An Essential Checkup for Your Site’s Health: Backlinks

It’s flu season, so hopefully you’re doing the socially responsible thing and preventing the spread of disease by getting vaccinated.

Your co-workers will certainly thank you, because no one wants to spend his/her time hugging a toilet after proofing your germy client proposal.

But did you know it’s important to give your website regular checkups, too?

Your website’s “health” stems from a combination of factors. If you want to coach your digital presence to SEO gold, you’ve got to make sure it’s fit enough to continue gaining strength and credibility.

Sites infected with bad backlinks have been the source of many an SEO’s sleepless nights, and can now dock your website’s performance dramatically if they aren’t legitimate.

How to Check for Bad Backlinks

Google’s got a tool for that, thankfully. There are many third-party services that can show you backlinks for free, like opensiteexplorer.com. However, from the mouth of Google itself, WMT is more than adequate for the purpose of finding faulty links.

Once you have identified the spammy sites sucking your credibility, you can carefully curate a list of sites, complete with comments, from which you’d like to disavow links. This can be by individual links or entire Broken Links in SEOdomains.

If you know you may have gone through a more taupe or stone-colored hat phase as an SEO, or you hired a third-party service for link building, you can do away with your gray hat days. Include all the links from that chunk of time as ones you would like to cut out.

Breaking Bad…Backlinks

Now that marketers have begun to see the light, and stopped trying to game Google in favor of more legitimate tactics, it’s more important than ever to get rid of bad backlinks and rise back through the SERP ranks (or avoid penalty altogether) before your competitors try to do the same.

For more information on the exact process, see this article by Chuck Price on Search Engine Watch, “How to Use Google’s Disavow Links Tools the Right Way.”

One thing to note – this article takes a more conservative approach to when the tool is appropriate. However, Matt Cutts recently released a video many SEOs have interpreted as a green light for heavier usage.

Do you have any link building horror stories? Share them below.

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