Last week we talked about the upcoming Penguin update. Google has just announced that, instead of rolling out the update right before Christmas, they’re taking pity on eCommerce sites and delaying it until early next year. Don’t start celebrating yet, though. It’s still coming. What I said last week still holds: you’ve got to disavow all the spammy backlinks on your site before the new update becomes active.
OK, you’re taking a look at the list of all your current backlinks, how are you to know whether they’re legitimate or spam? Which ones should you remove? You probably won’t get them all, but following four simple rules will take care of the majority of them.
Get rid of all the backlinks in these four categories:
- They’re anonymous. Do a “Whois” search on Google to find the owner of the site. If they’re anonymous, the odds are good that the site is set up only to create links, meant to get around Google. Not all anonymous sites are spammy, but you can’t go wrong getting rid of all the ones you find.
- They’re connected with anchor text. If the anchor text connecting your sites is a keyword string, the odds are good that the site is using yours to increase their link count. If your anchor text list has hundreds of links, it’s time to start pruning it.
- The content is bad. Follow the link and read a few pages of the site that’s linking to yours. If you wouldn’t be proud to send your readers to that site, get rid of the link immediately.
- You paid someone to create the link. If you’ve paid an SEO company in the past to work on your site, you’ve probably got links in there that can hurt you.
It’s important that you disavow these links right away before Google rolls out the update. Then sit back and enjoy a glass of holiday cheer, knowing your site is safe.
Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.