Have you gone over board with your link building?

Old school SEO techniques was founded on the basis that the more in bound links your website had, the better your rankings. This led to an explosion of SEO companies offering link building services all at rock bottom prices. Companies would sign up, pay a few hundred dollars, get a thousand links and watch their rankings rise. This was how it worked and boy o boy did it work well. That is until Google realised what was going on (they probably knew this all the time) and rolled out algorithmic updates to penalise this type of SEO practice.

The issue nowadays is that this type of link building still exists and is in my opinion stronger than ever. So the question has to be asked: ‘ has your website got too many inbound links and if so, how can you determine this and what can you do about it’?

Has my website got too many inbound ‘spammy’ links?

This is very easy to determine. All you need to do is login to your webmaster tools Google account and check the amount of inbound links. If what you see is frightening or you simply don’t know how to do this or how to interpret the information, the best thing you can do is consult with a professional SEO agency.

It is hard to determine if your website has too many links as a majority of these could be high quality links that you want to keep. If this is the case you will know this immediately. A quick scam should reveal the answers. For example, if you are a doctor and have noticed in bound links from non medical related sites, then these could be deemed to be inorganic links and need to be addressed. However, if you notice links from other websites that have a medical theme to them or are in some way medical related, then you should probably keep these.

I need to point out here that you should also look to see where these links are pointed to on your website. If, like in so many cases, they are only pointing to the home page then this again could appear as though there is some unnatural link building activity happening. What you should be seeing is a natural back linking profile that is spread evenly throughout your site and not just aimed directly at promoting the home page. That is, all pages throughout your site should have in bound links pointing to them. This is the ideal scenario and is the way a proper SEO campaign in implemented.

Let me elaborate on this point as it can confuse some people. Think of it like a set of scales. If you put too much weight on 1 end ( your home page)  they will tip and Google will notice this and end up penalising your website. What needs to be done is an even set of back linking to each page. This will keep the scales nice and even and in turn, your rankings will start to rise.

It’s all about being natural with your linking and if at any time you have been non compliant, Google will 100% for sure find out and this will end up with serious consequences for your internet marketing.

The trick to any SEO campaign is to get the best, most authoritative, industry related links pointing towards your website, in a balanced way. It’s mot rocket science but the number of businesses that still practice back linking in a non- compliant manner astounds me.

Why do businesses have this type of inorganic link building?

I could go on about this point for pages, but let me simplify this by saying that it’s not their fault, but the fault of the SEO company they use. Many Australian businesses get duped, suckered into using dodgy SEO providor because they tend to believe the lies they spin. It’s very common and once they sign up they are subjected to the worst type of SEO imaginable, including really horrific link building practices. These SEO companies quote such low prices to get business, that the links they build are just crap. Hence websites suffer the fatal consequences that Google dishes out.

So what can you do about fixing this issue?

If you have noticed a serious drop in your Google rankings then this is a sure sign that there is a problem and this problem is without doubt your inbound links.

If you are using an SEO agency and have noticed this decline in rankings, following is a list of things you need to implement ASAP.

1) Terminate the SEO contract. Anything these guys are doing is bad for your website and will be doing more damage. Just get out of there.

2) You need to assess the situation and take action to start what we term ‘ link pruning’. That is, trimming and deleting most of the links that were built for your website. This is a whole other area that I don’t want to go into here, but let me just say that you need a professional team for this. Don’t what ever you do, try this yourself and never contact Google about this issue without the proper advice. A big issue here is that you may have thousands of inbound dodgy links so how are you going to get rid of them all. It’s nearly impossible to do this but you MUST show Google that you have made a legitimate attempt. It’s almost like you have to show Google that you know that you have made a mistake (even though it’s not your fault – but it is in a kind of weird way cause you chose the wrong SEO agency), swallow your medicine, admit the mistake, say you are sorry and that you will never do it again and hopefully they will reinstate your rankings.

3) Once you have pruned as many links as you physically can you then have to go into Google and ask them to ‘disavow’ the remaining exiting links. That is tell Google that you do not want them to count these links as part of your ranking profile.

If you feel as though you have too many in bound links then you need to mitigate any issues that may arise. If you have dodged the Google bullet then you are one of the lucky ones. But, rest assured sitting back and doing nothing is not the way to go. Eventually, it will catch up with you.