Backlink Pruning: A Staple 'Best' Practice, Especially in Penguin’s Aftermath
Many direct marketers are familiar with the practice of list hygiene. In a nutshell, it's going through your email file, looking at inactive, duplicate or bad emails, and removing them or "purging them" from your list.
Having a "clean" list means it's more relevant and responsive.
The same holds true for backlinks … especially in lieu of recent Google algorithm updates like last year's Farmer/Panda and this year's Penguin, which penalize websites for low quality irrelevant content and backlinks.
It's always a best practice, from a search engine hygiene standpoint, to monitor and "prune" your backlinks to make sure you don't have spammy or irrelevant websites linking back to you.
And now more than ever, with Google's latest update, it's prudent to check your own website's backlinks to ensure those who are linking to you are relevant and synergistic to your own site's content.
Here's what you need to know (and do!):
First, check out some free online tools that do this, known as "backlink checkers." Some that I use are:
- www.online-utility.org/webmaster/backlink_domain_analyzer.jsp; and
But there are many out there. You can simply type a search for "free backlink checker tool" and see which one appeals best to you.
Second, after you plug in your website's URL in the backlink checker tool, go down the results list and see who's linking back to you. Note: This is a laborious process, but well worth it; especially if you noticed your traffic and SERP placement dropped recently and you may have speculated that Penguin is to blame.
Next, identify the sites that appear to be irrelevant and non-related to your website—a site in a totally different industry or one that is blatantly spam. Then it's simply the manual process of visiting the bad backlinks website and contacting them to remove the link going to your site.
Often referred to as the "marketing maven" by industry peers, Wendy Montes de Oca, MBA has nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, media, and publishing with expertise in multichannel, direct response, and Web marketing. Wendy has generated more than $150 million in total revenues for Fortune 500 companies, top publishers, consulting clients, and her own firm, Precision Marketing and Media, LLC. She is the creator of the groundbreaking SONAR Content Distribution Model and author of the best-selling book Content Is Cash: Leveraging Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic, Sales, Leads and Buzz [Que Publishing, Paperback].