Find & Fix Your Low-Quality External Links

As you may know, in late January Matt Cutts published a much talked about post entitled The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO. In it he directly discourages guest-blogging for links, and cites a July 2013 Search Engine Land article wherein his colleague at Google, John Mueller, explicitly encourages no following links in guest posts.

(If you’re not clear on follow/nofollow, WordStream has an excellent post on the subject.)

For the last couple months there has been a sharp uptick in the number of people reporting manual link penalties showing up in Google Webmaster Tools.

At PubCon New Orleans it became public that industry stalwart Ann Smarty’s MyBlogGuest had been hit by a penalty for passing link value in guest posts. Google was sending a clear message – clean up your guest blogging links.

[Edit: As per Ann’s comment below, the reason for penalty expressed above is just our assumption, there was no clear reason given by Google]

Savvy internet marketing veterans like Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting have urged taking proactive approach in cleaning up your links (See recommendation #6 in Is link-building dead?). The question is how?

Using SiteCondor to Analyze Links to External Sites

The latest SiteCondor release includes an improved External Links section containing a breakdown of your follow/nofollow links.

Let’s take a look at a practical example, shall we?

I’ve run a crawl job on a made-up sample blog post. (Note: you can click the images to enlarge them.)

sample-blog-post

You’ll notice that there are several spammy links, a legit link, and a legit link with overly-optimized anchor text. There is one no followed link.

Pro tip: For sites with hundreds of links you can use the Search function to find particular links.

before-follow

before-nofollow

Given this scenario, you could clean things up by:

1. nofollowing the spammy links (if not getting rid of them altogether)
2. adjusting the anchor text for the real estate link

Here’s the cleaned up result: after-follow

after-nofollow

If you’d like to see the follow/nofollow links on any site, check out the External Links tab in your account or sign up for a free trial. Best of luck!

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