Bad links matter more than ever.

Link networks and exchanges have been a core SEO building block for years and whether they were good or bad links didn’t much, until recently. Google is putting more weight on whether links are relevant, organic or both. That’s sent gaming affiliates scrambling to make certain the sites they’re linked to are those quality, authority sites that Google prizes.

But what do you do when the sites linking to your site aren’t quality sites? And does Google really penalize bad neighborhoods? Before you start panicking, you can relax a bit. Dealing with bad links isn’t as tough as it might seem. Here’s how to get started.

Bad Neighborhoods

Webmasters may worry more about the bad neighborhood penalty than is necessary. Google’s Webmaster Forum says that low quality backlinks are just one factor that’s weighed and good quality content can cancel them out. That’s what Google says, but why take chances? Avoid linking with spammy, low quality sites and do whatever you can to remove them from your site.

Still figuring out where to find good link exchanges? Check out How to Avoid Bad Link Exchanges.

Remove Them Manually

In posting about dealing with bad links over at SEOmoz, Dr. Pete points out the problems with this, seemingly, obvious solutions. Unless your bad link problem is really small, manual removal won’t be practical. On top of that, deciding which links are actually bad isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Remove the Page Entirely

If a large number of bad links are targeted at a low value or deep page, you can always just remove the page entirely. That’s the advice given by Harrison Lapari in a blog post titled, Dealing with Bad Links. This technique isn’t effective if the links are pointed at your home page.

Talk to the Boss

If the problem is really out of hand you need to speak with a higher power, Google itself. You can state your case to Google directly using their Webmaster Tools Page. Just state your case clearly and hope for the best.

Build Better Links

If you’ve been following SEO news closely you know that quality is the big buzzword these days and links are part of that formula. The brains at Google say that quality content and links and link exchanges can trump those bad links. We know they can’t hurt.

Authority Sites Matter

How much the bad neighborhood penalty impacts your page ranking is a matter of debate, but there’s no questioning the value of Google approved authority sites. Finding these sites and linking to them can have big impact on your overall page rankings.

301 Directs

The value of this move is debatable, but it can be a big help in desperate situations. A 301 redirect moves the page in question to another domain. Your readers will find you but, according to Lapari and others, you’ll also lose your inbound links; bad and good.

How are you dealing with bad links? Let us know on our SEO Forum.


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