Linking between sites can be an effective approach to building online traffic by improving your visibility in online search results. It's a common tool used by SEO specialists hired to elevate a website's online profile, and almost every website can benefit from using linking strategy in some form or another.
Unfortunately, not all links are good, and some can be detrimental to your website's online reputation. This is the case with too many websites: they pay good money to have SEO experts build links with other websites, only to find out later that the links are coming from spammy websites that are easily outed by Google. This can lower your online visibility instead of improving it, and fixing the problem isn't always easy. Removing links can be a difficult process for two reasons: first, because you may not have the information needed to get in and manually remove the links, and secondly, because the links to your website may reside on an online property you don't have ownership of.
Dealing with bad links and building your site back from this incident can be frustrating and sometimes time-consuming, but there are six effective methods you can use to overcome bad links and get your website back on the right track:
1. Remove The Links Manually
This isn't a practical approach if you're dealing with hundreds or thousands of links, but in smaller amounts it may be possible to simply eliminate the links one-by-one. To do this, you'll need administrator and/or webmaster access to the back end of the website, but this is an effective, if tedious, way to remove bad links and save yourself quickly.
2. Remove Pages Containing Bad Links
When large quantities of bad links are hosted on a page — directories are an example of a link-heavy page that might be hosted on your website — you may want to consider taking the entire page down. This is quickly noticed by Google and can make a big splash in helping your website recover from bad links. Unfortunately, this isn't always possible if the page is heavily trafficked or key to your website, or if bad links are rampant among a large group of web pages, but in certain situations it can be quick and relatively painless. While deactivated, you can go through the links one-by-one, update or remove them, and then re-publish the page online.
3. Generate New Good Links
This isn't an ideal method, but it's one way to help cancel out the negative effects of bad links. Your bad links are still weighing you down, of course, but if you are infusing your site with new, effective links, then you can minimize your losses in terms of page rank and website visibility.
4. Set Up A 301-Redirect
It comes with some risk and it could serve a big hit to your page ranking — at least initially — but a 301-redirect can be an effective way to wipe the slate clean without trashing your site completely. A 301-redirect moves your site to a different domain and redirects inbound traffic to this new site. When you go this route you lose all inbound links — the significance of this depends on how many inbound links you're currently benefiting from — but you can slowly build back up without the penalties of your previous bad links.
5. Contact Google Webmaster Tools
It's no secret that Google runs the show in regards to page ranking and website visibility. When all else fails, you can file a reconsideration request and ask Google to re-evaluate its ranking of your website. This is a good option when you are a victim of bad linking, but you need to be clear, specific and honest when making your case and you'll have to prove that you've made efforts to rectify things on your own before contacting Google. If Google buys your story and thinks your situation is worthy, the company can ease all your troubles and save your websites.
6. Take A Wait-and-see Approach
This isn't the best approach to fixing bad links, but if you don't have any way to take action, the best thing you can do is sit tight and see if the situation improves. Google usually identifies bad links and can spot link-spamming on other sites fairly quickly. Over time, these are likely to be ignored by Google and they won't hurt your website's online profile. Other website owners may also discover the bad links on their own and decide to repair or remove them. The process may be slow and frustrating, but in some cases it may be your only option.
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