Many businesses know they have to promote their website. The problem is that many will also use some of the less than stellar SEO services – and this can lead to unnatural link warnings from Google Webmasters. This comes as a result of having backlinks in very low ranking websites – and this can happen fairly easily. The solution is to remove these warnings by following a few basic steps.
Why are unnatural links bad?
Before you can focus on removing the warning, you want to understand why it’s a bad idea to have them present. If you have unnatural links and they have been detected by Google, you will likely get an email that says you have to look at your site to make some changes.
It is going to affect your page rank – and you may not show up in Google at all while you work to clear this issue up. Since Google is one of the top ranking search engines, it is important that you are visible to all who are searching for you.
Google may target the unnatural links, your website or both. It is a good idea to clean up the links that you have in order to restore your reputation inside of Google. A penalty can last from 30 days to forever. This means that you will want to learn how to remove the unnatural links warning so you do not have to deal with changing your domain.
Where are your backlinks?
You may not be able to control all of your backlinks. To make it simple, you can download all of the links to your site. This is done inside of the Webmaster Tools home page. Click on your side, then go under Traffic inside the dashboard. You will see “links to your site.” From here, you can see all of the links and determine whether they are of a high rank or not.
You should worry about those that:
Are on low quality sites
Link to duplicate articles and content
Feature duplicate anchor text
Anything that can manipulate page rank can cause the warnings to appear. The Googlebot is programmed to look for these things.
Removing the Bad Links
Google needs to see a good-faith effort from you to clean up as many of the bad links as possible. Since you may not be able to clean up all of them, you need to significantly decrease the bad links that are out there for your website.
You can use such tools as:
Removing pages that are linked to the unnatural links
Google Webmaster tools
You can have success with basic tools, which means there is no reason to use a service that will remove unnatural links for you.
Audit Your Backlinks
You will want to get in the habit of auditing your backlinks on a regular basis. This will help you to see who is linking to you and how their page ranks. There are various tools to help with this. SEO Tools for Excel and URL Tools should be installed to provide assistance. The links can be downloaded from Google Webmaster Tools and then placed into Excel.
Go to the root domain for each link
Check the pagerank
Target the 0-1 pageranks
Follow the same steps for the actual page, not just the root domain
If you have thousands of links, it’s also a good idea to filter in Excel to find the unique domains. Duplicate articles on low quality sites can also be found by using the Page Title in SEO Tools for Excel to help determine what needs to be addressed.
The disavow tool can help you as well. You will be able to submit a list of links to Google in a disavow.txt file. Essentially, this is a tool provided by Google that allows you to identify domains that you want to disavow links from. These will be eliminated when determining your page rank so they do not count against you.
If there is a spammy domain that you worked with prior to learning about good SEO, it may be best to disavow the entire domain as opposed to all of the individual pages from it.
It’s important to do all you can to remove the low quality links from your website – and have your links removed from other websites. Once you have done all you can, disavow is the best tool that you can use so you are not punished by Google for having your link somewhere it doesn’t belong.
When you go to the disavow links tool page, all you have to do is choose your website, click the links, choose the file and let Google take it from there. Google has become very good at identifying low quality links. It may be able to tell you what links are unnatural and that can help you figure out where to begin. If you have noticed volume decrease on certain pages of your website, it may be that Google has already decided to penalize you without you being aware of it.
Play the Waiting Game
When you are trying to market, you don’t want to wait weeks to get your name back out there. However, this may be what you have to do because of the way Google crawls the Internet. Once you have submitted a disavow list, it will take time for the Google spiders to crawl through the web and make the updates.
Before you submit a reinclusion request to Google after getting a manual penalty, you will want to wait a few weeks. This will ensure that you are able to show that your unnatural links are gone are excluded so you can show that you have made a conscious effort to make improvements.
How to Build Natural Links
Now that you know how to get rid of unnatural links, you want to focus on building natural links so you can improve your SEO without getting another Unnatural Links Warning from Google.
You can get other sites to create links to your by creating unique content that is relevant and popular. As people share, it can help to develop a following and gain the attention of other sites of high quality. When you have useful content, it is likely many others will see your content as useful and want to share it with others.
You should avoid:
Cheap SEO services
Low quality, off-topic sites
You don’t want to put your content out there if you think it will end up somewhere that will be put on various low quality sites. Start with high quality content and then be sure it gets submitted to high quality sites.
Google won’t just ignore bad links anymore. They want to be sure people are using the SEO tactics properly. Those who don’t allow for organic link building will be penalized with the warning. The good news is that it is possible to learn from your mistakes and remove unnatural links. It may take a while, so the best solution is to avoid unnatural links from the beginning.
Timothy Carter is the CRO for AudienceBloom. Since 1997 he's been helping businesses maximize their sales revenue from websites via content marketing, SEO and Internet Marketing strategies. Over the years he's written for publications like Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, MarketingProfs and other highly respected online publications.