When I started working as an SEO consultant all those years ago I never imagined that by 2013 I’d have to unpick all the hard work I’d put in for my clients over the years, furthermore I’ve been speaking to a number of people looking for someone to sort out the link mess they’ve been left by their previous agencies – it doesn’t make it any easier when you’re having to unpick someone else’s work either!
This is one of the worst jobs you’re likely to do in SEO, it truly is terrible. The first tip I can give you on link removal is the software doesn’t work. The software that it out there to help you find and therefore removed links is supposed to hunt down problem links and then find you the contact details of site owners so you can contact them. Don’t bother, you won’t get very far. You will find some but there is so much manual intervention in looking at every link it spits out to work out if you think it should stay or go. If there has been a lot of SEO done on the site, you can rest assured there is going to be a lot of manual intervention.
Which links need to be removed from a websites link profile?
The links that are going to be causing you the most trouble are the links from the sites that have been set up to get people links, if they’re still up there after all the algorithm changes you can be sure the site owner isn’t really that bothered about whether the site has your link on it or not.
The most important thing is to try to get rid of the really damaging links – ie the blog networks, the other stuff can still be in situ and not do you too much damage but from what I can see it’s the blog networks that are really the problem link Google’s recent updates were targeting.
How to Disavowing Links Through Webmaster Tools
Once you’ve got the links you want to target you then head over to Google’s disavow link tool in Webmaster tools, upload the file and bosh you’ve dealt with the problem. Well so far so good. I still believe it’s important to try to get the links removed to be extra safe for the future. After all as an freelance SEO consultant I’ve learned one thing over the years: Google moves the goal posts – often, be one step ahead of the game, if you are disavowing links you are letting them know where the SEO has been done which is a bit like laying a breadcrumb trail that may harm you even more. The best policy in my opinion is tidy up as much as possible yourself then get Google to disavow the rest.