Protect Your Site from Harmful Links: Google’s War on Over-Optimization and You
As of March 2012, Google has declared war on over-optimized websites and low-quality blogs. Within days of their announcement, thousands of blogs vanished from Google’s search results page, deemed over-optimized or low-quality. Even seemingly legitimate blogs were caught in the crossfire, informed by Google that they had to shape up or be kept out of search results.
What does this mean for your blog? It means that hoarding links isn’t going to fly anymore. You’ll need to stay away from harmful links that can actually negatively affect your ranking. Unfortunately, this is a nightmare at best, considering the difficulty involved.
The first thing you should do is to reassess the quality of backlinks to your site. To do so efficiently, you’ll need two things.
- Microsoft Excel
- SEO Tools for Microsoft Excel or NetPeak Checker
You’ll need to start by collecting linking root domains. Unfortunately, you can’t just rely on one service to figure this out. Utilizing a variety of tools is best to get a good idea of what’s linking to you. Backlinks from the same root domain should be reduced to one entry. You’re looking to get a list of different sites linking to you, not all the backlinks.
Once you’ve got a sizeable list of linking root domains, it’s time to check out their Pagerank. A pivot chart on Excel should help determine whether or not adjustments need to be made. If you’re getting a lot of backlinks from low ranked pages, you’ll need to change a few things to keep your site safe. Work out just how many of those linking root domains aren’t indexed. NetPeak Checker will help you do that without too much trouble. You can also consider social metrics distribution or how much they’re mentioned on social networks to determine whether they’re about to get de-indexed.
You need to keep doing this four to five times a month to keep track of the quality of your linking root domains. This will inform you of the future of your website, as having them de-indexed will directly impact your search engine ranking and future hits.
More and more websites everyday are dropping from the first page due to Google’s attempt to weed out linking campaigns and over-optimization from their results list. Big websites and trusted brand names probably won’t be affected by a number of dead linking root domains. However, unless your site is one of those big names, chances are that you’ll need to rethink your link building campaign.
Fixing it is simple – you’ll need to reduce unnatural links and make your anchor text distribution a lot more organic and natural. You’ll also want to work at making your PageRank distribution more balanced by reducing the number of dead links pointing at your site. Keep in mind that low-quality links will always come up – you’ll just need to balance it out with better ones.
What does this mean for you in the long run? It means that there is no shortcut to getting search engine legitimacy. Planning on which backlinks to create becomes doubly important. You’ll need to put more time into your website to make it successful. The good news is that if you’re putting up quality, it’ll win out eventually as the lower-quality sites slowly get weeded out and removed from search engine results altogether. It may seem shaky at the start, but it’ll work out in your favor in the end.