Why Remove ANY Links?
If your website traffic has decreased recently, you might have been hit by one of the recent Google algorithm updates. There are lots of reasons this could have happened, maybe you got back links from weak websites or sites that did not fit into your niche, maybe you purchased links, maybe the anchor text for the links is weighted too heavy in one direction or the other, or maybe any of another hundred things could have been done to your link profile. The important thing is to get it fixed and get your rankings and traffic back. I guess in some sense, understanding the reasons the links you have may have gotten disqualified or worst yet gotten penalized by Google is the starting point of this exercise. At Ennovative, we use several tools to help you diagnose these sorts of problems. Let’s review the process and get you on the road to sleeping better at night.

Which Links Should I Remove
The first question you need to answer after figuring out you have been affected by an algorithm update is, “Which links are bad?” We use a few tools to find out this answer. Link Detox would normally be the first place that we would go to check out the link graph. This tool can diagnose several problems and has the ability to export links and do further diagnoses within the LinkResearch toolset. Secondarily, we pull all the links from Google Webmaster tools and run them through the Link Detox tool as well. Lastly, we pull all this data together in Excel, de-dupe and combine all links and get them ready for the removal requests step.

What Strategy Should I Use to Remove Bad Links
The next step in our process is to take the negative links, those that have low authority, those that are dangerous in nature to your website, and put them into Buzzstream, our next tool. Buzzstream allows you to import a list of urls and have it discover contact information. Buzzstream also lets you use email templates to contact webmasters and ask them to remove the link or no-follow the link, depending on your strategy. When this step is complete, you are on your way to getting these links removed. You will likely need to send a few emails throughout this process to persuade some webmaster to remove the bad link. Good luck!

How Long Should It Take
Well, you’ve done the hard work, now it’s time to wait for the process to work. Realistically, it can take months for this process to complete. The good news is that your link profile will continue to get better day by day. This phase requires monitoring and from a tool standpoint, Buzzstream provides the insight into who has removed links and who hasn’t. Link Detox can be ran again through the process to see how things are going. One other tool that could help is http://www.penguinanalysis.com/ combined with http://www.removeem.com/self-serve.php.

Should I Pay for a Website to Remove Them
You should be prepared for some webmasters requiring payment for removing your link. This is definitely the bottom of the barrel and there are more good guys out there than bad, but it happens. Matt Cutt’s the head of the Google spam team, has stated not to pay webmasters for removal. Document your emails and just use the Google disavow tool to get rid of these final links.

What to Do when You’ve Done All You Can Do
When you have done all you can do, put together a link disavow file and submit it to Google.  After you have submitted your disavow file and written out a nice long documentation of your work to Google’s review team.  All you can do it sit back and wait.  We have found that it is better to hack all the bad links than to try to pick and choose.  Google is fairly strict after you have received a manual penalty as to what they want taken away from your link profile.  It is best to just get rid of anything and everything that looks bad.  We have also found it is a wise process to do some sort of link cleanup every year.  Happy link hunting!

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