5 Star Reputation – Digital Experts for Independent Dealers

Does Your Dealership’s Website Need a Link Cleanup?

When it comes to SEO, backlinks can be a minefield. There was a time when gaining links from other websites to your own was all the rage, because search engines would see them as a vote of confidence in your site, no matter how illegitimate they were, and this would have a positive effect on your ranking. Then, search engines got smarter so now your website may need a link cleanup.

In 2012, Google introduced an algorithm update called Penguin, which was designed to catch websites deliberately trying to boost their Google ranking by buying dodgy or spammy links. Penguin punishes sites with these low-quality backlinks by devaluing them in search results.

Why Your Website Might Need a Link Cleanup

The obvious indicator that your site needs a link cleanup is if Google issues you with a warning. However, it will only do this if it is penalising you manually, meaning that your site has been found to violate one or more of Google’s quality guidelines in a review by company employees or contractors.

If, on the other hand, the search engine automatically penalises your site as a result of an algorithm update like Penguin, you will not be alerted. An automatic penalty means that you will rank much lower on results pages and your website traffic will plummet, so it is important to constantly keep an eye on your analytics.

How to Check if Your Backlinks are Bad

If you are worried about links to your site being harmful to your Google ranking, you can run a backlinks report in Google Webmaster Tools. Simply navigate to ‘Search Traffic’ and ‘Links to Your Site’ on the dashboard and download a list of your latest links.

Do some research into the links you have acquired and if they are not relevant, valuable or they seem suspicious – for example, if they have words like ‘backlinks’ and ‘seo’ in the URL or domain name – make a note of them.

Google Link Cleanup


How to Clean Up Your Backlinks

Google suggests that you should always attempt to remove bad links manually first. Once you have made a list of your negative links, try to contact the website owner and ask them to remove the link. This is the cleanest way to get rid of links and it will improve your site’s image because if people find spam-related links to your site, they may judge your company poorly.

Often, this does not work, and if this is the case, there is an option in Webmaster Tools to disavow backlinks. You can upload the list of links that you have deemed to be negative and Google will ignore these during the ranking process.

Link Cleanup

How to Gain Better Links

Do not let Google’s penalties scare you off link building altogether, because as long as you know what you are doing, it can be extremely beneficial to your website ranking. Guest blogging is the best way to acquire positive backlinks, but you must make sure that your blogs are well-written and that they appear on pages with high value.

A blog site is considered to be high in value if:

  • It is reputable
  • It has a positive web presence
  • It contains high-quality, relevant content (as a dealership, you should look for automotive blog sites)
  • It has a higher domain authority than your own site

Those are the basics you need to know about backlinks, but remember, SEO is an ongoing process, so do not stop after just one cleanup, you must conduct regular checks!

For more information on Click Dealer’s Link Building packages or for a free no obligations SEO Health Check for your dealership, get in touch today on marketing@clickdealer.co.uk , 01782 478 220 or via our contact page!


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