Wednesday afternoon witnessed the very first SEOgadget webinar – discussing the subject of link removal. A huge thank you to everyone that joined us, we had a really good time and of course huge props to Oli Mason for putting together such a brilliant presentation.
The reason behind wanting to discuss this topic was that we’ve seen some really great posts detailing how to analyse your backlink profile, identify potentially toxic links and decide what you might need to be removing. However, we hadn’t really seen much about the practical side of link removal work. We really wanted to get stuck into the nitty-gritty and share some of the experiences we’ve had at SEOgadget.
For those that missed it, you can view a recording of the session below:
Following the presentation there were some really interesting questions coming in via email, twitter and Google+. I’ve highlighted a few of the questions below as they definitely added weight to the presentation. Feel free to keep asking questions in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them!
Q: How are you guys dealing with contacting spam sites with no contact info?
Oliver: I like to batch tasks, so I’ll make a note of what the difficulty is and come back to it later. You usually have to go off the website to get in contact. You might try the whois data (though this will often be private) – though better still is finding other blogs on the same ip and sending a friendly anonymous “Hi, by any chance do you own domain x?” Social profiles are hit and miss, but if they looked manned by a human they’re worth a shot, as are exact match searches on text that might be duplicated elsewhere. Try everything until you get a feel for it, you’ll soon learn when to move on.
Jon: This is exactly what makes link removal tricky; often the sites that you’ll want to remove links from the most are precisely the ones that have no contact details. To me this all goes back to keeping good records. If your records are good enough you might spot another site on the same network that does in fact have contact details.
Q: Can this work be safely divided between clients and agencies?
Oliver: If the client has people who can spot the difference between a good and a bad link, then there’s no reason that part of the process can’t be handled by them. Agencies are probably best positioned to sift through and categorise the link data, while anyone experienced in outreach (agency or otherwise) should see a decent return for their time. Clients can at least always email from the client domain – which may not always be possible for an agency.
P.S. Something I forgot to mention in the webinar – you can use SEOtools for Excel’s IsFoundOnPage(Source URL, Target URL) on all the live pages in your data set to find a count of your website’s URL in the source code of the source URL. The clean-up tool does this, but this is a great little trick.
Jon: I think this all depends on how much resource the client has available; and how ‘SEO savvy’ they are. It also comes down to allocating your agencies time in the best way possible. Spending agency fees on sending removal request emails might not provide the greatest value for money. However, using an agencies expertise to conduct thorough link analysis, give advice and maybe even set up training could be a much better option.
Q: How could you go about scaling link removal work if needed?
Oliver: Batching your tasks and making the full use of the available tools would be the best place to start. I’d consider outsourcing the contact stage, but only once you’ve reached a solid “do contact” list (a great set of instructions might allow you to outsource this list forming stage).
Jon: I’d look to try and scale up the labour intensive parts of the process that don’t actually require too much thought. For example, collecting contact details could be an outsourced task? Beyond that I’d recommend using as many tools as possible to help streamline the process. Cyrus Shepard wrote a fantastic post on this a couple of days ago. Oh yes, and don’t forget our very own clean up and contact tool :)
Thanks again to everyone who joined us and got involved. We’re hopefully going to be planning another webinar soon – if you want to find out what’s going on fill out the form below and we’ll make sure you’re the first to know!
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image credit – schnappi