Spring Cleaning: How to Clean up Backlinks

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Chances are, you have a least-favorite chore around the house. It may be ironing, especially in the summer. You may dread dusting if you suffer from bad allergies. Perhaps you put off cleaning the gutters. There are a few web-related chores you may dread too. Cleaning up backlinks probably tops that list. Backlinks are inbound links to your site. They “link back” to your site from another site.

In search engine optimization (SEO), page rank is, in part, determined by the number of sites that link to yours. It’s important to gain backlinks honestly, and if a lot of other sites link back to you, you will naturally get more traffic to your page.

However, thanks to sticky fingers, spelling errors or other similarly fixable issues, backlinks can be the bane of an SEO manager’s existence. When backlinks are broken, it takes time and effort to fix them. You can tackle it or you may choose to outsource backlink maintenance. Here are several tips to manage backlink maintenance yourself. First, when you find a broken backlink, email the webmaster and ask for it to be removed. It is a simple yet straightforward strategy.

Plus, it often works. In order to make the process smoother, include the page and anchor text so they can pinpoint your request. If you cannot contact the webmaster or if they refuse to help if you don’t pay them, ask them to list the link as a nofollow. This helps because Google will not count this link when they analyze and rank your site.

If you’ve done everything you know to do, but still have bad links on your site, you can use Google’s Disavow tool, but use it wisely. From Google, “We recommend that you disavow backlinks only if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.”

As a last resort, you may want to employ a social strategy.  While speaking out on Facebook or Twitter can get attention, oftentimes spam sites don’t have managed social media accounts, if they have them at all.

As they say, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Which reminds me, I have some furniture I need to go polish.

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