Knowledge Base

SEO: Disavowing Backlinks & Bad Neighborhoods

Links, link juice, page rank, and link quality – these terms are often thrown out in the world of search engine optimization. If you go to Google Webmaster Tools you can look under Search Traffic for Links to Your Site to see how many links you have to your website. This list is then downloadable to review for the value of these links. The process is reviewing the backlinks to see if they are from reliable sources and good neighborhoods. Webmaster Tools Links to Your Site As you can see above on the view into Webmaster Tools there are millions of links from Polyvore a social site and next from Pinterest, another social site. Although the numbers are high this is because each board with a pin from your site is seen as a new link, these links are not bad. However, many of the other links are from spammy directories, non-related blogs, paid online press releases, and other neighborhoods that may have once been paid links. I want to pause and be clear that paid links are BAD and paying for online press release distribution no longer has value either. According to Google’s Disavow Backlinks page, paid links and other schemes violate their quality guidelines. If you are looking to increase the links to your site or referrals then look to other sites you and your customers would be interested in that are related to your business. This goes back to neighborhoods – a good neighborhood is related to your site and a bad neighborhood is spammy and has nothing to do with your website content. Avoid sites that are not related. Blogs are good if they are related to the content and products from your website. Examples of backlink neighborhoods Once you have identified a list of bad links then you can disavow these backlinks in Webmaster Tools. You could also contact sites and request them to remove links leading to your site. To be clear, disavowing links does not divert traffic coming to your site from other sites – it only lets Google know to ignore the links listed from entire domains. Now create a text spreadsheet with the line, no header or additional information is necessary (see below). Then go to this Webmaster Tools link and upload the list to your account. Be sure you are careful not to disavow good links. With some blogs you disavow the domain not sub-domain and it can result in lost value of quality blogs within the same domain. Spreadsheet example for disavowing links

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