A few weeks ago we were contacted by an existing client whom we had previously performed SEO work for one year ago. Prior to our earlier involvement another SEO company had created some poor quality back links from article web sites and some off-topic forums. Whilst these had not previous cause a problem, the latest Google Penguin Algorithm change had started penalising web sites with poor quality paid links. This web site had a lot of them!
The result was a sudden drop from the first 3 positions on page one of Google to the bottom of page 5.
What is a back link?
A back link is a link from an external web site to your own web site. Google see’s these as a vote of confidence in your web site. So the more the better, right? Not quite.
It is better to have less high quality back links than more poor quality back links. And all links must be from relevant on-topic web sites.
Removing damaging back links
Using some Google and third party tools we created a list of all the back links. There were hundreds of them and the content of nearly all the web sites was not relevant to the client site. All links were manually checked and those we considered (about 70% of them) were damaging to the web site were removed.
Google now had an advanced feature available called the Disavow Tool. The Disavow Tool allows you to ask Google to remove chosen back links as a ranking factor in the indexing of your site. This is an advanced tool and needs to be used with a high level of care. It is important to note that this tool does not remove the links from the offending web sites but stops Google from considering them.
A few tweaks to the existing SEO so the site had a minor refresh and within 3 weeks we have recovered their original first page position. Daily checks over the past 2 weeks to ensure the result was holding steady and we have one very happy client.
If your own web site has suffered from a sudden drop in position then do please get in touch for a no-obligation chat.