Tag Archives: PageRank

Removing Unnatural Links by Removing Pages on Your Website

removing unnatural linksTrying to clean up your backlink profile? Did you know that you can quickly remove links by removing the page of your site to which that link points?

 

Obviously this tactic can’t be used for links pointing to your home page. But, if you have inner pages that have built up large numbers of unnatural links and are causing your site to be affected negatively by a Google penalty or algorithm issue, then this could be a good tactic to use.

 

Be sure you do it correctly though! Later on in this article I’ll share about how a client of mine got their site re-penalized by making an error in 404ing their pages.

 

Removing a Page With Unnatural Links Pointing to it

 

During a Webmaster Central Hangout, Google employee John Mueller was asked:

 

Does removing a page that has unnatural links pointing to it accomplish the same thing when it comes to removing a link when it comes to the Penguin algorithm? If a site has all of its links pointing to one page and removes the page is the issue solved?

 

“Yes, essentially that’s pretty much the same thing,” Mueller said. “So, what happens when a page is removed and the page returns a 404, what happens is that we drop those links so that they don’t count. Generally speaking, if you can’t remove those links and you don’t want to use the disavow backlinks tool then you could remove those pages.”

 

And here’s how Mueller answered a question in the Google Webmaster Forum on the same topic:

 

In general, if you remove the page that is being linked to (such as a spammy forum thread) and make sure that it returns a 404/410 HTTP response code, we’ll ignore the links to those pages.

 

Don’t Make These Mistakes!

 

Please know, though, that the page must be truly removed in order for the links pointing to it to no longer count. The following won’t work to remove links:

 

  • Noindexing and/or nofollowing the page. A noindexed, nofollowed page will still receive PageRank from links pointing to it. Marking a page on your site noindexed and/or nofollowed doesn’t accomplish the same thing as physically removing a link.
  • Blocking by robots.txt: A page that is blocked by robots.txt will still receive PageRank as well. The robots.txt directive will simply tell Google not to crawl that page. But, if links point to it then they will still count towards your site.
  • Redirecting the pages to another page on your site. A redirect will pass somewhere from 95 to 100 percent of the PageRank from bad link on to the redirected page and won’t remove the link.
  • Removing the link but creating an identical page on your site with a different URL. I’ve seen situations where Google can recognize identical content and automatically canonicalize it. What this means is that links pointing to the original page will be attributed to the new page.

A Grievous Error

 

One of my clients made a big mistake. Several months ago we worked hard to remove an unnatural links penalty that this client received.

 

A previous SEO company had built unnatural links to their site by creating a large number of articles on the site and then paying other sites to link to these articles. We removed those unnatural links by removing all of the articles that had been made on the site. If someone clicked on one of those unnatural links, they would be directed to a 404 page.

 

The site also had some other obviously unnatural links, such as low-quality directories which we dealt with as well. We were very pleased when Google removed the unnatural links penalty from the site.

 

However, I was very surprised to find out about two months later that the site was penalized. Again.

 

It didn’t take long to determine what had happened. The site owners had decided to redirect all of those 404 pages to the home page.

 

Whether it was done in error, or done to try to sneakily regain some link juice, I don’t know. Somehow their site underwent another manual review and the penalty was levied again.

 

Did you know that when a site gets penalized a second time by Google that the penalty is often more harsh and also harder to remove? This is because it takes more work to convince the webspam team that you really are committed to the quality guidelines.

 

For this site, we quickly removed the redirects so that the bad links once again pointed to 404 pages and filed again for reconsideration. But, this time Google didn’t remove the penalty.

 

Google gave examples of unnatural links that were very hard to find as they were not in the list of Webmaster Tools backlinks. Now that this site has lost Google’s trust they are going to have to do a lot more work to get the penalty removed.

 

Should You 404 Pages or Just Disavow the Unnatural Links?

 

In the same Hangout linked to above, Mueller said that using the disavow tool to ask Google to not count these bad links would work just as well as 404ing the page(s) on your sites to remove links.

 

However, as there is controversy over the use of the disavow tool, (see Cyrus Shepard’s disavow experiment and my theory on what happened), I would suggest that if all of a page’s links are bad ones, to just remove the page rather than disavow. Removing the page will remove all of the bad links.

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Article Source: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2296653/Removing-Unnatural-Links-by-Removing-Pages-on-Your-Website

 

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Matt Cutts: Google +1s Don’t Lead to Higher Ranking

Matt Cutts - SMX Advanced 2012 Photos

Matt Cutts – SMX Advanced 2012 Photos (Photo credit: planetc1)

It isn’t often that Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts comes right out to debunk a highly publicized blog post regarding something to do with ranking in Google.

 

Everybody has their own opinions of what works and what doesn’t work, and SEO in itself can be highly subjective, primarily because Google doesn’t really come out and specifically admit the things that work, because they don’t want people gaming the system.

 

Moz published a blog post “Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings” claiming that Google +1s had a direct correlation with higher search rankings in Google – and that it was higher than any other ranking factor. The post was written by Cyrus Shepard, the “Senior Content Astronaut” at Moz, and the data was taken from their 2013 ranking factors.

 

It’s a pretty sensational title, and immediately sparked a lot of discussion. His post brought up a lot of points about why he feels this correlation is correct, such as posts shared on Google+ are crawled and indexed almost immediately, and that posts on the site pass “link equity”. He also noted that authorship shares in the rankings as well. However, he’s also stating it as fact, instead of just a possibility without any specific hard data with proof, such as specific sites where an increase in rankings can be solely attributed to Google +1’s.

 

In addition to grabbing the attention of many in the SEO industry (many of whom trashed the post as being highly flawed), Cutts immediately stepped into debunk the claim of the correlation between rankings and +1s. Specifically, Cutts wrote:

 

Just trying to decide the politest way to debunk the idea that more Google +1s lead to higher Google web rankings. Let’s start with correlation != causation: http://xkcd.com/552/

But it would probably be better to point to this 2011 post (also from SEOMoz/Moz) from two years ago in which a similar claim was made about Facebook shares: http://moz.com/blog/does-google-use-facebook-shares-to-influ… . From that blog post from two years ago: “One of the most interesting findings from our 2011 Ranking Factors analysis was the high correlation between Facebook shares and Google US search position.”

 

This all came to a head at the SMX Advanced search conference in 2011 where Rand Fishkin presented his claims. I did a polite debunk of the idea that Google used Facebook shares in our web ranking at the conference, leading to this section in the 2011 blog post: “Rand pointed out that Google does have some access to Facebook data overall and set up a small-scale test to determine if Google would index content that was solely shared on Facebook. To date, that page has not been indexed, despite having quite a few shares (64 according to the OpenGraph).”

 

If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn’t mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking.

 

Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.

 

So his belief falls in line with what a lot of SEO professionals are doing for long-term SEO success, where creating great quality content that is more likely to be shared is the best kind of strategy when it comes to content.

 

He does continue to reiterate that +1s and rankings are not related. “Most of the initial discussion on this thread seemed to take from the blog post the idea that more Google +1s led to higher web ranking. I wanted to preemptively tackle that perception.”

 

Cutts also mentioned that another SEO has been doing a rigorous study on whether it +1s lead to higher rankings are not, which he suspects will be released the next month or two. If it is providing specific examples in the study, it will be good to be the most conclusive evidence SEOs will have about whether it is or isn’t a ranking factor with concrete data to back it up.

 

Cutts made similar statements last year at SES San Francisco, when he said that Google doesn’t put a lot of weight on +1’s yet and advised people not to assume Google+ equates to rankings.

 

Below are a few reactions from Twitter. What’s your take?

 

moz-tweet-dave-naylor

moz-tweet-ben-cook

moz-tweet-chad-lio

moz-tweet-paul-gailey

 

Thank you for visiting.
Andrew Radics

 

Original Article Source

 

 

 

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