Google has been cracking down on spam links that are either irrelevant or links that are unnatural to deceive the search engines for rankings. If you are a webmaster, you have probably heard of the Penguin update and Google Panda. These initiatives are placed by Google to devalue sites that have spam links. Even linking to websites that are considered ‘spammy’ will have negative results
So how do you stop bad backlinks from linking to your site? The easiest method is to declare the links as spam when you receive trackbacks on your website. If you posted spam links on websites yourself, you can ask the webmaster of the domain to remove them, if this is not possible keep a note of the websites you have posted unnatural links on and read on.
How to know if you have unnatural backlinks
Google has taken the liberty of warning webmasters if you are violating the guidelines so check your webmaster tools page regularly. Below is a screenshot (via SEOMOZ) of the type of warning you will get, huge websites such as Forbes has been found guilty of using techniques that is in violation of Google’s guidelines.
How to Block Backlinks
It is simple, Google has launched a tool that allows you to ‘Disavow links’ by sending Google a list of all the sites you feel are harming your search engine ranking. This is how Google explains the tool:
“If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site.”
Here is the link. Note: You will need a webmaster tools account to view and use this tool. Your website must also be registered with Google webmasters. Google explains how you verify your webmaster account
Who should use this tool
If you have had a big drop in your search rankings, note the date your traffic dropped and check for the Google Penguin and Panda release dates; if the dates are synonymous, you have probably been affected by the Penguin update. The disavow tool is primarily for people that have been affected by spam links and unnatural links.
Beware that disavowing good links will also devalue your website so take precaution when using this tool and don’t risk it unless you have suffered by a drop in rankings and traffic.