This is a question I’m often asked by FE clients and here are a few thoughts I share with them.
Start with Google Webmaster Tools as it shows a significant number of your site’s inbound links.
You are likely to have links from education directories, local papers and places like that but how about the others. These can cause damage to your reputation and SEO rankings. If someone wants to damage your reputation or drop you off the SERP results it is possible to do this by spamming a site with a deluge of unnatural links from poor sites. It’ll make you look like you are using black hat SEO tactics.
Is it likely to happen? Maybe or maybe not. But a students prank could destroy your rankings very quickly. So what to do?
Firstly keep an eye on your incoming links.
Google say that “spammy blog comments, auto generated forum posts or text advertisements with links that pass PageRank are likely to be seen as unnatural links”. They also say that these types of links will violate their quality guidelines.
So this is important!
How to cleanse a site of bad backlinks
You can start by asking the site the links are coming from to either remove them or to use a no follow link. Realistically this is unlikely to work in most cases.
So then you may need to use the Google Disavow Links Tool.
You will need to make an application to Google part of this process but legit education organisations aren’t likely to have much problem with this and Google will often process your request in a few days.