Before you read: be sure that you have read the steps on How To Identify Spammy Or Bad Backlinks since that is an important step to make sure that you do not remove any links that are actually good links and aren’t causing any harm. Often times people will remove links that are actually helping their rankings and rankings are lost all together.

Now that you know how to identify the links that need to be removed, we can learn how to get rid of unwanted backlinks to your site. For the longest time, most sites operated under the assumption that there was no such thing as a bad link. Webmasters would build as many links as they could with exact match anchor text to help rank for those keywords. Unfortunately, this sets off all kinds of red flags for Google that the sites are trying to game the system, and consequentially, were slammed with a link penalty.

Now that you have a list of links that you want to have removed, we can begin the steps to remove the links. Unfortunately, it isn’t easy and requires a lot of time and effort. We are strong believers in link removal services that can help with the process start to finish. Using a service is the most efficient way to complete the process, here we will outline what you need to do in order to handle it on your own. Unfortunately, Google wants the webmaster to really make a solid effort to contact site owners and documenting the work. That means actually manually reaching out and making a request.

1. Create An Excel File Or Google Doc For Documentation

The most important part about this process is actually going to be your documentation of your outreach. Google will want to see PROOF that you have done your part and put in a considerable amount of time to repair your link profile. You are going to want to create a spreadsheet with the following information on it to keep track of your email outreach:

  • Link To: The URL of the page on your site that has the link pointing to it
  • Link From: This is the URL of the page that is linking to your site that you want removed
  • Email address: This is the address of site owner or contact
  • First Request Date: Include date of first request
  • Second Request Date: Include date of second request that should be sent a week later if no response from first request
  • Third Request Date: Include date of the third request, 1 week after the second request
  • Any notes you want to leave about the site
2. Create an email template

Creating an email template will help you save time and expedite the email requests. The email will be a request to other webmasters that are in charge or own the site that has the link that you need removed. When you write the email, you will want to include the following points:

State that you are the owner of the site that is being linked to and that you are trying to recover from a Google Penalty.
List the URL of where the link can be found and the anchor text of the link. Also list the URL of the page where it is linking to.
Be polite- don’t demand that the link be removed. You will have a better success rate if you are nice and are not rude.
Personalize the email. Include names of the webmaster or the site if possible. The more customized the email is, the better chances you will have since you will sound like a real human being.
The more details you can include, the better.

Here is an example outreach template that you can use:

Hi (SITE OWNER),
I wanted to reach out to you about a link that you have on your site that is linking to mine. I am the site owner of (YOUR WEBSITE) and have recently been penalized by Google for having “unnatural links.” In order for me to get this penalty removed, I need your help removing a link on your site that can be found here (LINK TO URL). If you can remove that for me, it would be greatly appreciated!

As you may already know, Google will not remove a penalty unless I have made an effort to have links removed and documented my efforts rather than me simpley disavowing the links. Disavowing links is bad for the site that is being disavowed, so I would much rather just have the link removed than disavow your site, which is why your help would be really great.

Thank you in advance for your help with this. If you could let me know when the link is removed, that would be really helpful.

Sincerely,
(YOUR NAME)

3. Find Contact Information

Now that your template is ready to go, you are going to need to contact the owners of the sites that have the links. To add more frustration to the process, finding the right contact information isn’t always easy. Aside from the sites that either list contact email addresses or have contact forms, it will sometimes be difficult to find the address of the site owner or contact. Here are some tools that you can use to help find the email address:

Domaintools.com: This tool will allow you to enter the domain name and it will show you the WHOIS Lookup information for who is the domain registrant. Often times the WHOIS information is private and you will need to go down other avenues.
Spyonweb.com: This tool will help you find out what sites have similar IP addresses, Analytics, or even Adsense code on them. The thought here is that if one site doesn’t have contact info, you can see if there is another website that has the same Analytics tracking code on it and see if there is contact info on that site after you determine there is a relationship.
Social Media: Lots of sites have social media links on them these days. This should be a last and final resort if you can’t find contact info. You can reach out to them on twitter or try connecting with them on Google+ or other social networks.

4. Email Outreach

A lot of people have recommended that you use an email address that includes the domain name that you own to help prove that the link removal request is legitimate. While this sounds good in theory, you run the risk of having your domain flagged as spam when you send out a large amount of outreach emails depending on how bad your situation is. We link to recommend a Gmail account to help protect your domain name, but also to incorporate some helpful tools that will help you speed up the process.

Here are some helpful tools to speed up your email outreach:

Canned Responses For Gmail: Allows you to save the email as a template for repetitive use. Also avoids copying and pasting over and over again.
Boomerang For Gmail: Boomerang will let you not only schedule emails, but will also remind you if no one responds to your request. This is extremely helpful when it comes to keeping track of who responds to your email and will notify you to reach back out.

As you go through your list of sites, be sure to document as you go using the spreadsheet that you created in the earlier steps. The more documentation, the better. You are going to want to space out your follow up emails a week apart. For example, when you send the first outreach email to request the removal, document the date that it was sent in your spreadsheet. If they get back to you, update the spreadsheet with whether or not it was removed. If there was no response, wait a week to send your second email. Document the date that the second email was sent. After a third attempt, you can let it rest and move on knowing that you will just have to disavow. The important part about this process is the documentation. Google knows that you won’t be 100% successful every time. They just want to know that you did the best you could and three documented attempts should certainly do that.

As webmasters respond to your email, there are a few responses that you can expect:

  • They removed the link and told you
  • They removed the link and didn’t respond to your email
  • No response at all
  • They will respond saying that they will remove the link if you pay them

Unfortunately, more and more sites are responding demanding payment to remove the links. This is sad, but don’t worry to much about it. Don’t pay them, just let them know that you are planning on Disavowing links to their site and that it will have a negative impact on their site. Google knows that this is a growing problem and one link won’t be the end of the world. Simply plan on Disavowing the link and moving on.

<h5>5. Finish Documentation And Get Ready To Disavow</h5>

As the responses come in, be diligent with your documentation and make sure that you add all the dates correctly. The tools above will also help you follow up with any sites that don’t respond. A lot of sites might not respond, but don’t worry too much about it. You will Disavow those sites. Now that you are all done with your email outreach, you can now get ready to do your Link Disavows.

Click here to visit the Link Disavows page.