One who can now state he is 100% clean and has never broken Google guidelines is a lucky guy. I for one cannot say I am the one (are you?).
Who didn’t buy or trade links for “malicious” purposes in the past when Google wasn’t that smart and strict? And now what we have is probably an old established resource with the ‘dirty’ link profile.
It can be still ranked well and receiving solid Google referral traffic. But is it just a matter of time when Google will punish it for those ‘dirty’ links? Is it possible that one day you wake up to find your most successful site nowhere in the SERPs? Would it be wise to clean-up the link profile now before it’s too late?
Wiep Knol, a link building expert, thinks this should be done. In his recent statement in Gyutae Park’s article on building natural links Wiep recommends cleaning up “your past” as an important stage of link building process:
Lastly, cleaning up your past can be wise as well. For example, Google can still see if you (or a previous site owner or SEO agency) have been blatantly buying links in the past, or if you’ve used any other illegal techniques. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing (we’ve all been bad at least once), but cleaning up before you start building new links is probably the best thing to do in such situations.
What’s my personal take? I do believe this should be done if you decide to start clean. But unfortunately my personal experience proves the opposite so far.
I used to have a fairly large network of sites (about 50 IPs and about 10 sites at each). And I operate a large portal site having about 50 inbound links from the network. A year ago I decided to delete all the links. I’ve been deleting them for several months (to ensure the change would be ‘moderate’). I also started a new “white” link building campaign to acquire links instead of those deleted. Unfortunately, the site was dropped out of the SERPs (but it is still in the index) and it still proudly gets zero referral traffic from Google.
Probably, I screwed the process at some stage and that’s not the cleaning-up matter to be blamed for that – I don’t know. The fact is that all the rest of my sites (having plenty of bought links in their profiles) are still doing quite well. Again, probably, that’s just the matter of time.
What I am still sure about is that Google does forgive if you are doing everything right. On another hand, it doesn’t seem to forget – your historical records still matter a lot (so the best way out is to be clean for the very beginning).
And what’s your experience? Do you think the link profile should be cleaned up? How should this be implemented? Cleaning up first – then building new links? Or should these be done simultaneously? Or is better to just keep the things going (and hope that Google won’t punish you for your past sins)?