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Ctrl+Alt+Del Your Bad SEO Practices

Posted on January 01, 2014

Ctrl+Alt+Del for Bad SEO

So you've spent a long time (and possibly a lot of money) following bad practice to get your site ranking - And now you're being penalised by the judgemental Penguin and Panda.  How do you undo all the black hat work to detox your website?  Do you even bother?  Well it's a long process, but a necessary one if you ever want to rank decently again.  I thought I'd explore the very real dilemma many of our clients deal with, and how to ctrl+alt+del your site.

ctrl alt delete

Put the gun to your head

You've established there's a problem, now it's a matter of whether you can see a worth in trying to save what you have, or starting fresh.  I know some of you are balking right now, and I get it, your website is something precious to you, how could you possibly throw it all away and start over?!  I've got to dole out some tough love though: it's no good being sentimental and emotional when it comes to evaluating the best way to deal with something that's dying a quick death.  Yes you've put a lot of work into your website, yes it's cost you a lot of money thus far.  Quite frankly, I don't care about any of that, and neither should you.  Let's draw a line in the sand and establish that your website is an asset, but it's a poor investment at the moment and you just happen to have a massive sunk cost on your books.  It's time to get it back into shape and that means starting somewhere.

I find the best approach is to consider the decision quickly, as your gut has already been processing this dilemma for a while now and ultimately you already know the right answer (from a wholistic perspective).  I know there are those of you out there who don't believe you could be dead tomorrow though, and thus need to ponder a bit more.  Here are some key things for you to think about - I must stress though, don't be emotional when you think about them, it just clouds your judgement.

  • Whether it's a manual penalty applied by Google, or the Penguin/Panda algorithmic changes smacking you down

  • How many links you have dragging your ranking down

  • How drastic a job it is to remove those links

  • How much your site currently brings in

  • How much your site would be bringing in before you were penalised

  • How long your site has been running

  • How much traffic is coming from other places (like searches, ads etc)

  • How competitive the niche is that you operate in

Go fishing

fishing

So you've decided to save what you've already got - Great!  The next phase is all about undoing those backlinks that are dragging you down, and I like to think of it as being very similar to going fishing in a new area - It's enjoyable to be out on the water, but ultimately you need to keep casting your line until you get a bite, and it's not guaranteed you ever will.

To get rid of all the links, there is a simple process you should follow:

  1. Run a backlink analysis across your entire site

  2. Determine all the toxic links and how to reach the person who created them

  3. Contact those people and ask for the link(s) to be removed, and keep contacting anyone who doesn't want to help (keep a record of who you contact, who removes links, who doesn't)

  4. If there are any really unhelpful people, you're only hope is to use Google's 'Disavow' tool to request them to ignore any links you can't get the creator to remove

Keep repeating this process until Google is satisfied (this is the you-might-not-catch-any-fish part).  And I know what some of you are thinking, but let me stop you right there - Google doesn't guarantee it will disavow any links you submit to them, so don't even bother submitting your entire list to them to try and save yourself steps 1 through 3!  This will take a long time, and I mean hours.  There's no real way to estimate how long it will take, so don't even focus on this, just start getting the job and it will be over quicker.

Don't cheat ever again

Sorry to say, but you cheated - And now it's coming back to get you.  Moral of the story? Don't cheat.  And eat more vegetables.  But primarily don't cheat!  Focus on writing good content, maintaining a relevant website and providing value, this is what will get you ranking in Google.  Not saying it will be easy, in fact it's going to be quite tough, depending on how bad you were… But worth it, so stick it out.  And if you ever have a moment of weakness, it's free to join the Optimising Black Hat SEO Support Group, we run sessions on Thursdays at 7pm.

About the Author

James Richardson

Sales Director

James Richardson started his online career by running online Sports Fan sites (luckily none are still online today), with the pinnacle of the site being a write up in the Sunday Herald Sun 'Wired' column.

His professional career began at a ASX listed company, Melbourne IT, where he held various senior roles across the Sales and Marketing teams, before deciding to venture out on his own.

Running several successful online websites and businesses himself, he is well placed at understanding your business needs.

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