Ever since Google launched their infamous Panda and Penguin algorithmic updates, the search playground has been pretty shaky. We have seen much turbulence in these two years, big websites, small websites, blogs, forums and anyone depending on content is not “safe” anymore (traffic wise). Its synonymous to a mob war where noone knows whats happening as Google’s algorithm keeps changing tracks and filters the so called “low quality” content from the web.
Since this site was also affected in Panda update (not penguin), I have been re-inventing the wheel and working on the basics from the last two years. I have slowed down posting, do not write on daily routine stuff and trying to bring a new focus to the blog. This is important because what used to work earlier won’t work now and change demands another change.
Moving on, I have been very strict with links (both internal and external) on this website. I have been closely monitoring who links to my website and whether those links can harm my site in an upcoming algorithmic update.
Low Quality Backlinks Can hurt your Website
Previously, Google had explicity said that links to your site can either help your site rank better or it will have no effect whatsoever on your ranking. Precisely, incoming links to your website can never be harmful. This is logical because you don’t control who links to you and you cannot stop people from linking to you. So incoming links to your website or blog didn’t had the priviledge of hurting your website.
Sadly, this has changed drastically in a post panda/ penguin world.
Low quality incoming links to your website can harm your rankings. More importantly, your site may get cuaght in an algorthmic filter and Google may start to think that your website is also a low quality one.
Let’s take an example to understand this context more closely.
Let’s say you run a blog on beauty tips. You have a decent amount of content up there and you have relevant sites linking to your content. Life’s good.
Now a whole bunch of sites start linking to different pages of your website in no particular order. Google somehow can detect whether links are manual, automated or spam links and it ignores the major chunk of spammy links that are generated by bots and spiders. So you don’t have to worry about automated links that have a short life span, Google themselves filters spammy links.
However, there is a catch and a hack for everything. Some links may slip through their algorithmic filter and this is where the problem starts.
Is there are porn or malicious sites linking to your website that are not caught by Google’s algorithmic filter, you may be caught up in Google’s algorithmic update (which is now a rolling update and incorporated in Google’s algorithm). Precisely, Google may start to consider your website as a low quality site and this can hurt your website’s traffic, visibility, reputation and trust.
I have been extremely careful for the last 6 months and I have been moderating each and every link that my site gets from each and every site. I prefer using Google webmaster tools but I also use XENU’s Link sleuth to fix internal and external links.
Tips From Matt Cutts – Use Google’s Disavow Links Tool For Bad Links
Google Engineer Matt Cutts has recently published a video on YouTube regarding what you should do if you see tons of bad links coming to your website. Matt says
If you see a lot of bad links and want to say Google that you are not related to the concerned website, simply login to your Google webmaster tools account and use the Disavow tools feature. When you use the Disavow tools feature, we will know that you want us to completely ignore particular links that you have disavowed.
Also, you can do a domain specific disavow meaning, you would want all the links from an entire domain to be completely ignored. This is important, because if there are tons of sites linking to you and you want Google not to take them into cinsideration, you should regularly tell Google that these sites have nothing to do with your content and you do not want the association.
Disavow requests helps Google keep thier algorithms one step ahead and it also helps you shut off the doors for spammers.