Unnatural Links Warning? Your Backlinks Will Need MANUALLY Checked

There’s no one tool out there I trust more than myself to identify problematic links in a backlink profile. A tool can work out obvious spammy sites but no link analysis tool can determine out overall intent of every site or every link, on every occasion.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have came across a link I expected to be crap (based on a popular metric), and found it was actually ok. And similarly the other way.

The thing about managing ‘link risk’ is that somebody who knows what they are talking about (when it comes to crap links) NEEDS, at some point, to review your links – MANUALLY – ANYWAY – even if they ARE categorised by risk. You, or somebody on your behalf, is going to have to review your back-link and strip out the borderline cases, to ensure you keep every link you’ve ‘earned’ and only submit  to your disavow.

I say that because not all directories are crap. Not all blog links are crap. Not all syndicated duplicate articles are crap. Not all duplicate content is crap. Not all optimised anchor text links are crap.  Not all press releases are crap. Sometimes you have a good article on a crap site – sometimes you have a crap link on an excellent site. Not all scrapers are bad. Not all site-wide links are bad. Not all blog roll links are bad.

The makers of link analysis tools know that too – and they have got to err on the right side of telling you which links to disavow – you dont want to disavow links that are not problematic. Some of these are editorial, natural links, the type Google says it will reward (in the future, if not now, you would hope).

I can tell looking at a site within a few seconds if that site is a site I want to be dissociated from (yes, that statement still looks strange to me in text). I make my decisions based on  how well maintained the site looks, how relevant it is to my site, if it’s original content, if there are any obvious paid links, if it breaks Google’s guidelines, what I think Google may think of it on a few levels. I also make my decisions on EXPECTING GOOGLE TO GET EVEN MORE AGGRESSIVE in dealing with ‘manipulation’.

If a site linking to you indicates it’s main intent is to manipulate Google using low quality techniques – you want disassociated from it – today. These links are probably not going to improve with age, Google isn’t going to ‘lighten up’ any time soon.

I’m a control freak. If a tool tells me there is 100 risky links in my profile, I need to look at them. If I know I will need to look, why run these tools in the first place? Why not just look?

Most of these tools I’ve used will need to be greatly improved before I trust them on their own to do what I do myself. It’s clear Google wants you to spend – invest(?) – waste – your time cleaning up old low quality back links rather than making new low quality back links.

If you don’t dig deep enough to remove low quality links – you’ll find your self going back and forth with Google through MULTIPLE Google re-consideration requests. I think this very fact makes link risk tools without a manual review from an experienced link builder a little redundant. I would say this of course – because I sell manual reviews. I’ve built tools in-house to help me process manual reviews, but I choose as a service to carry out these human based reviews.


Send me an email if you want your back links manually reviewed, or have an unnatural links notice from Google. Costs will be dependant on your backlink profile. If you’ve lost Google traffic over the last year – this could be the sign of an algorithmic shift or penalty, based on an aspect of your links or site. I think we can expect Google to get more aggressive – end of summer is almost upon us. Contact us if you want a comprehensive seo audit of your business site to look for risk AND opportunity.


If you know what you are doing, want to take this job on yourself, expect to review your links manually but you need a little direction to get started – try Link Risk (that’s an editorial link by the way). I point out this tool as I have a great respect for the people behind it, their combined experience and technical ability.


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