Of late we have been getting quite a few queries regarding the link pruning/link removal services. What people in general want us to do is to “get rid” or “disavow” their “Bad” links.
What I would like to state is that just because your site’s ranking started to drop significantly does not mean that you immediately reach to the conclusion that your site has been penalized due to Google penguin update and you immediately need an SEO Service provider to quickly get rid of all your links that you have acquired over the years.
There are many reasons why the site’s rankings may be going down.
Note: If you have employed unnatural or the so called “black hat” methods to boost your ranking in the past then you surely know what you need to do and you may ignore this part completely)
The first step is to not panic and do a thorough analysis of your website on-page changes and your back-link patterns including the Anchors used.
Check for any recent changes made to the Meta data which might be the cause of the sudden loss in rankings.
Make sure you did not rename a page or make any changes to the site’s URL structure (even if you were just trying to improve it)
What can also affect your ranking is if the domains which had been linking to you suddenly vanish along with the backlinks as a consequence.
If you or your SEO service provider had been using proper techniques without using shortcuts and/or have not been relying on unnatural methods to create backlinks from anywhere and everywhere then you need not worry at all and the reason might just be that your competition is just working harder than you. So you may safely assume that the rankings will be back soon once you start working on the site again.
Once you have performed all of the above mentioned checks and a few more..? (I must have surely omitted quite a few) and you find that all is well as far as the above mentioned points are concerned then it’s now time to start worrying a bit.
Now you should read about link pruning and link disavow etc. etc.
One more important pointer is if the sites that were linking back to you have suddenly vanished from the SERPs as well, if they number in many then you are surely in trouble.
Next logical step is to check for any warning messages in your Google webmaster tools inbox if there is, start searching for a real link analysis SEO expert (if you or your current provider were, then you would not have landed in this situation in the first place) or a DIY tutorial on the net.
Now many of you have also been reading a lot in blogs etc. that Google send you some examples or samples of “bad links” well sorry to disappoint you we have not come across any such message up until now. Most messages just simply state that they have found un-natural links to your site etc..
Now this practically implies that Google believes that the people simply know hence can simply undo whatever they have been doing until that point. This though is actually quite difficult to do in real world situation.
Before you send the reconsideration request to Google you need to get rid of all the “bad links” and to get rid of all the “bad” links the first and the foremost important thing to know is to find out which links are “bad” (not all low PR links are bad even some of the high PR ones can be bad for you)
(If you send the reconsideration request without getting rid of the “bad” links then you will receive the following message )
You can send as many requests as you want to Google through your reconsideration mails to “send” you examples from your list of backlinks that are bad that is just not going to happen. They are not going to send you examples of your bad links (not that we have seen any such replies from Google).
You can though post some of them on the webmaster forum and hope some chap from Google is there to help you out. (at least that’s what Matt Cutts says in this video from July 2013. View it if you haven’t already, some good info there.)
Once you sort out the bad from the good ones you then need to start sending requests to remove your backlinks from the bad sites. If that doesn’t work the last step should be to go for the disavow tool.
Once you are sure that you have got rid of all the bad backlinks then you can send for a reconsideration request to Google. After sending though don’t bother to wait for them to update you at short intervals of every step they take. They will though get an interim reply if you have received penalty for what Matt Cutts calls “multiple web spam action” in the above linked video. For all the other cases you will get a simple approval or denial message (usually after a few months)
We hope the above mentioned information helps people to understand when they should and should not panic.
It is no-where claimed that this piece of article has end-to-end and complete information and nor is it a DIY tutorial. The purpose of this piece is to give people a brief idea about an issue which is affecting numerous people throughout the world in the web-space and you must consult an expert whether a freelancer or an SEO company depending on the scope of your problem and budget.