Building backlinks to your site is a vital part of operating a thriving business, but what happens when bad backlinks happen to good doctors? Knowing how to manage your backlinks and identify and eliminate damaging ones is part of proper online reputation management. Here’s what you need to know to handle your SEO concerns.
Good And Bad Links: Recognizing The Difference
The difference between a good and bad backlink may not be evident at first – after all, doesn’t the saying go “any publicity is good publicity”? Unfortunately, when it comes to SEO, this isn’t the case. Bad publicity or backlinks on the wrong site can harm your business.
A good backlink should come from a website in your industry, a site that features high quality articles of a reasonable length. Short articles with little meaningful content or highly repetitive content won’t benefit your business, nor will backlinks from sites not relevant to your field.
A harder detail to spot when assessing backlink quality is whether or not Google has penalized the site linking to you. Google marks down sites when they aren’t mobile friendly, when they feature broken links, or a lot of repetitive content, among other factors. This means you should always check backlink sources on both a desktop and mobile device. Mobile optimization figures prominently in the Google algorithm.
How To Eliminate Bad Links
Bad backlinks may come from a number of places, so make sure to be thorough when cleaning up your internet footprint. Start at the beginning. Have you ever purchased a link set, perhaps while trying to draw attention to your site in its early days? Even if you’ve cleaned up these old links, they may prove insidious. Remember that the internet never forgets, so the same text used in those purchased links may pop up in other corners of the web and you’ll need to eliminate them.
Another place you may need to look – and this may come as a surprise – is to friends and employees. Have people close to your company been linking to you? This isn’t always bad as these are sometimes well contextualized, but often this desire to help out your friend, relative, or employer can result in a lot of bad backlinks. This is because, even if they’ve done some research, these links don’t reflect that true practice of SEO.
Have you been performing as a guest blogger on other websites? While guest blogging for an allied business can be a real boost to your SEO presence, choosing blogs to work with without doing the proper research is a big problem. When you guest blog for low quality websites or sites with low quality links, your site may come to be associated with this kind of work and search engines may block or lower your site ranking.
As a medical professional, you should also watch out for dissatisfied patients who are linking your site to negative content as a response to a procedure gone wrong or a failed malpractice suit. If these posts explicitly name your practice as having caused medical harm, you’ll need to not only deal with the links, but see how you can otherwise mend relations and remedy any problems caused to such patients.
The Implications Of Bad Backlinks
Bad backlinks don’t just affect your status in search engines, but they also figure in to your reputation as a professional. Bad backlinks hurt good doctors by creating the false idea that poor SEO management means a poor medical practice. Google may even directly chastise you about your backlinks, sending you an email stating that your site “may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.” When you get that email, you need to act on any concerns raised immediately.
Not only are we more likely to engage with listings that appear high in the Google rankings because we see them first, but we’ve been conditioned to know that the most reliable and relevant resources will typically come up on the first page. Bad backlinks can sink your ranking and harm your reputation, so do your best to get rid of them as quickly as possible.