Link Removal

If your website has been hit with a Penguin penalty or is even at risk, these backlinks need to be removed before you even think about SEO. Get started with a strong backlink removal campaign to get your site on track sooner.

Clear Process, Proven Results

A strong link removal campaign is incredibly time consuming. Over the years we’ve refined our process and procedures so to speed the process up as much as possible without sacrificing the results so you’re getting as much as possible for your investment.

Take a look at just a couple of examples of the incredible results we’ve achieved with this removal service:

cover australia link removal example
link removal managers

Click on images to enlarge.

Our process is simple and effective. Using a couple of tools to find all sites that link to yours then determining which ones need to be removed, we’ll then get to work contacting each of them with a removal request. A typical campaign looks something like this:

  • Export the complete list of sites that link to yours
  • Determine the strength and relevance of each of these referring websites (A combination of bulk categorisation and manual revision to make sure good backlinks are never removed!)
  • Disavow these links via Google Webmaster Tools
  • For those that don’t respond to the first request, follow up approximately 1 month later with a second request and again in the third month with a third and final request for this removal

While some websites will ignore each of these requests, the aim of this process is to get as many links removed as possible. If we contact 1000 websites and only 100 of them remove the link to your site, this can still have a drastic impact on your current and future SEO efforts.

Qualifying Low Quality Links

There are countless automated tools that attempt to provide you with a list of low quality links but unfortunately when it comes to backlink removal, there’s just no substitute for quality. Below are just some of the factors we consider for each link.

Search the list of domains for keywords that suggest the domain is of low quality and/or relevance. More often than not, domains with words like “links”, “seo” and “directory” in the domain now are going to be a low quality link that should be removed.
Backlink analysis tools like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer provide us with a Domain Rating which suggests the likely strength of a backlink. While not perfect, it does allow us to disqualify some links based on this number alone. A domain with a rating of 0 can safely be removed as it provides no value whereas a mediocre site with a rating of 65 (out of 100) may very well be kept based on this number alone.
The number of links from each domain can also raise some red flags to help categorise domains quickly. In most cases, a large number of links from a single site is a sign of low quality since it’s highly unlikely a genuine one will link to you 1,000 times! visual inspection.

Tedious as the process may be, the only way to accurately judge the quality of a backlink or referring domain is by actually visiting the site. We use the above elements to categorise your backlink profile in bulk as much as possible but since each of these only gives an indication of quality, a large portion of them will still need to be look at manually.

Doing this allows you to retain as many good links as possible and limits the risk of having them removed along with the bad ones. This extra step is part of the reason we can provide such great results from these campaigns time and time again!

Following Google Guidelines

This process is not only effective at getting links removed but also follows Google’s guidelines. Take a look at the short clip from the head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutts on the suggested steps for dealing with bad links and working toward a Penguin recovery.

Can’t I Just Disavow?

The short answer is no. This has been a highly contended point in the SEO community for some time now but it seems Google’s disavow tool just isn’t what it used to be. We still submit the disavow file as part of our process as a “just in case” measure but this is mostly because we’ve already produced a list of low quality links and submitting them to Google takes a matter of seconds.

For a more detailed look at this topic, check out Moz’s Whiteboard Friday with Josh Bachynski on exactly this topic.

Avoid Paying Websites to Remove Your Link

If you’ve ever tried to remove bad backlinks yourself, you’ve probably seen just how many low quality websites request a fee for this process. While there are some very occasional instances where the fee is worthwhile, Google explicitly says not to pay for this service.

Of all our link removal campaigns so far, we’ve only recommended this removal process once and for a very specific reason that provided great results!

Why Backlink Removal is Important

In April 2012, Google released an update they referred to as “Penguin”. Aimed at identifying websites that had large volumes of backlinks from low quality or irrelevant websites, this algorithm update saw a lot of sites get hit with a penalty for their spammy actions.

Prior to Penguin, link building was all about volume; the more links you could generate from any source, the better you’d rank. Because it was such a drastic change to the way link building needed to be done, it left a lot of providers and website owners in a horrible situation. They’d paid to have tens of thousands of bad links generated and they now risked being penalised and completely removed from the results.

While most providers have moved on to better, more ethical practices since then, others choose to take the black hat approach and simply try to mask what they’re doing. There’s no doubt black hat SEO can provide results, the danger is that Google is continually improving what they do and getting smarter at detecting these tactics.

The end result here is that quite a few websites still have extremely low quality backlink profiles and have either been penalised or are very close to it. If you happen to fall into this category, removing these poor links is incredibly important because it keeps you safe from these penalties and on the right track to improving your position in the search results.

Where Did My Low Quality Backlinks Come From?

Unfortunately there’s no way to prove for sure exactly who built these links to your site but there are a few common explanations.

  • A low quality SEO provider: More often than not, a low quality SEO service is going to leave you with low quality backlinks. There are various methods they can use to generate large volumes of poor links in a short period of time.
  • Malicious behaviour from a third party: For as little as $5 you can pay for someone to generate a number of low quality backlinks for a website. Done in large enough volumes, this can see your website landed in a penalty situation and unfortunately, your only options to fix it are a link removal campaign or moving to a new domain!
  • Old fashion link schemes: If you or a previous provider has done some link building previously, you may have submitted your site to a single directory which then duplicates this link to a number of other sites in their network (sometimes hundreds at once!). While you may have intended to create one link, you may have inadvertently generated many more.
  • Organic backlinking: Particularly if your website is starting to generate some traffic, you’ll find that people naturally link to you because they want to tell others about your product or service. This is what we refer to as an organic backlink since it happens without any intervention. The downside to this is that you have no control over their quality so some of these sites will be less than ideal. Thankfully, search engines to compensate for this in their algorithm so a small % of bad links is perfectly ok.

Whatever the origin, the process for removing these links remains the same in most cases but sometimes it’s just nice to have an idea of how they got there in the first place. If you have engaged the services of an SEO company in the past, it’s always a great idea to get in contact with them and ask if they can remove the links for you too. They may refuse but there’s no harm in asking!

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