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How Do I Remove Bad or Toxic Backlinks?

If you’re working to improve your SEO, one of the things you need to do is a backlink audit. The number of links you have to your website plays a role in your rank, but beyond the number of links, it’s the quality of links that matters to the search engines. Because you can’t control who links to what on your website and why, it’s essential to keep an eye on the links that are coming in, so you can alert the search engines to the ones you want them to count and the ones you want them to ignore.

This assumes you’ve already conducted a backlink audit, and are looking to determine what’s toxic. If you’ve not already located all the backlinks to your site, you can use a tool like Monitor Backlinks to help you see what’s linking to you.
Before we get started, it’s important to treat toxic links like an insect infestation. You should aim to get rid of the ones you can and live with the rest of them, because you won’t be able to remove every single bad link that points to your site. That’s okay, though, because you can still use them to your advantage.
Once you’ve identified and removed the ones you can, you can use the rest to help improve your online reputation.
What’s a Toxic Backlink?
In the earlier days of SEO, any backlink was a good backlink, but that’s not the case anymore. There’s no single definition of “toxic backlink” but the term is used to refer to any backlink that comes from:

Websites that are excessively monetized
Link farms
Websites with security flaws/risks
Websites that are in violation of Google’s guidelines

Spotting the Toxicity
When you’re looking at a link, consider the following:

Trust Flow: If the trust flow is 10 or less, you may have a toxic link. The exception to this rule is when dealing with websites that are less than one to two years old because the trust flow may be low simply because the site is still in its infancy.
Domain Authority: The lower the domain authority, the increased likelihood of a toxic link. Typically 40+ is safe, but again, newer websites will have lower DA because they’ve not have time to build it yet.
Spam Score: A score of 8 or higher indicates the link is coming from a spammy site and is toxic.
Your Own Assessment: Numbers won’t tell the whole story. You’ll need to look at the site yourself to determine if it’s quality or not. If a DA of 25 looks promising but you see the content is low quality, it may be a source of toxic backlinks.
Backink Patterns: Look at the other links on the site – and see if the backlinks are excessively optimized in terms of their anchor text. Quality sites use a variety of anchor text – and if all you see are exact match keyword phrases, it’s more likely you’ll run into toxic links.
Brand Alignment: Are the sites linking to you related to or aligned with your brand? If not, you may wish to consider them toxic. For instance, if you’re advocating for human rights and sites that are protesting those rights are linking to you, it’s not a good thing for customers to see.

Remove as Many Toxic Links as You Can
Use outreach to ask website owners to remove the links and brand mentions. Get the URL of the linking website, and if you have multiple bad links from a single domain, include them all in one email. Explore the website to locate the contact information for the person in charge of the site.
Send them a short message to politely ask for the removal of the link, and do not judge the website. REview your backlink report again one week after you’ve sent the removal request. If it’s still there, you can follow up. If it’s gone, follow up to thank them. If the webmaster refuses, you can try to convince them but don’t push too hard, because you may get an angry post about your company, which creates yet another toxic backlink and does damage to your online reputation.
Here’s a template to help you:
Hello [Contact Name],
Your website [website] links to this page [link to remove and anchor] on my website. This link doesn’t currently fit with the brand. Could you please remove the link?
Thank you,
[Name]
If outreach doesn’t work, you can hire legal representation to remove the links. Though expensive, this is an effective method since the threat of legal action scares many webmasters into compliance with your request. This approach is best for large brands that have spent years building the brand and the backlinks are associated with highly objectionable material.
If your requests fail and it’s not feasible to hire a lawyer to handle it for you, you can disavow the links, using the Disavow feature in Monitor Backlinks. If you’re using another platform to check for backlinks, you can also disavow the links directly in the Google Search Console. Before you start disavowing, check out my post about considerations before disavowing.

7 Reasons You’re Not Maximizing Traffic To Your Website

mohamed_hassan / PixabayThere are dozens of easy fixes you can make to increase the traffic on your website. Even if you’re only missing one of these strategies-you’re missing out on potential traffic that could be bringing you more clients. Here are 7 potential reasons you can instantly increase the number of visitors your website receives:

Your on-page optimization is non-existent
Lack of a keyword strategy
Inaccurate content strategy
Posts and pages are not interlinking
No authority or “yes votes”
You haven’t been blogging
Ineffective headlines

On-page optimization is non-existent
On-page optimization contains a plethora of ranking factors that signal to search engines what your page is about. Without on page optimization, your page isn’t clearly communicating what it offers.
On-page optimization includes having the main keyword or key phrase in your title, and URL. To enhance the content you will need to use LSI keywords throughout the body and in the subtitles to support the main keyword. The images should have alt tags filled out, captions if applicable and the file name of an image or video can also be optimized by including a keyword.
Lack of a keyword strategy
A popular discussion found in many marketing circles is whether keywords are dead. When Google implemented the Hummingbird Update it solidified the method for the contextual assessment of websites. Website owners became more liable for the quality of content and with this adjustment, keyword strategy evolved.
It is no longer necessary to reinforce the optimization of a page by repeating a keyword throughout an article. We don’t need separate pages to rank separate keywords. We need only establish search intent as the main focus of our optimization and provide the relevant details that satisfy search intent in a single piece of content.
A keyword strategy helps to shape how we build our pages by bringing to light related facets of an idea. By incorporating different variations of our keyword (LSI keywords) we also uncover more issues that may not have been so obvious in relation to our main keyword focus.
Inaccurate content strategy
The lack of a keyword strategy leads to an inaccurate content strategy. Without establishing the search intent for specific search terms in our keyword research our content production becomes random, unorganized and ineffective at addressing the demands of the person searching.
Keyword research leads us to identify what forms of content are performing for a specific keyword or phrase. If you’re writing articles for a search term that displays a video in the featured snippet (position zero), your content strategy is completely ineffective and inaccurate since it’s obvious that Google had deemed a video to be the best method of satisfying search intent.
Posts and pages are not interlinked
The structure of your content should be to use a “pillar page” as a page that performs for your main keyword. This page also serves as a hub for topics that are related to your keyword and discussed in more depth and detail to create a broader understanding of your main service or product. Connect your pages by linking from your posts back to the pillar page with anchor text that enhances the optimization of our money key phrases. In the same respect, you can link out from your pillar page for more detail on a specific idea or topic. Interlinking your pages and posts will enhance the optimization of your website which contributes to a higher ranking and more traffic.
No authority or “yes votes”
Authority is a value that is assigned to a domain based on the number and quality of referring domains. Moz uses DA (domain authority) as a measure of 1-100 to help compare values between websites. Backlinks from external websites are like “yes votes” from third parties that confirm your credibility with the link they are giving to your website. Moz estimates that Google weights the importance of backlinks at 27.94% of its localized ranking assessment.
When a website accumulates backlinks it also accumulates authority which increases the DA and the ability to outrank competing websites. When competing for a top position in the search results your success will be heavily be influenced by the DA of your site in comparison to your competitions. Establishing a link building strategy will improve the authority of your website and lift your ranking to more competitive positions.
You haven’t been blogging
Publishing articles and building a blog can mean the difference between generating massive streams of traffic and producing tiny trickles. When you are able to provide visitors with helpful advice or additional information about your services or products, you are encouraging them to return to your site for more resourceful information. Blogs build relationships with visitors by providing value and insight into issues that affect their lives. The Renovation Method is a way of producing high-quality content that is highly relevant and developed to perform well in your blogging and guest posting efforts.
Blog posts are used to support the pillar pages by explaining related topics in more detail. The articles you produce in your blog optimize your website by supporting the main key phrases through the related content. If you haven’t been blogging you have been missing a major aspect of generating traffic to your site.
Ineffective headlines
Headlines are what draws your audience in to read your article and if they aren’t enticing enough, people won’t read them. A headline not only needs to explain to the reader what they will receive within the contents but needs to elicit interest and stand out from other competing search results. Coschedule published an article claiming that catchy blog titles can increase traffic by 438%.
Using keywords within your headline is one way to improve the click-through rate of your article. When people see the same search term they typed within your title it’s going to get their attention. Tell them exactly what they are going to receive using numbers, power words, and a stated outcome to maximize interest, click-throughs and overall traffic to your site.
Maximizing the traffic your website receives isn’t something that can be done overnight. Incorporate a systematic approach and tackle every issue proven to be effective in order to see your total monthly volume of traffic rise.

Can Blogging Improve Your SEO? 5 Reasons Posting Blogs Helps Your Rankings

Blogging? Why bother?
For some businesses, writing blogs may seem like a waste of time, however, when done properly, regularly posting can benefit your company in many ways.
For starters, blogging can help to improve your SEO— with the long-game goals of building brand awareness or increasing your sales.
We’ve got five reasons why maintaining an active blog can benefit your ranking strategy:
1. Blogging Gives Your Website “Freshness”
A “fresh” webpage is one that’s been recently published, or recently updated— and publishing new or editing old blogs can add freshness to help improve your SEO. That’s because your content’s present-day relevance counts as an important ranking factor, according to the world’s largest search engine.
Data, technology and our understanding of matters changes regularly, and it’s vital to make alterations to provide searchers with the most factual, timely information.
That’s why Google’s algorithm accounts for freshness, with the search engine going as far as to say it frequently interprets fresh posts as more relevant, or “as a signal that up-to-date information might be (more) useful than older pages.”
Unfortunately, many webpages can be written and left untouched for months or years. In certain industries, this information can remain accurate. However, competitors might get an edge over you by adding additional information your content now lacks. Stay relevant in your industry by posting frequent articles, or by updating old posts.
2. Blog Posts Are a Great Place to Share Internal Links
Internal links are hyperlinks that send you to the same domain as the source page. To put it simply, interlinking is the practice of linking to your own webpages within the content of individual pages of your site. For instance, us linking to our article blog post length here is us practicing interlinking.
Interlinking on your site helps to give your domain a thing called “link equity,” or link “juice,” as SEOs call it. This gives your website depth and helps users to navigate through your site architecture or to other relevant sources on your site, which Google likes! (Spoiler alert: Google likes anything that helps improve the user-experience).

you don’t want to anger the users
You leading site visitors to other relevant links helps searchers get their answers. It also helps Google to categorize related items and to better understand the hierarchy of your website, so it can properly rank your pages. And your blog posts are the perfect place to spread and share relevant link love!
Fun fact: Did you know that linking to new posts on your homepage gives those articles more “link value?” Learn more from Yoast.
3. Blogging Helps with Link Building
When another company embeds a link to your site on theirs, it’s their way of saying, “Don’t believe me? This other reputable site agrees!” or, “I don’t have all the answers, but you can dig deeper here.”
Link building, or the practice of acquiring links from other domains, shows Google that other people think your content is great and worthy of mention. The cool thing about external linking is that it goes both ways: you can link to other domains and other domains can link to you. Blogs are a terrific linkable asset for both.
Blog posts are an enticing source to link to because they often contain valuable data or a unique theory/point-of-view— and are so easy to share (just copy the link and add some anchor text). So if you write bomb-ass content, and other sites link to it, they are helping to boost your SEO!

Google even affirms it, saying on the Search Console Help Center that, “links help our crawlers find your site and can give your site greater visibility in our search results.” They compare someone linking to you as that source “voting” for you. The search engine continues to say, “votes cast by pages that are themselves ‘important’ weigh more heavily and help to make other pages ‘important.’”
What does that mean? When “important” sites, i.e. sites with high domain/page authorities and low spam score) link to you, you’ll get some of that link juice lovin’ too!
Plus, you can help your SEO by linking to other relevant sources in your own content. Google loves it when you reference other sites that it already ranks. It affirms the search engine’s notion that their results are credible— and that you, in turn, are also credible, since you reference their already algorithmically-relevant sources.
Increasing Your Domain & Page Authority
Ever heard of Moz? These SEO wizards developed two powerful SEO metrics called domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA). These search engine ranking scores range from 1 through 100— just like a test grade— and can help to predict how well a website may rank on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
While Google itself doesn’t use domain/page authority directly in their ranking algorithms, DA and PA scores can still give you a rough estimate of a site’s “ranking strength.” Each score is determined mainly by the number of quality links you have, and can be used in tandem with other SEOs tools to check how your blog is ranking.
Generally speaking, building more powerful inbound links on other domains can help to increase these ratings, which helps build your SEO cred’. Plus, authority goes beyond a set score and extends to establishing you as a strong contender in your industry. Learn more about creating a sense of authority here.
4. Blogging Helps You Utilize More Keywords
SEO is all about optimizing your website for search, which requires an understanding of how Google uses keywords to help categorize and serve content on its search engine results pages.
If you’ve done your keyword research properly, you’ll know which terms you can target to get more organic traffic to your website. Simply put, your blog is just another place to weave in those keywords— and each post is another page that can rank.
Want a few examples? One article that we published on our Impulse Creative blog is organically ranking for 651 keywords, as of the date of publishing this post. This article— 8 Reasons Your Business Doesn’t Appear on the First Page of Google Search— ranks on page one of Google’s SERPs for queries like “why doesn’t my business show up on Google search?” and “how to make my business appear on Google search first,” according to data pulled by SEMRush.
Your business can start attracting visitors to your domain too, with the right keywords in your blog posts. Invest in doing keyword research to create posts that gain steady traffic over time, on their own. According to HubSpot, 75% of their blog views and 90% of blog leads come from old posts.
Check out our article on Google Ads Keyword Planner Tool to discover what people are searching in your industry, and to generate content to answer searchers questions.
5. Blogs Help to Increase Traffic/Site Views & Your Source Diversity
Not only can your blog posts bring in more organic traffic if they rank on Google’s SERPs, articles can also generate traffic from other methods, including:

Direct traffic. This is typically when someone types your exact URL into the search. They are sent “directly” to your site, without needing to find you on the SERPs. Or, sometimes people bookmark your URL for quick access and can click the shortcut to ping your web address.
Social media traffic. When you post a link to your blog post on social media, users can click through from your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn to your site.
Referral traffic. If another user is linking out to your blog post, a searcher can click the link on their site to hop over to your domain. AKA the searcher is being “referred” to you from this original reference.
Email marketing traffic. If you send out email correspondence, you can share a link to your blog post with your customers or clients. If they are sent to your site from this email, you’ll receive a view count, often labeled “email marketing.”

Simply put, your blog posts are getting more eyeballs to your domain, giving users an easy way to click through to other pages on you navigation bar.
If you host your blog on a different domain than your main site’s URL— let’s say “blog.samplesite.com” instead of “samplesite.com/blog,”— it’s not going to be as easy for someone to click through to other pages as it would be reading your content on your main site. Because of this, if you have your blog hosted on a separate domain, you’ll want to make sure you’re embedding links to your main site inside of your post.
Google likes to see diversity in the traffic sources you gain, because it demonstrates authenticity. Think about it. If all your traffic came from just one source, wouldn’t that seem odd?
Getting hits from one source is a huge tip-off to Google that you’re getting fake traffic, or paying for a traffic exchange program. In terms of your AdWords account, Google says this type of channeled traffic can “result in your account being disabled,” (hint hint: because they want you to pay for their ads).
Why do you think Google Analytics shows you where your traffic is coming from? The world’s largest search engine cares about where your views are coming from, and you should too.
Improve Your Blog Ranking with Help from Impulse Creative
Do you see the value of blogging now? Not only is it an incredible way to improve your SEO, but maintaining a powerful blogging strategy can help you gain more leads and customers.
Creating a blog for the first time? We have the perfect guide for you. Download our Beginner’s Guide to Blogging for Business for insights on which topics to blog about, how to optimize your posts and more.