Unnatural Links – What are They and How to Find Them?
Back in 2012 Google introduced the so-called “unnatural links penalty” and this action largely changed the way SEO is done. What is unnatural linking and what you should be familiar with? This article will provide useful information on the subject.
What are unnatural links?
The definition of the term is quite ambiguous but according to Google itself, these are links created with the ambition of manipulation the site’s ranking in the search machine. The links may be both outgoing or leading to your page.
We say the term is ambiguous because, after all, the main purpose of link building is exactly to manipulate the ranking of websites and to improve it, so it isn’t clear what is considered as a manipulation.
Happily, we can offer some examples that we believe illustrate the idea in a better way. Thus, unnatural links are:
- Links coming from web pages that are simply established to offer links for the needs of SEO;
- Links coming from blogs;
- Links coming from websites that are not consistent;
- Links that are included into a given article in an inconsistent manner;
- Outgoing links to sites that aren’t related to your own page;
- Comments in online forums and message boards that involve signatures with highly optimized links;
- Links that are made by means of automation;
- The practice of excessive link exchanging which is done to enhance the ranking of your page;
- Creating websites that are only used to build links from them to other pages;
- Links coming from directories with poor quality.
The list can go on forever without providing more clear and simple definition of unnatural links.
How to find unnatural links and eliminate them?
You need to detect and eliminate the unnatural links but this requires extra care and time. If you remove a large number of links, your ranking will inevitably be affected. Keep in mind that you should not eliminate natural links. This applies to links with poor quality, too. The links that need to be eliminated, are those that you have built or you believe were created to cause damages to your ranking.
Your first step should be to make a detailed and thorough analysis of all your inbound links. You can use a few tools for this purpose, such as the Webmasters Tools, the Open Site Explorer or the Majestic SEO.
As most web masters know, you simply can’t check each and every link, so you should concentrate your time and efforts in two main categories: identify all site-wide links and the keywords that are excessively used.
Unnatural links are a serious problem that may lead to a penalty, so you should find and eliminate them. This task takes time and cause some stress. Trying to eliminate these links, many web masters remove other valuable links and this affects the rankings of their websites. That is why you should undertake the task with great care and attention.