Posted on July 30, 2015 by Webfor Are You Practicing Link Risk Management? When making connections online and building up your link profile, are you taking the time to clean up low-value links as you propel forward? Failure to monitor backlinks and prune away web spam plants deadly seeds that may threaten to uproot your site’s integrity, causing Google penalties and devastating drops in ranking that require massive effort to recover from. MANAGING YOUR BACKLINK PORTFOLIO After Google’s first Penguin update in April 2012, hundreds of thousands of sites experienced penalties and drops in traffic substantial enough to wipe their existence from the face of search results. Webmasters and marketing specialists are now continually seeking ways to prevent troublesome links from attracting penalties, jumping through hoops to get at the bottom of what Google considers to be a blemish-free link. One method that has garnered positive results is link risk management, which involves combing through your backlink portfolio regularly to clear away any less-than-valuable endorsements. Link Risk Management involves the following: Google penalty recovery Guarding against poor-quality backlinks and negative SEO. Building backlinks that are safe and grow your site’s visibility and rankings. Routinely repeating steps 2 and 3. If this “better safe than sorry” proactivity appeals to you, congratulations! You’re on the right track to weathering Google’s Penguin Algorithm, wherever its slippery feet may trod. Practices like these protect your organic traffic and hedge your bets against any link-quality-related changes that may occur next. DOES ANYONE REALLY RECOVER FROM A GOOGLE PENALTY? Indeed they do! When you appeal Google’s decision with the Disavow Tool (essentially packing up and sending Google Webmaster Tools all of your spammy or low-quality backlinks), your site should recover over time, and with it your visibility and traffic. However, the process takes effort, hours of work and potential stress, with months of toiling possible if Google rejects your first attempt. The best things in life (which include a sense of accomplishment and abundance stemming from your thriving business) are well worth the effort it takes to overcome any hurdles. Put in the work it takes to submit and, if necessary, re-submit those spammy, good-for-nothing links to the Goog’s mastermind and you’ll be on your way to web health in no time. ONGOING PROTECTION Recovering from a Google penalty is much more difficult than preventing one in the first place. Ask any homeowner, after a fire has turned their worldly possessions to ashes, whether they wish they’d taken out a better insurance policy. The answer is going to be a pretty enthusiastic YES! Proactive analysis of your backlinks is one of the only ways to currently guard against Penguin’s next move, whatever that turns out to be. If you have recovered successfully from a Google penalty, this in no way makes you immune to new penalties. In fact, with the number of backlinks your site gains every day (it’s a lot), any effort to monitor connections to your site is well worth your time and effort. Furthermore, negative SEO can damage your reputation with brutal quickness. Don’t be a victim; protecting your organic traffic means keeping on top of which sites link to you and disavowing any that aren’t acting in your best interests. BUILDING YOUR NEXT GENERATION OF LINKS You’ve gotten the hang of monitoring your backlink profile and removing spam before it sticks. High five! Sadly, this practice alone will not cause your rankings to soar. Building and attracting new, favorable links is the other piece of the pie. Getting right with the Google gods comes down to taking the time and effort necessary to build high-quality links in the first place, where once you may have used shortcuts. The following tips can help you build safe, powerful links to your website: Get creative! Create content that people cannot help but read and comment on. Create must-have products. Share cutting edge news or unique tips that users won’t find anywhere else, at least not with your particular branding. Conduct competitor analysis. Competitors with healthy link profiles are great link mentors. Emulate them by analyzing their connections and link building techniques. Use tools. There are a ton of excellent SEO tools ready and waiting to help you build the links your site needs. Open site explorer, Quick Backlink Tool, Majestic, Bing Webmaster Tools, and of course, Google Webmaster Tools, are all tried and true. Review, review, review. Links that were good a year ago may no longer be. Treat your backlink profile like a constantly evolving organism and continue to disavow links that are past their expiration dates. While you can only have one disavow file in Google’s Disavow tool, you can make changes to that file any time you want. Use this power to continuously improve your link profile. Avoiding penalties and improving the health of your website requires work — and lots of it. However, when compared with the extensive cleanup required to recover from an algorithmic penalty, making link risk management a habit feels far less stressful, and a lot more productive. Have questions about protecting your link profile? It’s what we do. And no matter what your website’s going through, we’ve been there. Call us!