Google Disavow Links Tool to the Rescue?
The relationship that webmasters have with Google has been a strained one to say the least. Google has continued to introduce new search algorithms that have webmasters running to remove spammy links. It is ironic that building backlinks was the primary tool people would use to get as high of a rank as possible and now they find that they must dedicate themselves to getting rid of some of those very same in bound links. However, the efforts to have unnatural-looking, bad backlinks removed can actually pay off by helping a site to rank.
Google has finally recognized the fact that there are some webmasters out there for whom the link spam pointing to their websites are not their fault. The updates Google established were meant to penalize those who tried to game the system by tricking the search engines with black hat techniques. Unfortunately, some honest webmasters got caught in the crossfire of the Google updates. SEO tactics that are upright cannot stop a visitor or competitor from randomly generating low quality links to a site. For this reason, the Google Disavow Links tool was born.
Not So Fast… The Disavow Links Tool Is Not a Replacement for Manual Removal
The problem with the Google Disavow Links tool, however, is that it is not a guarantee that the bad links pointing to a website will cease to have a negative effect on how the site ranks in the SERPs. After all, Google is not in the business of removing link spam. The Disavow Tool only allows webmasters to let Google know which links have been pointed to their site without their permission. The process of disavowals for links can take many weeks and at the end of that time Google might still decide to penalize you for the bad link anyway (read more about this). For this reason, when comparing Google Disavow vs. manual link removal, getting rid of links manually always wins.
But You Ask: Where Do I Start?
The first step in removing low quality backlinks from a website is to assess the situation. Get a report of the total number of backlinks pointing to the website. This is something that any webmaster should have available to him already, as it is always important to check inbound links. This step is indispensible in the process to eliminate bad backlinks.
The report must include not only the URLs but also detailed information such as the Alexa rating. Also note the topic of the page where the link is coming from. Then, once you have compiled all this information, sort out the quality links from the ones that are spam. There are various types of backlink finding tools and software that can easily provide you with all of the necessary information. An internet search will bring up several options.
In order to remove the links from your website you need to know the identity of the person that owns or manages the website. There are a number of ways to obtain this information. Many websites have contact information listed right on them. If this is not available, you can perform a search on Whois. Those websites that do not have any information listed about the owner seemingly anywhere online require more extensive research, but the information can be uncovered.
When you have finished performing the other steps, it is time for link pruning. This must be done by contacting each website owner whose site is the source of the bad backlinks and requesting a removal. Depending on your organizational skills and the number of website owners to contact, this can be a very simple process. Just compile the list of emails, create a general removal request message, and mass email everyone one the list. Be sure to keep track of who responds and continue emailing those who you do not hear from.
Keep Building Quality Links
While it is important to make use of of the new Google Disavow Links tool and to also manually remove negative incoming links, it is also just as important to continually build backlinks that are high quality and diversified. This helps to offset the negative effects of bad links and helps to provide an additional source of website traffic. Search engines are not the only way to get targeted visitors to a website. Take action to remove those damaging backlinks and build effective link diversity right now.