When it comes to link audit for link removals, you not only have to rely on your own judgment, you also have to rely on automation, but this should not be done blindly. And since links are a very essential ranking factor, the audits should be carried out by an experienced link auditor in order to avoid detrimental implications. Below is a step by step guide on how to carry out link audit especially if you are looking for a way to have effective link removal:
START BY RULING OUT ALL OTHER POSSIBILITIES
Today, link removals are the first courses of action that come to people’s mind especially when there are typical negative events such as traffic loss, ranking drops or de-indexation of key pages on a website. However, whenever traffic dips or rankings drop, it doesn’t necessarily mean that links are the sole culprits. There are other reasons that may cause this to happen such as tracking issues, hacking, content issues, technical issues and even outbound linking issues. This means that you can spend a lot of time on link removal when in reality the website is suffering from non-link related issues.
AVOID SOME COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS
If you have lost traffic or rankings and the above first step isn’t giving solutions, then the next thing would be to check out on your backlinks. But you are advised to avoid the common misconceptions when doing this. The common misconception is on the updates. If your site has lost rankings on the dates official updates are rolled out, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your website is immune to all Google updates. You may be surprised that your site has been hit already by other less commonly known updates. Keep an eye on the SERP volatility tools as well as updates from the credible forums in order to make an informed decision.
COME UP WITH A SOLID LINK REMOVAL STRATEGY
The strategy you come up with for link removal should base on factors such as when you have received a manual penalty, when you have lost traffic due to official or unofficial algorithmic update or when you want to remove links to mitigate risks. If your site has received manual penalty, you need to remove as many unnatural links as you can.
But before you start doing this, it is prudent to know the type of penalty you have received. For instance, it could be a keyword level penalty, page level penalty or site-wide penalty, so it is important to figure out exactly the kind of penalty you have received. This way, you will know if to focus on the backlinks pointing to the pages or those pointing to the penalized subdomain or domain.
PERFECT THE PROCESS OF DATA COLLECTION
You should note that relying on link data from the webmaster tools alone is just not enough. It therefore beats logic to try to combine link data from several data sources. You can include all data from some of the services with the biggest indexes, as well as the ones provided by the major search engines. You want to be in charge of the data you are going to analyze in order to get the best results. And the more you increase the quality and quantity of your backlink data, the higher chances you will have to rectify your website issues.
RE-CRAWL THE COLLECTED DATA
Once you have collected enough backlink data, it is time to separate the wheat from the chaff. And there are good reasons for this. The first one is that not all the links you have collected are still pointing to your website. The other reason is that not all links pose the same kind of risk. When you embark on the process of crawling the backlink data, you are advised to filter out the dead links as well as the ’nofollow’ links. URLs that no longer link to your website can increase the chances of a reconsideration request, so why keep them?
AGGREGATING THE NEGATIVE SIGNALS
It is important to audit all the links, but it is equally important to calculate the total risk for these links too. You do this by aggregating all the manipulative signals that you identified in the previous steps. You can allocate one point to all negative signals you have detected or try weighting the most important signals for commercial anchor text or spam sites.
You should note that there isn’t a magic number of links you need to remove especially if you are looking to rebalance your website’s backlink profile. The decision would depend on whether your website has been penalized or your competitors have a healthier backlink profile. All in all, you need to work closely with the professionals in order to improve your rankings and get better results.
At The Techbench, we offer advice on how to prioritize link removal. We also offer data recovery and virus cleaning services to ensure that your data is safe. Contact us for more information on our services.