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Since Google unleashed Panda and Penguin to weed out bad links and address spam, the old “backlink packages” sold on Warrior Forum and similar sites have resulted to near-zero value to webmasters.
In fact, many niche sites owners have reported that their sites tanked and never recovered for over a year since these algorithm changes rolled out.
Like many of you, I’ve entrusted my hard-earned money to many of these “SEO expert” services to get results and while a couple of my sites benefited and profited in the short-term (like 3-6 months), they suffered for over a year because of these bad neighborhood links.
I’ll say it outright — they’re scamming you, selling you junk that they will always blame your site’s on-page SEO and other factors if their service brings no results.
If you think about it, any form of links that can be generated by a push of a button can’t be smarter than the system made by Google engineers, right?
Add to the fact that we’re here to build profitable yet ethical and useful websites for Amazon affiliate earnings shouldn’t rely on black-hat or shady schemes just to make a buck.
I’m very familiar with the traffic trends of a couple of my Amazon niche sites and after seeing the traffic drop to double (or even single) digit level, I figured it’s time I do something about it.
I started using the Google Webmaster Tool’s Disavow tool around March of 2013, but I didn’t really know what to do with the data and I’m afraid that I might remove too much links, including good ones.
I started removing the really, really obvious spam links, like those from comments and junk sites like gambling, adult, or fake directories and such. After a month or so, I started seeing some upward movement in traffic.
Around the end of May, I received an email from a friend of mine and somewhat of an Amazon affiliate coach of mine — Erica Stone (author of the Extreme Review and Titanium Backlinks products that have brought me good success) that she’s published a free PDF about removing unnatural links using Google’s Disavow tool (download link), so I followed a more systematical approach.
Unnatural Link Warning on Google Webmaster Tools
Unlike Erica and most other Internet marketers, though, I didn’t get a single warning from Google about Unnatural links. However, I know I have them so I might as well go through the process of removing them.
Following Erica’s guide, I jotted down the domains and referring pages to my site that were unrelated to my site, from link farms or article directories, from Web 2.0 properties that are low-reputation (anything not from WordPress, Squidoo, etc.) and I was left with almost no backlinks, like less than 50 or so that were natural backlinks.
I still have backlinks for the sites, but most of them are now either linked from people who used my site as reference on their Craigslist or eBay items, forum backlinks that were used in-post (related to the topic being discussed), and articles I’ve written in the past for EzineArticles and related sites.
I went from thousands to less than 3 digit backlinks.
I started doing all these around May for three sites that have stats I am familiar with and kept track of in the past, then I kept checking the list of backlinks and removed more while adding new “clean” links using Titanium Backlinks around end of June.
For the first month or so, nothing much happened, but after 2-3 months, my click stats went up as well as my traffic.
Check out the stats below:
Note that Site 3 is less than a year old, hence the “wider” graph.
Backlink Building, Not Fun, But Works
Obviously building backlinks (especially using Titanium Backlink method) works, and it’s relatively cheap. I’m a very lazy guy when it comes to building links, however, and have moved towards a list-building model for a couple of my Amazon niche sites that favor email marketing.
I’m still having trouble removing links from those private link networks that some providers used, so I’m sure those are still kicking my site’s traffic butt right now.
It’s clear, however, that having a clean backlink profile with good content and targeted keyword list is still the way to go.
It’s better to see progress and traffic growth slowly than seeing spikes and tanking to oblivion because of these shady backlinks sellers using blackhat methods. Be wary of their testimonials, I’m pretty sure most come from pre-Panda/Penguin era.
Check out Titanium Backlink here.