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5 Ways To Recover From Bad Backlinks

Bad BacklinksI hear about this all the time. The other day a semi-friend of mine came to me asking how he could recover from a serious case of bad backlinks. I asked him what he did and what exactly was wrong with his site. He essentially told me he ordered 100,000 backlinks from some dodgy site for $30 and ever since his website hasn’t been showing up  in the search engines. Seriously, when will people learn?

This “friend” – Bob let’s name him, thought he could cheat his way to the top of Google by ordering cheap backlinks. When I asked he hadn’t a clue about the quality of the backlinks he was buying or how they were built. My point is bad backlinks can do a lot of damage. Whether you paid for some shady service, hired a bad SEO, let your friend do it even did it yourself – you’re in a bad place.

It’s hard to undo things in the SEO world. Once you break the trust you have with Google and other search engines – they take a long time to forgive you.  Before I explain how you can recover from bad links, you must be sure the problem is in fact your link profile. There are really hundreds of possible reasons you’re not ranking in the search engines.

You could have a load of crawl errors, severe down time, lots of duplicate content or you could have just been hit by a Google Panda update. Assess what you’ve done in the past month and decide why you really lost/fell in the SERPS. If you think it’s the links, use these simple strategies:

1. Wait

The first thing you can do is absolutely nothing, just wait it out. A lot of the time, TIME will do the job. If you have a ton of sites and don’t mind waiting 1-12 weeks, then wait. However waiting is definitely the worst thing you can do. For example, if you were suddenly hit by a few hundred or thousand spammy backlinks, you could wait it out. If you previously weren’t building any bad links and suddenly had an influx of them, time will fix it. All you have to do is carry on doing what you’ve been doing. When the bad links aren’t your fault – Google will usually resolve the matter.

If you did build a load of bad links, you can wait – but it will take a while. Basically backlinks tend to lose their power over time. If you build a load of high quality links and get to the number 1 spot for your keyword – you won’t remain there forever. Even if your competition have shitty link profiles. Doesn’t matter – you’ll slowly lose your ranking/s over time as your backlinks get devalued. If waiting doesn’t work, you need to move onto strategy 2. Keep in mind that steps 3 and four may do the trick without having to use strategy 2.

2. Build Fantastic Links

I use this strategy around 90% of the time when my sites get hit. It’s the logical answer right? If Google knocks you down a few pages because of spammy links or an aggressive link building strategy, you should build better links right? Well yeah – and here are a few tips…

First, don’t just stop building the spammy links you were before. When Google penalizes you for dodgy backlinks – what are they going to think when the dodgy links just stop being built? Duhhh… They’ll have caught you red handed. So if you’ve been building dodgy links for a long time and have just been penalized; you need to slowly make a transition to a better link building strategy.

Let’s say you were using Scrapebox to throw 2000 blog comments at your site each day. All you’d have to do is slowly build less blog comments while increasing the number of more authoritative backlinks. For example, you could start building 100 less blog comments a day until you reach a sensible 200 daily comments. While doing so, you could be slowly building white hat links:

  • Web2.0 Sites
  • High Page Rank Article Directories
  • High Quality Blog Networks – Not Spun Content Crap
  • Guest Blogging
  • Social SEO

By white hat, I mean non duplicate content links. As let’s face it, Google is getting better and better at identifying duplicate content… Especially when it’s 1 article spun and posted on hundreds of sites all linking to the same few URL’s. How stupid do you think Google is?

So instead what you should be doing is writing decent content and using it to build web2.0 sites and high PR article directory links. On top of that you can be leveraging blog networks, but not the ones that accept spun content. That defeats the purpose of the whole white hat approach. Next you can be getting links from authority sites in your niche by guest blogging and of course using social media. If there’s any fastest thing I’ve used to get my ranking back – it’s social media.

3. Get Rid Of The Pages

This strategy is a little intimidating for most people. It’s practically throwing your hard work down the drain. By get rid of the pages, I literally mean DELETE the pages on your site that have the bad links pointing at them. This strategy won’t work for everyone. Since the majority of most backlinks are built to root domains. If your dodgy links are built to internal pages or posts, just delete them. It almost always solves the problem and leaves your site as clean as whistle.

4. Get Rid Of The Backlinks

Again this strategy isn’t exactly doable for most people… But I’m trying to give you as many options as possible. This strategy will only work for the links you’ve built yourself. If some idiot decided to spam your site with dodgy links then you’re going to have to go another route. However if you’ve built all the links yourself, consider getting rid of them all together. Getting rid of the backlinks altogether followed by some quality link building will RAPIDLY resolve your problem!

In Prosperity,

David Wood

P.S. Leave me your thoughts, comments and questions below. Also put your name and email in the form on the right for more cool SEO tips, tricks and secrets.

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2 comments
Jerry Hoskin
Jerry Hoskin

Good information. Thanks. Just reviewong my site and backlinks and this post will help.

Michael Burns
Michael Burns

Excellent post. Not something I have to worry about personally but I enjoyed the information.

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