A spam link, commonly known as an unnatural link, may be pointing to your website, which is having a negative impact on your SEO. This means that you have to get rid of any low-quality backlinks that are out there, which is harder than it sounds. There are a few steps that need to be taken to ensure you can do this manually.
You have to figure out how to find the spam links before you can do anything. Even if your site hasn’t been affected by the search engine updates, it’s good to perform a backlink scan anyway just so you know exactly who is linking to you.
The low-quality links that have been addressed with the Penguin 2.0 update include those that:
If backlinks have any (or all) of these qualities, they should be added to your list of spam links that you need to remove. You don’t want them pointing to your website.
You always have the choice to do absolutely nothing, but if you do have spam links and you have even received a Google warning with a caution symbol in the email, it means that some spam links have been detected. If you choose to do nothing, you are going to see your ranking go down and potentially your site traffic will drop as well. This is because the spam links are causing you to look bad in the search engines and you may not appear in the first or second page anymore.
Many people will simply 404 the page that the link is pointing to. Essentially, this means getting rid of the page so that it’s no longer there. This is likely going to fix the problem because the Google Webmaster Forum has said that a 404 page is not counted by Google.
If you were to 404 a page, it isn’t going to make your site very search engine friendly. No one wants to encounter 404 pages when they are navigating.
Also, if the spam link is pointing to your home page or a page that you want to rank within the search engines, you don’t want to 404. Otherwise you are going to have the page that you need missing.
One of the popular ways for manually removing a spam link that points to your website is requesting a link removal. You have to dig up the contact information of the webmaster and ask them to remove a link that is on the site. In most instances, you probably put the link there in the first place and now you have to ask for it to be removed.
There are link management tools as well as outsourcing services on Odesk and Fiverr that can do some of this for you.
When you write a link removal request, go at it gently. Don’t make a demand. Simply ask that it be removed and tell them why. If a link is in a comment and you didn’t put it there, be sure that you mention that in the request. You can also mention that Sprint was recently penalized by Google for spam comments.
If the linking site has a lot of spam on it, you may want to mention that if they do not adhere to your request that you will have to disavow their links. This could end up hurting their page rank – and they don’t want that to happen.
If you have done all that you can to remove some of the links that are out there but they are still not helping you to get the ranks and traffic that you need, it may be time to use the disavow tool that is available so that you can get rid of all of the other spam links that are out there.
Google wants you to clean up your links using ever other means possible before you go right to this tool. This means that you may want to delete links if you can or contact the webmasters of the site. If you are still unsuccessful, only then should you use this tool. If your site ranking is being harmed by the low-quality links, you can include the link that is pointing to your site. This disavow tool will ensure that Google doesn’t use the links against you.
There have been rumors that humans are the ones looking at the disavow requests. If you submit a ton of requests without having evidence of trying to remove them on your own, you could get hit with a special manual penalty from Google.
There is another way of getting rid of the spam links and that involves starting with a clean slate. If you haven’t invested a lot into your website and it’s still relatively new, you may want to get rid of the domain and start with a new one. This is going to wash away all of the spam links out there so that it’s one less thing for you to worry about.
Ultimately, you have to weigh the options to see which method is going to work best for you. Before you do anything, you have to see how many spam links are pointing to your website. If you are in the single digits, it’s likely going to be something that you can clean up on your own. However, if you are in the double or even triple digits, you’re going to need some help. You cannot submit all of the links into the disavow tool without trying to get rid of them on your own.
You have to be careful about what spam links are pointing to your site, especially if there are multiple things wrong with the website. One or two may not be so bad because they won’t impact your overall rank. However, if you begin to have so many spam links that it’s affecting ranking and traffic, you are going to have to do all that you can to get them removed. Seeking help to write the letters and make improvements may be the best way. Ditching a particular page may also be what needs to happen.
The good news is that there are multiple ways to manually remove spam links from sites that are pointing to your website. You may have put them there yourself prior to learning about the rules of SEO and before the last Penguin update. Now that Google and the other search engines are cracking down on what will and won’t help you with SEO, you have to clean up your reputation online. If after submitting requests to webmasters proves unsuccessful, the disavow tool should be your last resource – but a resource that may help to save your website from the spam links that are currently dragging it down.
Everyone’s situation is different, so knowing about the various ways will ensure you choose the best method for you.