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  • What to do with White Elephant Links

    What do you do when you kind of end up with links you’d rather not have on your site, but can’t really get rid of? You know what I’m talking about. You set up your site, hit all you buddies and relatives up for links, and now those non-relevant, off topic, zero PageRank links from blogs and little personal sites are dragging you down.

    We’ve talked a lot about what sites to link to, what backlinks will be worth the most,  and how to avoid links that will hurt you. But what if you jumped into link building the wrong way when you first set up your site, and you have some links that are sitting there like an elephant in the room?

    Good news! You don’t have to hurt feelings or make enemies by ditching those links. You can instead smoothly direct search engine spiders to discount links, pages and even whole directories if needed. Do try to spend time fixing the problems as soon as possible, but don’t be afraid to block crawlers from indexing stuff they don’t need to see. ‘Disallow’, ‘no-index’ and ‘no-follow’ are useful tools to keep ‘bad links’ or junk pages from hurting you so much.  Eventually you’ll have to clean house, but if you are short on man-hours this is a temporary 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:

    <a href=””rel=”nofollow“>don‘t look! </a>.

    You can put a page disallow in your root folder added to the robots.txt file.

    User-agent: *

    Disallow: /bad-page/keep/out.html

    You should also link very specifically to each page for the highest relevance. Categorizing your links carefully and matching them to the best pages in your site will help strengthen your website from within – you need strong internial site architecture to be competitive in a consumer satisfaction driven environment!

    As for those reciprocal links from family and friends, consider a ‘Friends of (your sitename)’ page,  and have the less relevant links listed there. You can no-follow each link, or simply disallow the whole page. This also lends a little extra ‘testimonial’ style to your site for visitors as well; it’s like seeing your ‘followers’ . Just another step to the socialization of the web!

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