Quite a few websites have been penalized due to the presence of unnatural links pointing to their website. although this has shocked many, the smart and informed SEOs have gone back to their drawing boards and put their client websites back on track by taking corrective action and removing penalties stuck to the respective websites.
Why were you hit?
To be brief anchor text at the bottom of a client websites were deemed unnatural. Most web designers had their company name at the bottom of client websites which linked back to the design firm. This was violating Google’s guidelines. Another important issue apart from unnatural links was the presence of poor content on webpages. Those sites that rectified this issue were back on track.
What you can do to improve?
Get in touch with webmasters and start the process of link removal. Presence of spammy links will harm your client’s site. There are several tools available for link recovery which can be used to automate this process. Google’s webmaster tool is one such tool, however, you can shop for one that suits you best.
Once you have decided on the tool send out emails to webmasters requesting them to remove unnatural links and bad links. However, collect as much data as you can before you undertake this exercise.
Document your corrections
Prepare a spreadsheet, preferably Google docs, and record all your actions about link removal. This spreadsheet will come in handy when you have to request Google for reconsideration. Make sure you have all the contact details like email address, website contact form, Twitter URL, Facebook URL, Google+ URL, LinkedIn URL, Dates of contacts, and Link status at the bottom of each spreadsheet. This will indicate Google how much efforts you are taking for cleaning up your act.
Spotting poor quality links
Link building happens over a period of long time and it is not so easy to identify bad links. The best way is to manually review each link. Include all the good and bad links in the spreadsheet. Links from reputed sites are generally good links so don’t remove them. Classifying good links is not easy, but all articles written by you which were detailed, good to read, and have acquired links can be considered as good links. In the same way if you are listed on website along with 8000 other links then that is bad link. These are links specifically posted for SEO purposes and can be considered as bad and spammy links.
Find Webmaster contact details
Collect as much details as you can of webmasters as you will have to contact them to request link removal. Details like email address, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and website contact forms. Some of this information is easy to obtain while for others you will need to spend some time.
Reach out to such webmasters
Send emails, but don’t overload their inbox with repeated reminders. Be polite and request a favor. Try to be their friend as hurting a friend does not please anyone. Address them by their first name and under no circumstance threaten them with consequences. Give the details of the domain you want your link removed from. Keep the letter short and address the issue at hand.
Use the disavow tool
Data that cannot be removed should be disavowed. Please read earlier posts as we have dealt with this technique in some detail.
Submit a reconsideration request to Google
This is the final step you need to take. Send in your request to Google for reconsideration and confess the malpractices you have indulged in and inform that you have rectified your mistakes and fixed the problems. Assure them that such a thing will not happen again and let them know of the corrective measures you are taking at your end like training your staff, etc.
Now wait patiently
Now that you have taken all the steps there is nothing more you can do. Sit back and relax and wait. Very soon you should get an email in your inbox acknowledging your mail and you will be back on track.