When it comes to on-site SEO optimization, the success of website promotion in search engines depends on two the most important factors: the inner site condition and its link popularity. Link-building strategy, so far, is one of the most important things when it comes to website promotion.
The more links point to your site, the higher is website credibility. Webmasters try to manipulate the SERPs, making different sites point to their resources. Thus, search engines work on improving their algorithms targeted at unnatural and artificial backlinks. However, one may hardly achieve good results without so-called “unnatural” links (bought links, or gained in other unnatural way). That is why you need to follow certain rules when getting new backlinks in an unnatural way:
• Vary anchors – More than 30-40% of inbound links with keyword-rich anchors will most certainly look suspicious to search engines. There must be brand anchors except of commercial anchor texts. If too many backlinks pointing to a site have keyword-rich anchors, the site may get hit by search algorithm changes or manual actions can be taken by web spam team towards such site.
• Vary referring domains – Huge amount of backlinks leading from a small number of domains can be treated negatively. For example, so-called site-wide links are not helpful in case you want to improve the site credibility. The higher is the quantity of unique referring domains, the higher is website credibility.
• Make sure the links are from trustworthy sites, and what is even more important – Those sites should be relevant to the pages’ content they lead to. Backlinks from trustworthy sites of closely related niche help establish your site as a reputable website in your industry.
• Vary DoFollow / NoFollow backlinks – NoFollow inbound links do not bring any link juice. However, 100% of DoFollow backlink mass looks pretty suspicious to search engines as well. So you need to vary them as well.
• Get social – Social media are getting more and more important with every year, and so the success of any website pretty much depends on attracting social mentions, gaining likes, retweets and +1s. Social popularity may become one of the most important ranking factors in the future. That is why it is worth stimulating your customers and visitors to your site to click social buttons in order to share the content on the pages on your site via social media.
Being one of the greatest parameters that influence site rankings, link-building strategy is worth thorough planning and certainly one will need to perform competitive link analysis to find out what are the sources for the backlinks that bring the most link juice to competitors’ sites in a certain niche.
It’s good to know what you need, and those are backlinks, you need a lot of them, you know what they should be like, but the question that is still to be answered is, “where to get those links from?”
Toolkit for DIY Competitive Analysis
Except of the number of backlinks, the number of referring domains, IPs, etc. this tool allows tracking the sources of the juiciest backlinks your competitors were able to gain. This can give you quite good hints regarding the prospective sources of inbound links:
News/Lost links (to study the dynamics):
Top pages linked (to check what content people actually want to read and share, or what brings real value to your target audience, depending on a niche):
SEMrush is one of the greatest tools to use while performing the competitive analysis, because here you can obtain a great Backlinks report:
The following data are available in this report:
• List of backlinks pointing to requested domain name:
• List of backlinks pointing to requested host name:
• List of backlinks pointing to requested URL:
It’s a really helpful tool that allows exploring the sources of backlinks, the pages linked and all anchor texts, which is very helpful while one is developing a link-building campaign.
3. SEO SpyGlass
With this tool you can easily figure out what places your competitors gain backlinks from, mirror their strategy, and improve on it:
The great piece of information this tool provides you with is the contact info, where SEO Spyglass tells you how you can get in touch with your competitors’ link partners, and get them to link to your site as well. This way you can take advantage of the most juicy link sources of your competitors. In short, the following important information is available:
anchor texts for the backlinks of your competitors, which allows you developing your link-building strategy wisely, learning from the best highly ranked competitors;
pages linked, as you still need to know what kind of content makes your target audience push the social button;
Webpage PR, so you could take advantage of the juiciest ones;
Domain PR, because we are interested only in those resources Google is supposed to treat as trusted;
Presence in DMOZ and Yahoo! Dir, because these two directories are particularly powerful among all those available on the web, and can bring you substantial value.
Deleting links wisely
But what if it comes to deleting the backlinks once gained? Why may need to delete inbound links that are so hard to gain?
Incoming links may also negatively influence the resource: “bad” resources linking to your site, artificial or unnatural backlinks pointing to your site, all sorts of backlinks that could be intended to manipulate Page Rank, all these may result in manual actions being applied to your site by Google web spam team, or search algorithms targeted at unnatural links hitting your site and its rankings.
If you are preoccupied with low quality or "spammy" links in your website's backlink profile and it comes to finding bad links and removing them you will need some tools in order to increase the efficiency and speed up the process of deleting them.
Let’s face the truth in most cases you may be aware of the links that do harm to your site, you may have bought them yourself previously trusting the resource of the backlink and thinking that those links will bring you link juice. But due to different reasons the situation may be so that the backlink source that was good once turned out to be negatively influencing the rank of your site, or even may be the reason for the search engine web spam team manual actions being applied (if there are lots of such links pointing to your site).
In this case, when you are sure about the links you would like not to point to your site you may use
This tool provides you with possibility to tell Google what links you would like not to be taken into account when assessing your site. However, unfortunately you are not able to delete those bad links in such a way and you still may need to make every effort to clean up bad and unnatural links pointing to your site.
5. Link Detox
In this case Link Detox from Linkresearchtools may help you to analyze the backlinks pointing to your site and to get rid of bad ones (the number of uploaded backlinks depends on your Link Research Tools account level).
With this tool you can check Your Average Link Detox Risk Level.
The report you get from Link Detox displays these below ratings depending on what your average Link Detox Risk score is. It is really important to know the risk level is, to be able to get the insights you need to make changes and to check improvements of the Link Detox Risk level over a period of time.
Link Detox Risk BreakdownHere you can see the Link Detox Risk Breakdown pie chart on the left. You can see at-a-glance backlinks with the highest risk level. On the right, you will see a detailed breakdown of all the possible risk levels with indication of the number of links and percentages.
Get rid of your “unnatural links”
Link Detox is a great tool that divides all domain’s backlinks into 3 categories (toxic, suspicious, or healthy) and is helpful in cleaning up a link profile.
Link profile is analyzed based on a variety factors and SEO metrics, with due regard to known problematic contexts:
• Link Location Problems
• PageRank Punishments
• Links Directory Links
• Article Directory Links
• Link Network, etc.
This kind of report allows you to see at once which of the profile links are extremely harmful, and which links you need to check more accurately.
Contact, Filter and FunctionalityThe integration of web masters’ contacts allows you to send e-mails to those domain owners directly using this tool.
This may be quite time-consuming writing all the webmasters you want to take down backlinks from, and you may disavow a certain set of unwanted links with the help of above mentioned Google’s Disavow Link Tool thanks to its integration with Link Detox tool. But it is still recommended using integrated contact function to get those links completely removed from the web.
Here is another one tool that may be of use whether you’ve found an unnatural links warning in Google Webmaster Tools, or you are trying to lift a manual penalty –
This tool allows you to submit link removal requests to webmasters and domain owners quickly and easily, so one might want to use it to ask webmasters to remove bad links pointing to his or her site.
It works in the following way:
• You add a list of URLs you want to take down;
• rmoov pulls contact information you will need to get in touch with domain owners;
• Then you need to customize email templates, after which you can start your campaign.
• Rmoov creates and sends email, follows up with reminders, automatically checks links, provides a reporting system for domain owners, marks domains cleaned up and auto-fills a record of every step straight into a Google doc so you can see what's happening along the way.
You are notified when webmasters confirm that the liks requested to be taken down are actually removed. If some of webmasters you wrote do not respond Rmoov follows up with reminder emails to those webmasters until your campaign comes to an end.
And one more link removal tool I am willing to suggest is
There are 4 simple steps to take when using this tool:
Step 1: Uncover the Bad Links in your site profile
Just type in the name of a domain you want to clean up from bad links and the tool will grab the links pointing to your site. After that it is much easier to determine which of the links use keyword rich manipulative anchor text, and so need to be removed.
Step 2: Contact webmasters to take those links down
Use Remove'em private email and webmaster contact database to find contact information if there is any available on the web to request links removal.
Step 3: Track your campaign's progress
The system constantly monitors whether the links have been removed. You can easily check your campaign's progress:
number of webmasters contacted;
number of successful link removals;
numbers of unique linking domains remaining.
Step 4: Export the results and submit reconsideration request
Once you were able to remove all the links you considered needed to be removed and feel ready to proceed with reconsideration request to Google, you can export your results, upload them to Google Docs,a and let the Google Quality Team know where the doc is when you file your reconsideration request, so they can see all the efforts you have undertaken to clean up the web link profile.
A link-building strategy carefully thought up and carried out is your ticket to success. Nobody can tell you what is the optimal keyword rich anchor texts distribution, or what will be the next search engine algorithm update targeted at. So a naturally gained link is still the best backlink. Here is some breaking news! Creating unique content that brings particular value to users is a key to success, because this is what most users are willing to share in their social media profiles.
infographic via: matomy
Tracking successful competitors’ backlink dynamics is always a good idea in case you want to achieve the same great results. This might help you find some new and challenging ways of getting good inbound links.
And should it come to deleting bad backlinks (no matter what is the reason, whether search engine didn’t like the way you got them, or once trusted sources turned out to be low quality sites) you know there is a good set of tools that will help you to do this with most efficiency.
Catherine Golovinova – specializes in technical SEO for Promodo. After graduating with a master’s degree in French and English translation and gaining important experience in IT working for a hosting provider company, Katherine started her career in online marketing in 2012 at Promodo. Katherine is very enthusiastic at what she is doing, she enjoys technical SEO and CRO analysis, she truly believes that SEOs create a better web and help the search engines serve better results for the users.
Header image credit: definedcreative.com