are two areas that the search algorithm is taking a pretty close look at and that they are not looking at this too favorably.

Would you guys say that duplicate content and too many links from the same site are two issues that this situation is creating?

Also, in terms of how to go about dealing with this, I could not find any contact information on the website and also on whois. What I did see is some information for customer service on their website.

Would contacting customer service first and asking them if they could tell me whom I can contact about this and if this doesn’t really help contacting the web host and explaining the situation to them be the best way to proceed?

HermanMunster




msg:4456230
 4:15 am on May 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I received a trackback for another hidden link to my site from a spam blog. It's in the <head> not visible on the page, and it has a "nofollow" on it. Does the nofollow keep Google from holding it against my site even though they hate hidden links?

As I have said before, the company my site criticizes has employed negative SEO against me in the past, but I don't think they did this one because it seems obvious who did from the links that are visible. All of them go to a site that resells the company's service, and it looks like they are trying to rank for its name. I'm not sure what the purpose of the hidden link to my site would be. Maybe just an attempt to get the trackback on a page about the company, which ain't gonna happen. It's an industry that has always been subject to a lot of spam by resellers.

crobb305




msg:4456475
 3:46 pm on May 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can say that a 403 has definitely gotten the attention of a few webmasters who were linking to me sitewide. They ignored my emails, until I informed them a 403 was being served. Link removed. Five cases so far. I am not sure if the 403 alone will tell Googlebot to ignore the link, but it sure sends a message to the webmasters.

tigertom




msg:4456935
 12:56 pm on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I didn't think the Googlebot followed links live on your site; I thought it spidered a _copy_ of your site, (or at least later, when its added your site to the Google database)?

If it does not, then you can throw up a 403 or 401 and problem solved for bad backlinks, I think.

i.e. if the referer is a page on a bad site, then serve up a 403 or whatever.

np2003




msg:4457121
 10:42 pm on May 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can 100% confirm that wordpress theme sponsor links will harm your competitor. A client of ours that used sponsorship wp themes just got a response from WMT saying he had too many inorganic links from those themes. He was told to contact every site owner and ask those owners to remove those links and only then would Google remove the penalty.

This means to harm and penalize a competitor on Penguin, you just need to point heaps and heaps of crappy links to their site.

kidder




msg:4457274
 8:36 am on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've had first hand experience of this, for even more effect you can hide the links or make them the same color text as the background and sites will drop like a stone. A new business model is born.

fred9989




msg:4457328
 11:41 am on May 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

So if a site was doing reasonably well, pre penguin, pre panda, but the webmaster decided to use some spammy link buying service to improve its rankings, let's say, oh, for the sake of exmaple, a spammy network which which got deindexed in the recent hit.....

.....there will be an algorithmic penalty on the site, for sure (along with notes in WMT about unnatural links.)

And when that penalty lapses, is it reasonable to assume that the site will return to the place it occupied before any of these things happened? Or is there yet no consensus on this?

crobb305




msg:4460789
 6:13 pm on Jun 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there a word-count limit to reconsideration requests? I typed mine in Word, then tried to copy/paste into the reconsideration box, but it get's chopped. Is there a way to submit a document?

Planet13




msg:4460805
 7:58 pm on Jun 2, 2012 (gmt 0)

Is there a way to submit a document?


I don't know if there is or isn't.

But maybe you can create a txt document, upload it to your server, put it in a directory that is blocked by robots.txt and then LINK TO IT in your reconsideration request?

tedster




msg:4460867
 5:50 am on Jun 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Exactly - keep the request itself concise, and link to a URL where you show more complete documentation if needed: Reconsideration Request tips - a video [webmasterworld.com]

mirrornl




msg:4460886
 8:50 am on Jun 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

the form is limited to about 4800 characters

outland88




msg:4460978
 6:18 pm on Jun 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

IMO since Tedster’s and Cutts initial suggestions about Reconsideration Requests the process has become so automated you can submit some of the writings of the “Little Red Caboose” and still get back the same response. Of course they probably look at maybe one in every 500 complaints. Google isn’t notorious for spending money on CS and certainly not ordinary labor. In other words Google dumbed it down for its labor force.

np2003




msg:4461002
 7:42 pm on Jun 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

I can confirm that using sponsored themes will get you penalized/WMT message but only if it surpasses a certain threshold (see below).

After submitting a reinclusion request, a Googler replied saying they have to see clear evidence that many of the links pointing to our site needed to be cleaned up for them to lift the penalty. All our other keywords are on page #1 (despite many of them using sponsored themes for different keywords as well and all of them remain unaffected). It seems Google is using some sort of ratio threshold filter to factor in the penalty.

Google pretty much has confirmed what I thought it is doing with Penguin and that is it's possible to penalize competitors by simply pointing links to their site, however it must trigger their ratio threshold filter and there must be lots of "SITEWIDE" links.

For example, if there are 10,000 sitewide links pointed to www.domain1.com using keyword "hello1", and there are only 500 links using "hello2", hello1 will most likely be penalized.

I have two sites and both sites had the exact same message + were penalized. In these two sites, we use various different keywords in the sponsored themes. All but 1 of the keywords were penalized, it was only the keyword anchors that had the highest number of backlinks.

The best way to get around the penalty is to ensure you have heaps of backlinks with varied keywords, ensuring that no single keyword takes 70% of the backlinks share.

In essence this basically means if competitor A wants to attack competitor B, he just needs to ensure that the keyword anchor text he uses is more than 70% share of competitor B's backlinks portfolio.

If you have 70,000 backlinks for "widget A", but have 80,000 backlinks for "widget A", most likely no penalty on both keywords.

If you have 5000 backlinks for "widget A", but have 50 backlinks for "widget B", widget A will be penalized.

aristotle




msg:4461005
 8:05 pm on Jun 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

have two sites and both sites had the exact same message + were penalized. In these two sites, we use various different keywords in the sponsored themes. All but 1 of the keywords were penalized, it was only the keyword anchors that had the highest number of backlinks.


If so, then you should use mostly keywords that you don't care about anyway, such as those with low search volume. Then these will be penalized, and the most important keywords will escape.

theseanstewart




msg:4461073
 5:05 am on Jun 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

I'm going to pick a few random niches and find a few sites to try this on. I keep reading about how this works but I'd like to test it for myself. I'll post the results here.

uggur




msg:4461096
 6:09 am on Jun 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

@np2003, but this was the case previously

Jez123




msg:4461147
 7:48 am on Jun 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

Someone asked this question (it must be on one of the other Penguin threads I am following)

If you didn't receive the dreaded WMT link notification does it therefore follow that if you were affected by Penguin it is an on site problem and not a link issue?

tedster




msg:4461274
 4:34 pm on Jun 4, 2012 (gmt 0)

As I understand it, if you did receive the funky backlinks notice, that is a SEPARATE issue the from Penguin algorithm. In other words, you can address that notice with a Reconsideration Request.

True Penguin issues, however, are not susceptible to being lifted through a Reconsideration Request. Penguin is considered an algorithmic ranking demotion and those are not a manual spam penalty.

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