What do your back links say about your site?
Everyone knows the importance of building quality back links to a site. Great links mean better rankings, better rankings mean increased traffic, increased traffic means more conversions. If only it was that simple. Acquiring new, high-quality, links to your site takes time and energy, but everyone knows it’s vital to grow a site. There are plenty of beginner guides to SEO, but one step that is often overlooked is considering your link profile, or links that have already been acquired.
Years ago a basic SEO campaign was based on gathering links. It didn’t where they came from, and the philosophy was quantity of quality. Years later search engines have refined their algorithms and guidelines to penalize sites with non-relevant links. The overseas company a site hired to build 1,000 links in a month has now come back to bite the site in the butt. As search engines release more updates it becomes vital for websites to abide by these rules, or prepare for failure. So what can you do? Lose the lame links.
Audit Your Links
There are plenty of tools available online that let you monitor backlinks and many will give you a ‘score’ on said links. Each site bases their score on different factors, so you must make decisions on the links based on your own knowledge. Look for links that are on sites that are not related to yours, for instance if you sell gym equipment you won’t want your link on a site blogging about rocket science. Additional sites to look for include foreign directories, pages with more than 50 links on a page (usually a resource or links page), or any types of link farms.
We plugged www.adficient.com into ahrefs.com and you can see the results to the right. Ahrefs scores links by a site’s popularity, links, domain authority, etc. Scores are based on a scale from 0-100, with 100 being the highest. Anything from around 20 or higher is considered a good link, even though ahrefs says 30 or higher is best. Here is where some discretion with scores comes into play.
Browse through these links and double check each and every link. Although a link may have a low score does not necessarily mean it needs to be removed. That’s why it’s important to check additional metrics on each link to verify its worth.
Not a fan of the ahrefs interface? Lets use Moz, they offer a simple to use tool called Open Site Explorer which shows a link’s domain authority and page authority. This gives users a quick way to browse over links and see a relatively straight-forward score for a link.
Similar to both ahrefs and Moz we have majesticSEO. MajesticSEO gives a score similar to Moz, but instead of domain and page authority we see trust flow and citation flow. These are metrics determined by clicks, links, traffic, and more, however are very trusted metrics in the SEO world.
Get the Links Removed
Once you compile a list of sites you feel should not be within your link profile it’s time to get them removed. The best way to do this is to email the site owner or webmaster and ask for them to remove the link. This can be VERY time consuming because of many different factors. Some sites won’t have a contact, either email or contact form, some sites are dormant meaning it may be impossible to get a hold of someone. If you do have a contact, there’s no guarantee someone will respond, let alone remove the link. The next option is to add the links to the search engine’s disavow list. This is easier said than done, like anything with SEO the search engines make it difficult to go through the entire process. Final option is have a professional do it for you. Back link removal programs offer full link audits, with a money back guarantee. This is the best option for busy site owners who do not have the time to send out thousands of emails to webmasters. Don’t let poor back links continue to slowly cripple your site, ditch the dirt links before it’s too late.