Is your site filled with links you would rather not have but can’t really get rid of? It happens to a lot of people. Remember when you were just getting started and asked everyone you could for a link exchange? You set up your site, hit up all of your friends and family members for links, and now those non-relevant, off topic, zero PageRank links. You got them by the truckload, and even without the penguin penalty, they have been dragging you down ever since you got established. All those links from blogs and little personal sites need to go, but how?
Removing the links is the easy part, the problem is that removing those links may wind up hurting people’s feelings which is more damaging than what their links are doing to you. Sometimes the personal cost to relationships is worse than anything Google can do to you. Is there anything that can be done to ditch those links and keep people happy at the same time?
We have discussed information regarding what sites to link to, what backlinks will be worth the most at great length several times over in the past. We even described how to avoid links that will hurt your site, but for this something different is in the equation – real people. What do you do if you went into link building the wrong way from the very start and have links all over the place like we are talking about today? What can you do about those?
There is good news, you are not really stuck with those links forever. You can get “rid of them” without hurting anyone’s feelings or make enemies by deleting those links which are not helping you. One of the easiest things you can do is direct search engine spiders to discount links, pages and even whole directories if need be.
Don’t be intimidated by this – it is very easy to do. ‘Disallow’, ‘no-index’ and ‘no-follow’ are useful tools to keep bad or unwanted links and/or junk pages from hurting your site so much. What is better is that the odds are those people who the links go to will likely ever even notice it. Eventually you will have to clean house thoroughly, but if you are short on man-hours, here is a temporary quick fix.
Add a ‘no-follow’ attribute to ‘bad’ links and ‘disallow‘ spiders to access those awful pages. You can add a no-follow to a link simply by adding it to the HTML like this:
don’t look! .
You can put a page disallow in your root folder added to the robots.txt file.
Categorize your links carefully and matching them to the best pages in your site will help strengthen your website from within. It is no secret that you need strong internal site architecture to compete in a consumer satisfaction driven environment! Keep relevance in mind – it does matter!
As for the reciprocal links from family and friends, consider a ‘Friends of (your site name)’ page, and have the less relevant links listed there. They are still mentioned so it’s not like they are totally being abandoned, but you also are not lagging behind by featuring them. You can no-follow each link, or simply disallow the whole page if that makes more sense. This also lends a little extra ‘testimonial’ style to your site for visitors as well; it’s like seeing your ‘followers’ .