If you have been having issues with the Google penguin update, the odds are one of the biggest problems you have is backlinks. Prior to this update, having backlinks was good. Having hundreds or even thousands of backlinks was very good. Now, Google has changed the rules in ways that we are just beginning to understand. One of the things we know you can do to improve your site in light of penguin is to remove old backlinks – and here is how you do it. We do caution you – if you are not sure what to do after reading this – hire a professional SEO firm. At times, differentiating a good link from a bad link can be a gray area. The last thing you want to do is eliminate good links.
The problem isn’t always that a link is bad in terms of not working. That type of thing would come up in a normal link audit. What penguin is targeting is links that don’t match the anchor text they go with. The problem is that Google bot is a literalist – it is looking for exact matches. The days of anchoring your link to the word “here” in the phrase “for more information, click here” are long gone. Those are turning up as link spam even if they are working and relevant. What do you do?
Once you identify what backlinks are hurting you, you need to remove them and there is only one surefire way to do that – ask. What you should do is prepare a template letter that can be sent out to webmasters hosting the links that are hurting you to request they be removed. Explain that you are trying to recover from a Google penalty and that their help would be appreciated. Keep it courteous and professional. Provide the URLs to the links and the anchor text. The easier you make it, the more likely they are to help.
Keep notes of everything you do. Some webmasters will ignore your request and others may ask for money to remove the links. Whatever the outcome, if you have records demonstrating your goodwill efforts, it will go a long way if you need to petition Google for a reconsideration. If you used a service to purchase bulk backlinks, contact them and ask they undo whatever they did. It is time consuming and aggravating, but ultimately it is about all you can do unless you outsource it to a reputable SEO company.