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How Do You Check Your Website for Adult External Links?

By , Dec 06, 2012


Come on, let’s all admit it; at one time or another we have all (unwittingly or otherwise) visited an adult-related website. With industry figures (forbes.com) stating that over 4% of the websites online are adult-related it is hard to miss what is supposed to be a dark corner of the Internet. Quite frankly, the facts and figures related adult-related websites are astounding, the most interesting statistics are:

  • Every second, there are over 400 people searching for an adult-based keyword, that’s nearly 35million people a day!
  • There are over 30,000 Internet users viewing adult-based content every second.

It doesn’t take a genius to realise that this industry is HUGE and whether you agree or disagree with its principles, the adult industry is one of the most well-established sectors on the Internet today. However, if you are a webmaster who is running a site that is not related to the adult industry and you’re looking for reliable and high-quality traffic from search engines, you might find that you have been affected negatively by adult websites.

As part of many recent Google algorithm updates, the subject of external links has been hotly debated amongst webmasters and SEO experts. Can adult websites (which are classified as bad neighbourhoods) really harm your SEO efforts? Well, the simple answer to that question is “yes”.  With this in mind, this article is going to explain how you can check your website for adult external links and what to do if you find and locate these external links in your linking profile.

The Process

The process to analyse your external linking profile for adult-related websites is very easy, and can be achieved in a matter of minutes (rather than days). The process contains three specific stages:

  1. Categorising and finding the adult-related websites
  2. Analysing your external links profile
  3. A comparative analysis of the two data sets

How to Categorise Adult-Related Websites?

The first step in the process is to access and locate a database/ list of adult-related websites that can be categorised as “bad neighbourhoods”. The good news is that there is a website that has already carried out this work for you; I introduce you to the University of Toulouse’s bad neighbourhoods lists, which you can find on the following page: http://dsi.ut-capitole.fr/blacklists/index_en.php.

For the purpose of the process, you will need to download the list and for the majority of readers, insert this list into an excel document.

TIP: The best way to do this is to open the database in notepad and then transfer the data into an Excel document.

Analysing Your External Links Profile

The other data set that you will require for the purpose of analysing your external links for adult-related websites is your own external backlinks. The easiest, cheapest and most effective way to download all of your external links is through Majestic SEO. This tool allows you to get the complete data set of external links to your website and the best thing about it is that it’s free! Just sign-up for an account, follow the instructions and export the external links into a spreadsheet.

How to Get the Data

To retrieve the data that you require, you need to carry out the following:

  1. Open the external links into an excel spreadsheet
  2. Copy and paste the column labelled “RefRootDomain” into the same spreadsheet as the adult-related external links.

Compare the Results

The final step of the process is to compare the two data sets downloaded from the two websites (explained above) in the excel spreadsheet. After you’ve pasted the “Adult Websites” in to “column A” and your own “External Links” (source: majesticseo.com) into column “B”, you need to insert the formula “=VLOOKUP(B2,A:A,1,FALSE)” into column C. The formula is basically identifying any of your external links that is present in column A (adult websites). If column C comes back with a website address (as can be seen in rows 12 and 25 below), this specific external link can be classified as being adult-related.  

What to Do Next?

Once you have completed the following process and identified all the external links that can be categorised as “adult”, the next step is to contact the specific webmasters in order for them to remove the link.

The best technique at this stage is to keep a separate excel document highlighting all the websites that you have contacted with the following information:

  • Website Name
  • Website URL
  • Date Contacted (first email)
  • Email Copy (the actual text copy of the email sent)
  • Follow-up Email (date)
  • Any responses from the webmasters

The above information is critical as the new disavow tool in Google Webmaster Tools can help you manually highlight the external links you want to disassociate with your website. However, one of the caveats is that you have to indicate whether you have tried to contact the webmasters of the links you want to disavow (hence recording the information).

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