Think your site may have suffered as a result of a Google penalty? Worried your site may be penalised in the future. Follow our quick six-step guide to auditing your link profile to avoid losing pagerank through non-compliant links.

This post is adapted and abridged from our FREE eBook – Link Audit & Removal.

Download your copy now to discover how to protect your business online and recover from existing penalties.

Link Audit - 6 steps flow chart

Step one: Identify penalties

Identify whether your site has suffered an algorithmic penalty or manual action (or both).

Penguin and Panda are examples of algorithmic penalties. These are applied automatically to sites that violate Google’s guidelines. You won’t be notified if an algorithmic penalty is applied to or removed from your site.

Manual actions are penalties applied manually by Google’s webspam team. The only way to remove these penalties is to apply to Google directly. You will be notified through Webmaster Tools if a manual penalty is applied or removed.

Step two: Download links

You will need a list of links to your site that is as up-to-date and complete as possible.

Links can be downloaded through Google Webmaster Tools, but we recommend using specialist SEO software to supplement this list. Otherwise, you may end up with an incomplete picture of your link profile, and risk wasting time auditing links that won’t make a difference.

Step three: Classify links

Manually classify your links as ‘compliant’ or ’non-compliant’

Step four: Contact webmasters

For every non-compliant link, make every effort to obtain the webmaster’s details for the offending site. Reach out to the webmaster and ask for the link to be removed or modified. You should always do this before considering disavowing a link.

Step five: Disavow links

If you don’t hear back from a webmaster, or receive a negative response, add that link to a disavow list. At the end of the link auditing process, you should upload this disavow list in Google Webmaster Tools.

When a link is disavowed, it means that Google no longer recognises the link as passing Pagerank.

Step six: Repeat!

Carry out this process for every link.

Obviously if you have thousands upon thousands of links, this can be a time-consuming process!

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