5 Ways to Machete Your Bad Backlink Profile

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Categories: Search Engine Optimization


Outsourcing links in foreign lands is one way to build a bad backlink profile. Time to cut them loose!

I’m not having flashbacks of cutting through sugar cane fields nor making reference to Jason Voorhees when using “machete” as a analogous tool to cutting off your bad backlinks. I’m actually quoting Matt Cutts (Google) in a forum discussion response to a recent Google algorithm change that targeted websites (with a drop in search rank) that have poor quality / gamed links pointing to them. This measure has become and will continue to be the standard for which websites will be judged in the future. If you have questionable links to your website from questionable websites your online future is in question.

So how does a business owner managing a website with no SEO experience fix this problem that may have been created by ill advised online marketing practices? First you’ll want to punch your website URL into OpenSiteExplorer.org or the more simplified ranksignals.com to view a list of inbound links and associated anchor text to identify poor quality links. After that, follow my advice below.

5 Ways to Remove Bad Links Pointing to Your Website:

1. Contact Your Violating SEO

The chances are that if your website has a poor quality backlink profile then it was likely created by an SEO company that you had secured the services of in the past (or still have in your employee). In this probable scenario you have every right to contact them and have them remove the bad backlinks and provide comprehensive reporting to prove it. Ask them for an SEO Moz “Open Site Explorer” report to show them that you know what you are talking about and to put the fear in them. This will get them to jump to the task and start fixing your inbound link profile.

2. Contact The Violating Webmaster

If you have no recourse with an SEO to handle the task then you’ll have to go the more time intensive (but worth it) route. Contact each individual webmaster where the backlinks exist and respectfully request that they remove the link to your website. There isn’t always a glaring “contact page” on websites to find these webmasters so you can use an online tool like Who.is to hunt down a point of contact.

3. Look in the Mirror

Be honest with yourself and take stock of whether or not you are responsible for creating some of these bad links. Thousands in your shoes before you have done it so don’t fret. This is the easiest bad link quick-fix because you are in possession of the “paper trail”. The most likely scenario here is that you added your website to any and every directory that would have you. Simply identify these directories (dig way back into your memory banks) and take down the links to your website on non-reputable directories that don’t directly relate to your business, product, or service. The identification process is pretty straight forward. For example, if you run a real estate firm and you placed your online details (w/link) on a site that also includes pay-day loans or online dating services it’s a safe bet that it’s not safe to keep your link there.

4. Google Disavow

The Google Disavow tool is the last defensive resort at your disposal. Google wants you to do everything you can on your own before resorting to the disavow process. After following/considering the above tips use the Google Disavow tool to alert Google that you do not want them to consider links to your website from the URLs that you provide them with.

5. Build Good Links Simultaneously

Once of the biggest mistakes that website managers make when undertaking their bad backlink chopping block campaign is to ignore good link building. Removing the bad links can be time consuming but you should not ignore your proactive measures to improve your link profile. Forcing balance in favor of quality links will serve to improve your profile even when you have had little luck in removing the poor quality ones. How do you accomplish this? Create high quality content that becomes link bait, use local SEO tactics that garner community website links, engage in reciprocal link requests with industries that perfectly complement yours (i.e. real estate agent to home staging services), and start prospecting websites where you could contribute content as an authority in your industry. These suggestions are but a few ways to build good links.

Conclusion – I want to stress that although I’m communicating this as a somewhat urgent matter, you shouldn’t get too stressed out about it. Simply begin the process today and slowly chip away at the low quality links pointing to your website and place your primary focus on your business and building quality content for your website. Doing so will in turn encourage quality websites to link to you, naturally.


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