How To Clean Up Your Link Profile and Avoid a Penguin 2.0 Penalty

penguin penaltyEver since Penguin 2.0 was released on May 22, SEOs have been discussing and analyzing the update. In the wake of severe penalties, the clear reaction should have been to get rid of any incriminating links, but there are still plenty of webmasters who haven’t cleaned up their link profile.

I know it might be an overdone topic, but here are my two cents. Matt Cutts has already hinted that there are more updates coming, so why would anyone wait to improve their link profile? If you’ve been lucky enough to escape a penalty so far, take action now so that it never happens to you.

What to Watch Out For

Google has strict guidelines about link schemes, and they just got even stricter. To boil it down, Google doesn’t want SEOs manipulating PageRank by paying for links, exchanging links, automating links, or anything else that is highly inorganic.

You never know who might be linking to you, so it’s essential to keep a close watch on your link profile in order to ensure that all of your backlinks are relevant. A link audit may be time-consuming, but it can help you to identify any bad links so that you don’t get penalized.

There are numerous types of links that trigger red flags with Google. Low-quality backlinks that should be removed might include:

–       Site-wide links

–       Links from brand-new domains

–       Links from the same page that has posted spammy links

–       Links from link networks

–       Links from domains with low levels of traffic

–       Links from a site with a virus or malware warning

–       Any combination of two or more of the above

Taking Action

Once your link audit has helped you to identify sub-par links, carefully analyze the situation – don’t rush into a reaction that you may regret. However, you do have to take action. If there are shady links to your site you will absolutely get penalized one day.

One option is to 404 the infected pages, but this option may actually hurt you more than help you if it means that you can’t get a ranking on one of your valuable, optimized pages. A better way to start is to send a link removal request. Be sure to maintain a polite tone, but don’t be afraid to remind the other Webmaster that Google is even cracking down on established companies, so you can’t take any chances.

The next step is to file reconsideration requests – if you get turned down, clean up your link profile again and submit a second request. If all else fails, use Google’s disavow tool to get rid of those unwanted backlinks.

Throughout the entire process of removing bad links, don’t forget to start focusing your energy on gaining healthy links. Organic links are the best way to go, but you have to create an awesome site in order to attract attention organically.

What are your tips for removing bad backlinks?

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Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth Wiltse earned her BA in English at Boston University. Though she currently lives in Dallas, TX, she spent a year in Paris, France after college, cultivating her love of the French language and a passion for travelling. She has spent much of her life developing her skills in the arts, primarily as a ballerina, violinist, and pianist - and now, a writer! Follow her on Twitter!

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