Prior to working with Vizion Interactive, NEC had worked with an agency who (unbeknownst to them) had engaged in some poor link building practices such as comment spam, link networks, blog spam, and abuse of press releases for the sake of acquiring exact match anchor text links.
A Vizion client referred NEC to us for assistance with their search engine optimization (SEO). It wasn’t long after the engagement began that NEC received notice of a manual link penalty from Google.
At that time, we were in the process of building better quality links. However, we paused all link building activity to assess the message that appeared in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), and subsequently began a link audit.
To quickly and effectively perform this in-depth link audit, we used an array of tools, including:
- Open Site Explorer
- Link Research Tools
- Google Webmaster Tools
The first step was to identify which links required further analysis. Once that was done, we ran a toxic link analysis and audit on those links to determine which were actually bad, and what anchor text was being used. We were also able to discover contact information for the owners of the sites where the questionable links appeared, and we reached out to them to request removal of the bad links. We began the process in January 2014, and spent the next four months performing link removal.
During this time, we sent out four rounds of takedown requests. This process entailed sending several emails to webmasters and site owners asking them to remove any links going from their websites to NEC’s website. In April 2014, we prepared a disavow file to submit to Google so the search engine would ignore the toxic links that had been identified. In the file, we listed the links we had reached out to have removed. These links were classif ied as one of the following:
- Payment requested
- Successfully removed
At the end of our takedown requests, we prepared a disavow file and were able to report that over 60% of the toxic links we identified had been removed. After these link removals, traffic to the site more than doubled, as did the number of sessions and users brought to the site organically.
We are always dismayed when we hear of businesses who fall victim to questionable link building practices, especially when it results in their receiving a manual penalty that requires so much more work to overcome. We’re proud to offer this service to clients who find themselves in this situation, and to help them not only recover, but hopefully gain better rankings than they had before.