So, the good news is that Google has released a brand new tool that assists weary webmasters with cleaning up messes that they or someone else made.
The bad news is that these webmasters and/or search engine optimizers need to find a way to fit this in amongst all of the other tools on their belt without getting carried away.
Let’s not forget that search engine optimization is a proactive process – not a passive one. Spending most of your time trying to change the past is not time well spent if it takes precedence over building great, engaging content that can be shared and spread (for reference, I would spend no more than 10-15% of my time on this).
With this in mind, let’s create a step-by-step list of how to export a .CSV containing links to your site, then how to spot low-quality links. Please note that all instructions below are dependent upon your site being verified on Google Webmasters.
- Go to Google.com/webmasters and log into your account
- Select your site
- Select Traffic and Links To Your Site
- Select Download Latest Links (This is important for sites who have received an “unnatural links notification”)
- Export to .CSV or Google Docs
After exporting this spreadsheet to whatever format suits you, it’s examination time. If you or your client received an unnatural links notification, then I would advise looking at the sites linking to yours around the date of detection. For example, you wouldn’t start looking for low-quality links in October 2012 if you received a notification in June 2012.
Now, it’s time to identify potential low-quality sites. What defines them? The checklist below should cover the fundamental tells of a low-quality site.
- Advertising is everywhere! From the header to the sidebar to the footer and beyond. Advertising is a natural component of the internet. However, when it’s done wrong, you know. And, there is something fishy about a site that has a banner front and center.
- Content is surrounded by exact match anchor text.
- Content itself is poorly constructed. This includes grammar mistakes, evidence of spinning and lack of thought.
- Site looks unprofessional and lacks credibility.
Before attempting to disavow any links, try to contact the webmaster of low-quality sites via http://whois.domaintools.com/. I would only suggest disavowing any links if you received an unnatural links warning and the sites’ webmasters don’t respond.
For a more detailed and informative list of how to spot poor links and what to do thereafter, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!