How to Clean Up Your Link Profile
Keeping your link profile in good order is one of the smartest things you can do. Avoiding a Google penalty is far easier than recovering from a penalty. How do you do this? Whether you do this manually or via link profile monitoring software, following are the steps you should take and what to watch out for.
Get a Clear Picture of Your Current Link Profile
Obviously you need to know where you are starting from before you consider making any change. When gathering your existing links, pay special attention to:
- The number of links to your home page versus to internal pages.
- The number of no follow links.
- The number of linking domains.
- The total number of links.
- Traffic generated from links.
- Google PageRank.
Variety is the spice of life and a healthy profile will include a good mix of links to your home page and to internal pages. These ideally should be do follow, not no follow, links and should come from multiple linking domains. Too many links from a single domain could result in a problem. Google PageRank will give you a guide as to the quality of each link.
Rate Your Risk
You will want to group each link into one of three categories:
- Links that are safe to keep and potentially even beneficial to your site.
- Links that are “iffy”, requiring further information to determine whether or not they should be kept.
- Links that are dangerous for your site and must be removed.
The factors listed above will help you determine which category each links should be appropriately placed into.
When directly approaching webmasters to request link removal, the first rule by which you should abide is to be polite. A professional approach should always be presented as a request, not a demand. Think of it as asking them for a favor and let the tone of your email reflect that.
Clearly identify yourself, your company and your position with the company. Then, provide them with the exact link and URL in question and directly ask for the link to be removed. You can even provide them with a date by which you would ideally like this done by (be reasonable when giving timelines, of course). With any luck, this approach will take care of most of your removal needs. If not, you will need to go to the next level.
Disavow Bad Links
If your original requests for removal are not heeded, you will have no choice but to disavow the links directly. You can also disavow entire domains. This is actually recommended if you have multiple unwanted links from one domain.
The process of cleaning up your link profile should be, in some fashion, an ongoing one—especially the first two steps. You should always have an idea of what your link profile looks like. This lets you take care of bad links as they arise rather than being faced with a whole host of them at once. This is where link profile monitoring software can help as it dramatically streamlines the process and gives you the power to more accurately stay on top of your link profile.