Check & Disavow Toxic BacklinksSubhash Kashyap
You type in your website URL, see a list of hundreds of other websites, and breathe a sigh of relief as you see that your site has no unnatural links indexed by Google.
But hang on a minute, what is that at the bottom of the first page of the search results?
There are hundreds of domains linking to a website for a single keyword phrase and no anchor text! The next few pages are not much better!
With so many link tools at our disposal, it’s all too easy to put quantity before quality.
Oftentimes, this is entirely a matter of chance since Google’s penalty for spam links is more than just a slap on the wrist and can hurt your website in the form of reduced rankings and traffic.
But more often than not, Google algorithms ignore them.
Here we’ll give you an idea of how to identify these poisonous links and explain how to remove them, preventing them from hurting your SEO campaign.
What Are Bad Backlinks?
Making it possible for us to connect with people across the globe and allowing almost anyone to get their hands on ‘almost anything’.
With the Internet, businesses have found a new way to market themselves so that they can thrive. While this is awesome for marketers, it’s not so great for SEOs.
A toxic backlink is a link that brings you no value and may hurt your website’s ranking.
In short, it refers to links that come from sites that Google considers to be low-quality, and such links will be devalued.
Chances are slim that these links will help your website rank better because they’re from sites Google doesn’t trust.
What Makes a Backlink Toxic?
Search engines are well aware of what you are doing and take action against such sites and the webmasters who use them.
Unnatural links – An unnatural link is any kind of link that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the content or the links leading to it.
It could be from an article marketing spam, spam web links, and other similar tactics used by webmasters for increasing rankings.
Surrounded by completely irrelevant content – As Google’s algorithm becomes more sophisticated and complex, it can tell whether your link is surrounded by appropriate content.
Hidden links – The whole point of building good links to your website is to share good content with other people.
If you publish content and have to manipulate the way that it appears on another website, then you’ve failed at driving traffic to your website using good link-building techniques.
Built with PBN and link farms – The problem with these old-school tactics is that the links they build get you nowhere.
Google’s Penguin algorithm is looking for more natural-looking links and will devalue those found on PBNs and link farms.
How to Find Toxic Backlinks
Rather than counting incoming links and trying to figure out the value each one provides, use a toxic backlink checker to carry out a backlink audit and get an accurate picture of the website’s overall health.
Such a tool will show you all the backlinks your website has, including their types, the link authority, as well as other vital backlink data.
Besides, it’s a great addition to your SEO arsenal that will help you carry out toxic link checks and identify bad links on your website that can quickly bring down your rankings.
As we already mentioned, a toxic backlink profile is one of the most common reasons for some consequences.
It’s, therefore, essential to check link profiles, as well as to monitor and review backlinks to the site.
For this reason, it’s worth paying further attention to backlinks from highly irrelevant websites/articles since they can have negative consequences in Google’s eyes.
In addition, links coming from low-quality, spammy websites are just as harmful as those coming from irrelevant foreign language sites.
The anchor text is almost always the webmaster’s next choice when it comes to linking text.
Overuse/abusive use of this option, as well as having it be unoriginal and possibly irrelevant, are some other problems that can affect a website’s reputation.
If you have an article dedicated to SEO trends, for instance, using the anchor text “Click here” is a bad idea.
However, “Additional SEO tricks” will show the additional resource logically and visibly for both the user and the search engine.
Why Do Websites Get Toxic Backlinks?
Lack of owners’ knowledge
Many website owners will jump on any chance they get to improve their search ranking on the first page.
They go for quantity over quality and hire SEO firms that use techniques that are non-compliant with Google guidelines.
The first reason for this is that most site owners have a very basic understanding of SEO and don’t realize the danger of these actions.
Google is extremely serious about these so-called ‘link-building‘ practices.
This is why it’s better to hire an experienced SEO consultant or company or use a simple tool to at least check the website’s metrics and keywords before placing a link (Google Keyword Planner, SE Ranking, etc.).
Use automation services
Websites that use automation to get backlinks are a big no-no.
This kind of process is known as link farming, and it usually involves artificial or fake websites that were created for the sake of getting links from them.
Such automation services allow you to sign up and then buy a series of links that were not created manually by humans but by computers and bots around spammy content and from bad resources.
Automation can be used in this process to simultaneously create tens of thousands of sites and link each one to your business website.
This obviously shows you in a bad light, which is why you should avoid getting involved in these kinds of schemes.
Toxic SEO Service
Some SEO providers offer low-quality services to their clients. They can earn a profit by using black hat and gray hat tactics.
The main goals of these services are to get more cheap traffic to websites and earn more money from them.
The owners of such toxic SEO services often use PBNs and spam web directory links.
This might look appealing to entrepreneurs who are just starting out and can’t afford more expensive options.
However, these services have a reputation for building toxic links with their clients.
A toxic SEO company will take their clients’ list of keywords and plug them into any sources they can find.
These links aren’t directly relevant to the client’s business, which can hurt the website if Google ever decides to punish it.
Negative SEO attacks are scenarios where a black hat SEO points a lot of bad backlinks toward a website.
Sometimes, players within the industry have access to “private” blog networks (or PBNs) and/or spam forums where they have created partnerships with certain websites.
These people are paid to place links from specific web pages or forums on their websites, which then point to the target website.
With enough spammy links pointing toward the target website using different IPs, you can be sure that Google will take action against the target website’s search rankings.
How Do Toxic Backlinks Harm Websites?
Google will likely ignore the links
Google’s algorithm is becoming increasingly adept at spotting low-quality or spammy SEO backlinks.
This means the majority of links that would have once been considered toxic are now simply ineffective.
The most likely outcome of low-quality SEO backlinks is that nothing happens at all. The links aren’t taken into account by the search engine, so your site is unaffected.
You can receive a manual action
The worst-case scenario for toxic links is probably the most common: receiving a manual action.
Manual actions can trigger a negative effect on your page or website ranking.
Some of these effects include;
Getting penalized in local search results, dropping in specific search result positions, and being removed from search results entirely.
But what is manual action?
It’s an action by a search engine algorithm that is carried out by actual human beings.
The rules for these actions are normally defined in the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Manual actions are considered to be more severe than algorithmic actions and can cause serious harm to your website or business if they go unchecked.
Bad backlinks can even damage your website’s reputation
Bad backlinks can even damage your website’s reputation when your company’s name is shown around irrelevant and even improper content.
If your company’s name appears with content that is questionable, it could tarnish your company’s reputation.
Links from casino sites could do this to even a well-known brand if not taken care of properly.
Rankings could still be harmed
It’s common knowledge within SEO communities that black-hat SEO techniques, such as the use of Private Blog Networks, can result in severe consequences.
As outlined in this guide from Google, the ‘natural’ link profile of a website takes priority over links that were artificially generated.
If a website ends up with an unnatural link profile consisting of mostly low-quality links, Google might punish it by ranking its pages lower than it deserves.
How to Find Toxic Backlinks and Handle Them?
Contact the webmaster and ask him to handle toxic backlinks
The first option is to contact the webmaster of the sites that host the backlinks and ask them to remove them.
While this may sound like a simple solution, there are a number of reasons why webmasters might not honor your request.
They might not have enough time and resources to deal with your request or simply might not be willing to help you out.
But if the people who created the backlinks are legit webmasters, you stand a decent chance of getting them to remove the toxic backlinks from their sites.
However, if the webmasters are not well-known or in a very competitive niche, you might have a hard time convincing them to remove their links.
Disavow the list of toxic backlinks
Preparing a backlink blacklist and disavowing those links is a great way to clean up your Google Search Console account and fix errors or issues that have been flagged by Google.
You might have been penalized for having too many links pointing to your website from poor-quality sites, or you may have found some spammy web pages that have the same content as your website but use your domain name in their link profile.
Disavowing links is a strategy that allows you to tell Google which links are toxic and shouldn’t be counted towards your overall link profile.
It is essential to remember that Google wants to provide users with quality results at all levels of its service.
Thus, it has created its own rules regarding links and content between sites, and if your site is caught breaking one of those rules, it could get hit with a penalty or worse.
That is why it’s worth getting acquainted with such a term as “toxic backlink’ so that you can stay in the loop!