It is always alarming when a customer has been misinformed and comes to us requesting something based on a misnomer.
The big one currently is an advertiser requesting a link be removed because Google has warned them that the link is bad = tut tut, not true!
- Google may consider a link is bad, but would NEVER reveal details of a specific link
- Google may suggest backlinks be looked at but would not reveal which links were bad
A typical email request sounds like this..
We have received notification from Google that our site does not comply with their terms and can you kindly remove the link to…
Google + Penguin
The SEO landscape changed dramatically in 2012 due to Google’s Penguin update, which made it more difficult to boost rankings through bad SEO tactics.
While a customer will receive an unnatural link warning from Google, it does not detail which links are bad leaving the customer to decide. Unfortunately this is where it all goes pear shaped for self-managed SEO webmasters.. they request removal of ALL backlinks = bad mistake – big no no!
There is NO way knowing which link are the bad and which are good so every individual link has to be independently evaluated. Not as as a whole, but each link. Link building is still a viable aspect to SEO, so if along with removing the bad links you remove good links, you will take one step forward and two steps back.
How good or bad is link building… we believe that good and honest link building is alive and well, and valued by Google. The old fashioned, hey mate, I’ll recommend your service on your web site (by placing a link to it) if you reciprocate and recommend mine (by linking back). This was the basis of how it started before the SEO gurus moved in.
You have to carry out a link audit to determine which links need to be removed and which can be kept.
However this raises another potential problem, as removing all your bad links could potentially be as bad as not removing any at all. Google doesn’t know about all bad links, so its possible some (bad links) will be contributing to your search rankings, so if you manage to identify some potentially bad links it’s likely that Google only thinks that some of those links are actually bad. So removing all of them might be as bad for your rankings as getting penalised – it’s about balancing the risk.
So, the moral of this story… just because Google warns you about bad back links, don’t assume they are all bad!
Evaluate each backlink and then decide whether to request its removal.
Here are your options:
- If the link is a ‘rel=nofollow‘, then disregard it because Google won’t follow it.
- Request link removal and pay a removal cost
- Submit Disavow Request through Google Webmaster Tools