How To Know IF Your Backlinks Are Helping or Harming Your Rankings

In 2014 the Google landscape is littered with the ruins of thousands websites that have been affected by the recent Panda and Penguin algorithm changes of these past two or more years.

Websites that once featured prominently and enjoyed the sunny days of free search engine traffic, now lie obliterated in the trenches of page 20 and beyond. Some even worse have lost their souls altogether and have been deindexed completely. Such is the danger of the wrong kind of links pointing at your website in 2014.

What previously was a welcome seo method of gaining prominence for your website, so that it was found by interested parties searching for your good or services, (let’s call this a relevant search result) made the Google search engine what it is today. Being a search algorithm based on the link popularity factor, the whole situation was a win-win for both websites and Google. Now with the search giant a public company, answerable to investors and shareholders, giving it a thirst for higher revenues, the recent changes have been very effective of gathering up the wounded on the battlefield and sheltering them, (at a hefty price), in the sick bay of search called Google Adwords.

Today it is very possible that a negative seo blast of low quality backlinks can take your unsuspecting website to rankings hell. What is not so widely known, is that some of the website implosions are being caused by the presence of outdated, low quality backlinks, often in large quantities, that have produced this dire outcome.

So how to do you determine if your backlinks that point at your website are damaging your rankings or helping?

The following alerts should draw your attention, when doing a inbound link audit on your site. If any of the following situations are found, then the time to act is now if you haven’t been penalized, then the next Google change just around the corner may very well spell the end of the line for your organic search traffic.

Let’s take a look at 7 alarm raising scenarios.

Alert #1: You Have Backlinks coming from a singel page that has over 1,000 outbound links.

Blog posts that have hundreds and thousands of outbound backlinks are usually a sign of auto approved blog comments and the value of these types of  links are very harmful to your sites backlink profile. This low quality link is something that would definitely be worth removing from your link profile, to increase the quality of your inbound links. This may not always be the case but they are definitely worth a closer look before seeking removal or disavowing them.

Alert #2: Multi-Site Backlinks Coming From Websites With The Same C-Class IP Address

This is a clear signal to the ranking algorithm that the links coming from this exact same IP address are being obtained from a link network of blogs or websites. This is a definite red flag to the search engines algorithms. When conducting a link profile for your site, you need to take a close look at IP address match ups, and the C class or third number in the ip address string.

Alert #3: Over Optimized Exact Match Anchor Text Links

In years passed the race to the top of the search results was heralded by the site with the most exact match anchor text links from the most powerful or authoritative websites. Today in 2014 this practice has long since past it’s use by date. It used to be safe in recent years to dilute the percentage of exact match anchors but with the new way the Google algorithm is able to read around a link, this practice is no longer needed and could be causing harm to your rankings. You need to take a look at your linking profile to find out if your exact match anchor links are exceeding 10% and take action to have these removed or disavowed.

Alert #4: Backlink Non-Diversity and Over Optimized Anchor Text

Similar to the above alert, you need to have a natural diversity apparent in your links profile that covers the types of anchors that would occur in the wild, so to speak. Naked links (your website address), brand name links, click here links, more info, this blog, etc.

If you find too little diversity, then it might be time to act on the links that may arouse suspicion and affect your ranking ability.

Alert #5: Site-wide Footer or Blogroll Backlinks

When you find a high number of links coming from a single website, it is usually the work of a site-wide footer, sidebar, blog roll or advertising link. This type of link if it is not nofollowed, can be seen as a manipulate act and draw a penalty from Google.

Site-wide backlinks used to work well but now they should be minimized to reduce the risk of a penalty. When doing a link profile report on your site, make sure to mark domains that are providing this type of link and have them removed or disavowed at a domain level.

This type of link has a high risk of penalty by Google.

Alert #6: Websites Linking To You That Have Deindexed by Google

When a website has been deindexed by Google for violating their search engine guidelines, the presence of links on this site pointing to yours, could have a negative affect on your ranking ability. So when examining your link profile as a result of a backlink audit you should be looking carefully at the Google index of the site and the pages that link to you. Sometimes it may only be a small number of pages that are not indexed and if your site is linked to on these types of pages, it is time to act. It is sound advice to keep your link profile free of banned or deindexed domains.

Here is a simple tip on how to find out if a website is in the Google index. It is called a site colon search and you simply go to google.com and type in, site:linkingdomain.com and hit search.

If a site that is linking to you is in the Google index, the there will be search results listed only for that website. If however the site has been deindexed then it is is going to show no results. To see how easy it is to do a site-colon search, just  watch this video below now.

Alert #7: Backlinks From Suspicious Domains

Easily obtained backlinks count for little with Google, as they value links that should be earned not bought or obtained with ease. Sometimes links can be acquired from risky drug or sex related websites and the presence of these in high numbers can trigger an algorithmic penalty and be the trigger for a manual review by Google. If these types of links are found in sufficient numbers in your link profile, then there are reasonable grounds to act immediately to have these removed. This type of bulk suspicious link can be the work of someone malicously attempting to damage your search profile with a negative SEO attack.

Make no mistake, negative SEO attacks do occur and the sooner you identify this type of harmful website bulk linking to your site, the less likely it is to have an affect on your sites health. Negative SEO attacks usally are spread over a 3 month period, to make it look like you are trying to manipulate the search engines with repeated attempts with this low cost link building strategy, typically driven by some automated spamming process. It is important to note the age of a domain and the PageRank of the site, as usually sites that fit into this suspicious category are not old and have few sites linking to them, a low PageRank or NA ranking and are a high target in the Google algorithm cross hairs.

If you have these types of links in your link profile, then the risk is critical and action must be taken as soon as they are detected. Removal requests and ultimate Google Disavow Links Tool actions are a must when this situation has been discovered.

If you want to remain free of the worry of a negative SEO attack occurring against your domain, they can utilize the services of a link monitor. The process of a link entering the system and registering takes at best two weeks, so once this has been picked up by a monitor, you can act upon it straight away to minimize the potential damage something like this could cause to your business.

To find out more about our link monitoring services, please get in contact today, your website is too valuable financial asset to just leave it to chance and hope for the best.