How to Remove Poor Links

Ever had an Unnatural Link Warning?

It can be a MAJOR problem and although you may not be the cause of the warning, it is now your problem to fix.

So, assuming you have received the dreaded message in Webmaster Tools, what do you do?

Well, you can start just by looking at Webmaster Tools. On the left, click “Search Traffic”, then “Links to your site”.

This will show you a list of links to your site, in order by the number of links from each of those individual sites. You will easily be able to see if a site is sending too many links. Now, if the number of links from an individual site is a large proportion of the total links to your site you may need to get them removed.

Also look at the “Most linked content” to see if a large number of links are being sent to a small number of pages. 1000 links to your homepage looks bad. This will either be an ad, a blog roll mention or a link in the footer of every page.

This links will probably be causing more harm than good and in most cases can be removed.

Google gives you a lot of help of where to go from there.

By downloading the “Download more sample links” and “Download latest links” list from the “Who links the most” section in Webmaster Tools you will have all the information you need for the next stage.

Firstly, combine all the links into one spreadsheet and remove the duplicates. Use a tool such as Xenu or Screaming Frog to find out which of those links are live. Separate the live form not-live into two separate sheets.

Now the real work begins. There is no easy way to do this other than manually going through each individual link.

Look to see if the page loads. If not, then mark your spreadsheet accordingly. If it does load, search the source code of the page for your domain name. If it is not there then mark it as “Link removed” and move on.

If the link is there, check to see if the link is a good one. If it is there but the link is “No follow”, mark that on your spreadsheet and move on to the next link. If the link is there, it is “Do follow” and it is a poor quality link, mark this on your spreadsheet as a link that needs to be removed. Otherwise, mark the link as “Good”.

So now you have a list of links to your site divided into 3 categories

Link Removed – Link no longer exists
No Follow – Link Exists but has been nofollowed
Remove – The link exists, is low quality and should be removed

The list of links to remove is now where your focus must be. You can either use a tool to contact each webmaster automatically to ask for the link to be removed, or given the nofollow attribute. Or, depending on the number of links and the time you have, you can contact each site individually yourself.

Now, the last resort, a disavow request. All this information you have gathered and work you have done can be used as proof to Google you have tried to get the poor links removed. Give a detailed report when submitting the request and attach any and all documents you have, the more information the better.

Then… hope it works out.