It would seem that after all the updates Google has been rolling out lately, and the recent Penguin 2.0 update they have some website owners paranoid about their backlinks. Not that long ago the more you had the better you would rank in search results.
Now all of a sudden a lot of site owners don’t want all those links pointing to their website anymore. Funny thing is some people spent a lot of time getting them to begin with, and now they are spending more time trying to find and remove them.
I hope the folks trying to get a site owner to remove their link really know what they are doing. I can see wanting to remove your link from certain sites, or if there happened to be some unrelated keywords involved to some extent. Believe it or not you would be surprised by the number of sites linking to yours via blog comments with spammy keyword anchor text that you probably didn’t do yourself. The same goes for spammy trackbacks.
I guess maybe some site owners are finding these kinds of backlinks and hope if they can get them removed they will see a surge in traffic and rankings again.
Anything is possible, but one of the big questions is: do you really need to worry about sites linking to yours with the nofollow attribute? Because that is what many of them seem to be.
Unless I missed it I haven’t seen one article or video by Google that would indicate that you should worry about backlinks with a nofollow tag. The only thing I ever see mentioned is about dofollow, which will pass pagerank and can help improve your own pagerank and search result rankings. Whenever we read about nofollow links we hear no pagerank is passed and therefore your search engine rankings will not be affected.
If you are out to remove certain sites that link to yours I would be more concerned about poor quality dofollow links pointing to your website than the nofollow ones.
Some would argue that you should worry about both because they could potentially turn or switch to dofollow. Sure it’s possible, but I don’t see that happening very often.
Another thing I see people talking about especially after a new Google update like Penguin is if they can’t get their links removed they jump right into the Google Disavow tool. Some people don’t even try to contact a site in question first.
The Disavow tool isn’t something you want to go around messing with if you don’t know what you are doing. Google even warns you to use it with caution.
I see people running all these backlink finder things to figure out who links to them and to what page. Then, they go wait a minute that looks kind of bad I am going to disavow the link. I don’t think they put much thought into it, and sometimes it can end up backfiring on them.
Another thing I see people doing is Disavowing a specific link/page, which might be fine if you are confident that your link doesn’t exist somewhere else on the site in question, but it might be better to Disavow the entire site/domain rather than an individual page or post. I mean if you really want to add it, then most likely you wouldn’t be happy if your link was somewhere else on the same site. If you Disavow the entire domain, then you don’t have to worry if your link exists elsewhere on the site, and you just missed it.
If you are trying to get your link removed from certain sites by either asking the site owner to remove it or using the Disavow tool make sure it is really necessary. Don’t just guess or rush into it because you could end up doing more harm than good, and actually reduce your search engine rankings.
I am not saying don’t clean up your backlink profile, but if you do make sure you understand what you are doing and do some research first. If you believe you were hit by a Google update or penalty don’t assume it is solely related to your backlink profile. There could be other factors involved.