Has your website recently experienced a drop in rank positioning? Or perhaps your drop came from the last major Google update? You probably freaked out right! Yes, experiencing a significant rank drop is pretty eye opening but I am here to tell you not to get to worked up over it. Guess what? There’s a solution to your ranking issues. Have you ever heard of Google’s disavow tool? If not than keep ready and take notes.
Generally when a website has experienced and drop in rankings, or been penalized by Google, it’s usually due to a significant amount of unnatural, or spam links, that are pointing to your site. These types of links can happen over time and it takes Google a while to finally get around to recognizing them, or Google will alert you about them if they happen to be in mass quantity in a short period of time. either way you must deal with them.
First, if you aren’t set up a Google Webmaster Tools Account I recommend that you do. I will go into set up instructions in another blog post, but for now you may contact us if you need help through our contact form. Go to Http://www.google.com/webmaster/tools and sign in. Look to the left column and click “Search Traffic”. After that click “Links to Your Site”. See image below.
Google Webmaster Tools
Once you click “links to your site’ Google WMT will bring up the quantity of links that have linked to your site over the last 90 days. You will see three sections labeled, “Who Links the Most”, “Your Most Linked Content” and “How Your Data is Linked”. Under the “who links the most” section you will see the option to click “more”.
Now you will see a list of domains. Above that list there are three download options to download the table, sample links, or latest links. Click the latest links tab.
By clicking the latest links tab you will get a list of the most recent links that have linked to your site over the last 90 days. Now there are several ways that people recommend in determining which links hold value and which are unnatural or spam. One of the easiest ways I have used to accomplish this process is to use Majestic SEO’s back link tool which will crawl all your website’s links, will tell you how many links are pointing to your site, how much value each link carries, the trust flow, citation flow, and much more. (continue reading below the next image)
(View the images below for downloading latest links in Google WMT)
Links to Your Site
Download Latest Links
What you want to look for in your back link report through the Majestic Tool is which links are coming from foreign domains. For example, links that end with a .au or have Chinese symbols, or anything telling you that it is not from a United States IP should be handled appropriately.
Using your Majestic report, make a copy of all foreign, unnatural links and copy them to any blank document, Word or Google docs is fine just to make your first list. Once you feel you have identified most of the bad links your going to create a txt file. One easy way for beginners to do this is to go to http://document.online-convert.com/convert-to-txt. Once you have saved your unnatural links list in your word document or Google docs, save that to your desktop. Go to the url listed above and upload this file to their txt file tool and wait for it to convert.
When the txt file is complete, while still logged into Google, copy and past this url into a new browser window https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main?pli=1. Before clicking the disavow links tab make sure that your website url is in the bar to the left of it. If it is click “disavow links”. See image below
Google Disavow Tool
Your next page will have a gray little tab that says “disavow links”, click it. A little window will open up and will allow you to upload your txt file (click submit). If the upload is a success it will state that you have successfully completed the upload. If this is the case hit “done”. Any errors in the txt upload will show and you will have to correct whatever they state caused it. usually by using the txt converter tool I gave you the url for will prevent this from happening.
Once you have completed the disavow process you are all set. From here go to back to webmaster tools and look over in the left hand column again. You will see a link for “manual actions”. By clicking this tab you will have the opportunity to inform Google that these unnatural links are not your doing and that you have created a txt file of the spam links in which you have uploaded to their disavow tool. This shows Google that you are serious about which links link to your site and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to correct whatever they deem a violation.
Once you’ve gone through the manual action you are now done. Unfortunately you now have to wait until the next Google update for them to acknowledge your disavow links file but it will be well worth it. After all, would you want to be banned from Google’s search results for good or would you rather wait a few weeks or months? If you don’t have any message in your webmaster tools account from Google stating they have found links that may be in violation of their guidelines you should always run complete link reports anyway. Anytime you find bad links pointing to your site take your current txt disavow file and add to it and upload. You don’t want to eliminate all the links you originally started with in that file. Just keep adding to it.
There you have it, a complete way to handle situations that have caused your rankings to drop. This is also a great way to prevent rankings from being effected by bad links. Follow this advice and be consistent with it and you will always be on top of your site’s links. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to us.