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6 Signs a Good Link’s Gone Bad

Why do you need to monitor your links continuously? Sometimes a previously good link can go bad, and the signs aren’t always obvious or automatic. It can be a frustrating part of a web developer’s life, but it’s crucial if you want to stay on top of your search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Link building is a big part of an SEO strategy according to Moz, and it can build your rankings up or quickly tear them down. Make sure you’re on the right path.

Here are a few red flags that a previously good links are on a downward spiral, which means you need to get out while you can. It was a good ride, but it’s coming to an end and you don’t want to hold on like it’s a bad relationship. If you spot any of these symptoms when monitoring links, call it quits:

1. Where did all those pop-ups come from?

Maybe the site has a new owner, developer or just got hungry for revenue. Pop-ups are an SEO killer because 1) they’re annoying 2) they can make a page load slower and 3) they’re a signal for Google’s SEO algorithms that it’s a “spammy” site. There are certain times when pop-ups are okay according to Social Triggers, but for the most part they’re the first sign of a decaying site.

2. There are ads galore

Ads on a site don’t necessarily mean it’s a “bad site” but when that’s all you see, that’s a cry for help. SEO crawlers see excessive ads as a spam site, and they don’t want to direct users to them. As the New York Times reports that Google is toying with the idea of removing ads altogether for a fee, 2015 might be the year that strongly ushers in an ad-free experience.

3. The content is sub par

Original, quality content is arguably the biggest SEO ranking factor. If it’s been awhile since you checked the content of a linked site and you suddenly notice it’s full of typos and generally poor content, get out. You don’t want to be associated with subpar quality, and that’s exactly what will happen if you stay. Birds of a feather flock together in real life and on websites.

4. It redirects you

Is this a DNS hack or a website owner suffering from a case of too much on their plate? If the link redirects you to a site that’s not relevant, not high quality or full of spam material, that’s not serving you. Remember that your users are counting on you to only link to things they’ll find useful. In other words, if your cat grooming blog links to a review site for fast food restaurants, that’s not a good look.

You can use Monitor’s Backlinks HTTP Status Redirect Checker to check the redirect of a link.

HTTP Header Status Checker

5. It’s incredibly slow

Studies have shown that people are getting more and more demanding when it comes to the speed of their site. In fact, the average person won’t wait longer than the blink of an eye before they start back clicking. Site speed is a big player in SEO, and if your linked sites are taking their sweet time getting there, you’ll frustrate your users.

6. You get an error code

Obviously, right? However, you’d be surprised by how many links are totally bad and stay up for much longer than necessary. It’s time to clean up your site and make sure your visitors are only being sent to links that will serve them well. Otherwise, you’re the one that ends up looking unprofessional.

Using Monitor Backlinks, you can get alerted daily when your links get an error status:

Email alert with link error changes

Link building is never “done” and it’s more of a practice than anything else, kind of like medicine. Stay strong, keep monitoring them, and you’ll come out on top.

Guest author: Anna Johansson:

Anna JohanssonAnna is a freelance writer and researcher from the Olympia, WA area who loves to obsess about weird topics and then write about them. When she isn’t writing, she is outside on her bike and contemplating her eventual trip to graduate school. Find her on Twitter.


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