Spot & Remove Bad Backlinks: A Comprehensive Approach for Better SEO
Are you tired of those annoying bad backlinks dragging your website down, hurting your search engine rankings, and damaging your online reputation?
Fear not; you are not alone. There are many website owners who are struggling to get higher rankings.
And we are here to arm you with the knowledge and tools to identify and remove those bad backlinks once and for all.
After the Penguin update, many things have changed in terms of good/quality backlinks.
And you need to be really cautious about the backlinks to make sure you are getting what you aim for.
So, in this comprehensive guide, we will help you understand the following:
- The basics of good and bad backlinks
- How bad backlinks can negatively impact your SEO rankings
- Ways you can identify and remove toxic backlinks to improve search ranking.
So, let’s dive in!
What are Bad Backlinks?
Bad backlinks, also known as toxic or low-quality links, are incoming links from spammy, untrustworthy, or irrelevant websites.
These unwanted digital crooks can harm your website’s search engine rankings and credibility.
And search engines like Google consider backlink profiles when determining a site’s authority and relevance.
Bad backlinks signal a negative association, potentially leading to penalties or lower rankings.
To keep a website in good standing with search engine algorithms and ensure that it continues to get crucial organic traffic, it is essential that these negative links be identified and removed.
Whereas in terms of quality, the backlinks can be divided into the following categories.
Really Great: Backlinks that come from websites that have high authority in the niche.
Good: These are backlinks from websites that have high-quality content, and their overall quality is high, too.
Potentially Dangerous: Backlinks from sites that are totally different from yours in terms of niche and services. Also, those who have low-quality content.
Why Is It Important to Remove Bad Backlinks?
Well, removing bad backlinks is crucial to safeguard your website’s credibility, search engine rankings, and online visibility.
Because these bad backlinks can lead to penalties from Google and ultimately impact your website’s traffic and reputation.
By identifying and eliminating bad backlinks, you protect your site from
- potential penalties
- maintain a healthy backlink profile
- ensure your hard-earned SEO efforts continue to drive organic growth and success in the digital realm
So, don’t let bad backlinks hold you back—stay proactive and keep your website’s reputation spotless.
Types of Bad Backlinks
Here are some examples of bad backlinks that you should remove immediately before they do much harm to your site.
1. Sitewide Links
These are links that appear on every page of a website, like a footer or a sidebar. They are often used by spammy websites to manipulate search engine rankings.
2. Links Coming From Link Networks
These are a collection of websites made specifically with the intention of linking to other websites. These connections, which are frequently of poor quality, may result in penalties.
3. Directory Links
Directories are online databases that categorize websites by industry, location, or other criteria. Some directories offer paid or free backlinks to websites. However, many of these directories are of low quality and have been devalued by search engines.
4. Links From Blog Comments
If you receive links from blog comments, they are often seen as spam by search engines. They are usually irrelevant and can be harmful to your website’s SEO performance.
5. Links Associated with Over-Optimized Anchor Texts
Anchor texts are visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. Over-optimized anchor texts use exact-match keywords or phrases to manipulate search engine rankings. They can harm your website’s SEO performance and result in penalties.
How to Find Bad Backlinks
There are many ways to find out if your website has bad backlinks or not. To do that, look for the following.
- Use backlink analysis tools: Tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz Link Explorer can help you analyze your website’s backlink profile. Register and verify your website, then navigate to the backlink analysis section to gather a list of your inbound links.
- Identify low-quality or spammy websites: Look for links from websites with low domain authority, unrelated niches, or questionable content. These sites may have a high spam score or display excessive ads and irrelevant outbound links.
- Check for unnatural anchor text: Over-optimized or keyword-stuffed anchor text can signal manipulative linking practices, making these backlinks potentially harmful.
- Spot paid or reciprocal links: Search engines may penalize sites participating in link schemes, such as buying or exchanging links. Be cautious of links with terms like “sponsored” or “partners.”
- Detect broken or non-existent pages: Links pointing to 404 error pages or removed content can harm your website’s SEO.
- Monitor link velocity: A sudden influx of backlinks might indicate spammy link-building activities. Monitor link acquisition trends to identify suspicious patterns.
Remember to regularly audit your backlink profile to maintain a healthy, high-quality link landscape.
Steps to Remove Bad Backlinks
Before eliminating the bad links, you must perform a backlink audit to identify which links are problematic.
Checking thousands of links by hand could take a lot of time and effort. Thankfully, there are a few tools you can use to filter your backlinks depending on several factors.
Step 1: Finding Your Backlinks
It is helpful to use backlink analysis tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz Link Explorer to create a comprehensive list of your website’s inbound links.
These tools can provide valuable information on your link profile and help you identify the source domains. You need to thoroughly study the data and figure out what works for your site and what’s not.
Step 2: Identify Bad Backlinks
Now, your goal is to identify bad backlinks by examining various aspects of the source websites. You can examine every link on the basis of the following metrics and be sure if they need to be removed or not. Here’s what you need to consider:
Domain Authority: DA is a metric that estimates a website’s ability to rank in search engine results. A low DA score indicates a less trustworthy or influential site. Use tools like Moz or Ahrefs to check the DA of the linking domains.
Relevance to Your Niche: Assess whether the linking website’s content is related to your industry or niche. Backlinks from unrelated websites may appear unnatural and could be seen as manipulative by search engines.
Content Quality: Visit the source website and evaluate its content. If it appears low-quality, spammy or lacks valuable information, it is likely a bad backlink. Be wary of sites with thin content, excessive ads, or irrelevant outbound links.
Spam Score: Tools like Moz provide a spam score to gauge the likelihood of a website being flagged as spam by search engines. High spam scores signal potentially harmful backlinks.
Unnatural Anchor Text: Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. According to the link building experts at Outreach Monks unnatural anchor text, such as over-optimized or keyword-stuffed text, may suggest that the backlink was created solely for SEO manipulation.
Links Pointing to Broken or Non-Existent Pages: Backlinks directing users to 404 error pages or removed content can negatively impact your website’s SEO. Ensure that all backlinks lead to live, relevant pages on your site.
By carefully analyzing each backlink based on these criteria, you can effectively identify and address bad backlinks that could harm your website’s performance.
Step 3: Remove Bad Backlinks
The process of removal of backlinks is pretty simple; you just have to be a little alert. You need to contact webmasters or site owners of websites hosting bad backlinks and request their removal.
You can follow the below steps and connect with a webmaster requesting bad backlink removal.
Find Contact Information: Locate the contact details of the webmaster or site owner, typically found on a “Contact Us” or “About Us” page. You can also use tools like WHOIS Lookup to find the registrant’s email address.
Craft a Polite Email: Write a clear, concise, and professional email requesting the removal of the bad backlink. Be polite and respectful in your tone, and explain that the unwanted link is negatively affecting your website’s SEO performance.
Provide Necessary Details: In your email, include the specific URL of the page containing the bad backlink, as well as the exact URL on your website where the link points. Providing these details makes it easier for the webmaster to locate and remove the link.
Follow-up: If you don’t receive a response within a reasonable timeframe (typically 1-2 weeks), send a follow-up email as a gentle reminder. Remain courteous and understanding, as webmasters may have other priorities or may not have seen your original email.
Keep a Record: Document all correspondence with the webmasters, including sent emails, responses, and any agreements made. This record serves as evidence of your efforts to remove the bad backlinks and can be useful when submitting a disavow request to Google.
Make sure you are committed to maintaining a clean and high-quality link profile, which is essential for your website’s long-term SEO success.
Step 4: Track and Monitor
Consistent tracking and monitoring are essential in maintaining a healthy backlink profile.
Schedule regular backlink audits: Set up a routine (e.g., monthly or quarterly) to examine your backlink profile using the analysis tools mentioned earlier. If you regularly review your links, you can catch bad backlinks early and address them before they cause significant damage to your website’s SEO.
Monitor link removals: Keep an eye on the status of the bad backlinks you’ve requested to be removed. Check if the webmasters have complied with your request and if the links have been deleted. Update your records accordingly.
Analyze your competitors’ backlinks: Monitoring your competitors’ backlink profiles can provide insights into industry trends and reveal potential high-quality link opportunities. This practice will help you stay ahead of the curve and identify any negative tactics being used against your competitors that could potentially target your website as well.
If you diligently track and monitor your backlink profile, you can promptly address any harmful links and maintain a high-quality link landscape.
Step 5: Disavow The Remaining Bad Backlinks
In some cases, you may not be able to remove all bad backlinks pointing to your site, either because the webmasters are unresponsive or the links are on websites that you cannot control.
In such situations, you can use Google’s Disavow Links Tool to tell Google that you don’t want these particular links to be taken into account when determining your site’s ranking.
So, effectively managing your website and its backlinks is crucial, as they play a key role in any SEO strategy. Keep in mind that not all backlinks hold equal value. By being proactive and vigilant, you can safeguard your website’s reputation and guarantee its long-term success in the competitive digital landscape. And that’s where you can connect with a trustworthy white label link building agency to help you create high-authority backlinks for your site.
Also, by maintaining relationships with reputable websites and focusing on obtaining high-quality backlinks, you will contribute to a more stable online presence and improved organic traffic. As you continue to refine and strengthen your backlink profile, you’ll be better positioned to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape and maintain a successful SEO strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are bad backlinks?
Links from spammy, unrelated, or low-quality websites are referred to as bad backlinks. They may even cause search engine penalties and affect your website's SEO performance.
What are good backlinks?
Links from reputable, authoritative, and high-quality websites are considered to be good backlinks. They may enhance the SEO functionality of your website and raise its exposure on search engine results pages.
How do I find bad backlinks?
You can use tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or SEMrush to find bad backlinks pointing to your website.
Why is it important to remove bad backlinks?
Removing bad backlinks is crucial to improve your website's SEO performance and increasing its visibility on search engine results pages.
What are the steps to remove bad backlinks?
The steps to remove bad backlinks are finding your backlinks, identifying bad backlinks, removing bad backlinks, tracking and monitoring, and disavowing the remaining bad backlinks.