Backlink removal services became very popular in 2012, after the release of Google Penguin.
Prior to the algorithm update, the more backlinks your website had, the higher the chances to rank high for your keywords.
This was back in the day when links couldn’t harm your SEO.
But when Google Penguin was released, things changed dramatically.
Websites with an unnatural backlink profile started to be penalized.
Today, it isn’t about the number of backlinks your website has, but more about the quality and authority of the sites linking to you.
People used to pay big money to get more backlinks, and now they’re willing to pay just as much to remove bad links.
Crazy, isn’t it?
Websites with too many low-quality backlinks have lower chances to rank in the top results in Google.
If you’ve suddenly lost traffic after a Google algorithm update, you should do a backlink analysis and remove the bad backlinks that can harm your SEO.
In this article, I’ll show you how the backlink removal process works and how you can delete unwanted backlinks.
Backlink Removal and Analysis: How to Delete Bad Links
Things to consider before removing backlinks
1. There are numerous tools that claim to detect your bad backlinks automatically. Avoid them at all costs, or you might end up removing some of your best links.
2. Hiring a link removal company is expensive and, most of the time, not worth it. It’s best to remove bad backlinks on your own. There’s no secret formula to remove links.
3. Removing backlinks is often not enough to get rid of a Google penalty. You also have to create and submit a disavow report with all the bad backlinks.
Any link removal action starts with a backlink analysis. You have to know which backlinks you must remove and which ones you should keep.
Follow the steps below to perform a correct backlink analysis:
1. Register an account with Monitor Backlinks. The tool has a 30-day free trial.
2. Connect your domain with Google Analytics.
3. Next, you’ll have to import the backlinks from Google Webmaster Tools into Monitor Backlinks.
To do that, go to Google Webmaster Tools and click on “Search Traffic,” and then on “Links to Your Site.”
On the next page, you’ll see the module “Who links the most.”
Click on “more,” and then on “Download latest links.”
You’ll get a report with all your backlinks Google has found so far.
4. Now go back to the Backlinks page on Monitor Backlinks. Choose “Add new backlinks.”
Click on “Import links from file.” Monitor Backlinks automatically detects the Google Webmaster Tools backlink report and imports the data.
5. With all the backlinks collected, give Monitor Backlinks a few moments to gather more details about your links. Once updated, you can filter your backlinks by their metrics to determine their quality.
Sort your links by their Domain Authority, Page Authority, Trust Flow, Citation Flow, Spam Score, anchor texts, MozRank, TLD, Google index status, number of external links and more.
Take the backlinks with the worst metrics one by one and determine if it’s worth keeping them or not.
You can learn more about filtering backlinks by reading my previous posts, “How to identify and remove backlinks that are hurting your rankings” and “What backlinks you should disavow.”
6. When you find a link you want to remove, click on the settings icon, from the left side of the link row.
Then choose to edit and add a tag to your backlink, to easily find it later. It’s best to use simple tags, like “delete.”
7. Go to the Reports page from Monitor Backlinks, and use the filters to generate customizable graphic charts with details about your links.
The SEO reports will give you a different perspective on your backlinks.
8. After you’re done tagging the backlinks you want to remove, you can find and get a list of them by using the top filters button and clicking on “Tags.”
How to remove backlinks
The link removal process can be time-consuming if you want to get rid of hundreds or thousands of links. Note that it’s impossible to remove all backlinks.
Nonetheless, in order to remove a penalty, you have to prove to Google that you’ve done your best to clean up your website’s backlink profile before submitting a disavow report.
Whether you’ve been penalized or not, removing bad backlinks is important. You shouldn’t have backlinks that you’re not proud of.
To remove backlinks, you have to contact the webmasters of the linking sites and ask them nicely to delete the link pointed to your site. Never threaten a webmaster, and be very polite if you want to be treated the same.
Be prepared to send hundreds of requests.
Link removal companies can do email outreach for you, but what’s the point when you can do it yourself?! Follow these steps to remove a bad backlink:
1. Identify the link you want to remove.
2. Find the contact information on the website. If no contact details are available, Whois can help you find the email address used to register the domain or host the website.
3. Send an email to the webmaster, and make the location of the link you want to remove very clear. Try to ease the webmaster’s job and make sure they can find and remove your link in less than one minute.
4. If you’re not getting a reply in 5-10 business days, send a follow-up.
Backlink removal email templates
Because you’re going to send hundreds of requests, you can use an email template to save time. However, do make sure to personalize each email and don’t make it look sloppy.
Below you will find two backlink removal email templates. Replace and edit them according to your needs.
My name is [Your name], and I work with [Your website]. We are currently trying to remove some links pointing to our website, and I would appreciate if you would be so kind as to help us.
Your website links to our website from here: [URL of the page linking to you].
It points to this page of our website: [URL of your site]
And it’s using the anchor text [Anchor text used for the link].
I’m kindly asking you to remove the backlink to our website. Thanks in advance.
Wishing you all the best with your website!
Here’s another link removal template:
My name is [Your name] and I work with [Your website]. I wanted to thank you for linking to our website from [URL of the page linking to you].
Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that it’s best to remove this backlink. Therefore, I will have to ask you kindly to remove this backlink from your site.
The link is located here: [URL of the page linking to you]
It links to [URL of your site]
And it’s using the anchor text [Anchor text used for the link].
Thank you for your time.
Awaiting your positive reply.
How do you know when your backlink is deleted?
When doing link removal email outreach, you’ll notice that sometimes webmasters will remove your links without giving you notice. You don’t have to check each backlink manually to see if it was removed or not.
To have everything instantly tracked and organized for you, just use Monitor Backlinks.
Monitor Backlinks automatically checks for your link statuses, and when any of your links are removed, you’ll get an email notification. You can also see the status changing from “OK” to “backlink not found” on your Backlinks page.
That’s useful, right?
Get your free 30-day trial of Monitor Backlinks to track and analyze your entire backlink profile, plus get automatic notifications whenever there’s a change.
What do you do with the backlinks you can’t remove?
A 10-20% link removal rate is great. As I said at the beginning of this post, it’s impossible to remove every single bad backlink.
With the backlinks you can’t remove, you’ll have to create a disavow report and submit it to Google Webmaster Tools.
These are the two solutions available to get rid of any Google penalty, and clean up your backlink profile. If you want to learn more about creating and submitting a disavow report, read my previous article, “How to use the disavow tool.”
Removing backlinks takes time, and you have to be patient.
But it’s a process you can do yourself quite easily, and there’s no reason to pay a link removal company to do the job for you.
Just follow the steps described in this post, and you’ll recover from any Google penalty.