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SEO 16 min read

You've got a toxic backlink alert

How To Find And Remove Bad Backlinks

Matthew White
Owner at iDisk SEO
I am sure many of you have received those pesky backlinks, from random non-relevant sources, that contain high spam scores, and hinder your potential SEO ranking.

When you get unwanted backlinks from irrelevant sources, it hurts your ranking because google sees the sites linking back to yours as untrustworthy.
If you're looking to remove some backlinks that are affecting your website in a negative way, I have good news!

Removing bad SEO backlinks doesn't have to be a daunting task. With the right template and tools, you can easily get rid of the backlinks that are holding your website back and improve your SEO ranking.

Below are some of the best ways to get rid of troublesome backlinks, find out how many backlinks website has and boost your websites ranking. So, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to improve your site.
How To Get Quality Backlinks: The Ultimate Guide (2021 Linkbuilding Strategies That Work)

Toxic Backlinks

A link intended to influence PageRank or a site's ranking in Google search results, according to Google, might be deemed a link scheme and a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines. Any activity that manipulates links to your site or external links from your site falls under this category.

Why is It Important to Remove Bad BacklinksFinding your backlinks

There are three major reasons to remove dangerous backlinks. These are ranked from most important to least important:

  • The most pressing reason to clean up your backlinks is that you won't be able to display your site in Google unless you tackle the toxic backlinks issue. If your site has been penalized with a Google manual web spam penalty, Google will notify you via the Google Search Console that your link profile is "unnatural."

  • Penalty based on an algorithm. Poor quality links may damage you over time, as Google rolls out new algorithms virtually every day. If your search engine rankings drop considerably during a known Google algorithm change, this is likely to be the case.

  • Preventative maintenance. Frequently, you will find sites linked to your website that make you feel uneasy. To avoid future algorithmic or manual bad backlink penalties, these links should be analyzed further.

Steps to Remove Bad Backlinks

The procedure of checking spam backlinks and removing them can be time-consuming and stressful! It's conceivable that you have hundreds of toxic backlinks that are virtually impossible to remove. Some sites will charge a fee for removal, while others will simply deny or ignore your requests. Follow next steps to remove your toxic backlinks:

  • Find toxic backlinks you wish to get rid of.

  • Contact the webmaster, look for contact info on the website. If nothing appears, try to determine who runs the website.

  • Send an email to the webmaster/owner with detailed information about the link you want to remove. If you don't hear back after 8 to 10 days, send another email.

  • Disavow the links in Google Search Console if no answer or payment is required to remove the link.

  • It's also possible to remove the pages rather than the links. If you have low-quality pages connected to by toxic links, you can 404 the page to delete it.

Finding your backlinks

There are many free options for finding backlinks to your site, but paid solutions provide accurate results with an easy to use interface. Paid backlink monitoring tools provide specific insights on a backlinks spam score, index status, trust flow and other useful information that can help to improve your link building efforts.

You can also quickly see new backlinks and get specific insights, which is helpful for identifying bad backlinks and keeping your Google trust flow in the green. This is a crucial step that needs to be continuously monitored to avoid any penalties from non relevant spam sites who create bad backlinks on google.

One of the easiest ways of removing bad backlinks is by using the Serpstat Backlink Analysis tool.
Serpstat Backlink Analysis Tool: A Comprehensive Guide
However, for the sake of this article, we are going to assume you are on a budget or don't want to spend money on any paid backlink tools.

The first step in removing bad backlinks is to understand where our backlinks are coming from. To start off, we will be using the Google Search Console to locate our backlinks.
1
Log into your Google Search Console and navigate to "Search Traffic" > "Links to Your Site."
2
Сlick More under Who links the most.
3
Then click "Download more sample links" and save the .CSV file for further examination.
Now we have a .CSV file of all backlinks detected by Google Search Console, but we are not quite finished yet. We still need to further examine the links in our new file to determine what links are actually adding value to your site and what ones are not.

Now I know what you're thinking, there are hundreds of links in here, how will I ever go through them all?

Don't worry, you will not have to review every link from that domain, most of the time if one backlink is bad, all the links from that domain are bad as well.
 

Determining bad backlinks

All right, you have your list, now you need to ask yourself these three questions every time your auditing a backlink.
1
Is the content relevant to your site?
It's plain and simple: content needs to be relevant to your site. Google uses this metric to determine the trust flow to your site (link juice). If you have a website about music, make sure all the backlinks to your website are music related.
2
Is this site Indexed by Google?
If running a search on google for site:domain and it shows up with no results, the site is most likely being penalized by Google and this can affect your rank.Below you can see an example showing how this search is performed.
3
Does this site have a spam score?
The easiest way I have found to determine a sites spam score is to use Moz Open Site Explorer. All you have to do is input your URL, and the spam score will be displayed.

Outreach to websites for removal of backlinks

Google prefers that you outreach to these sites to request a link removal, however, most of the time when they are coming from a spam site it can be next to impossible to get someone to reply.

If you want to attempt to reach out to the site owner, you can usually find the owners email using hunter.io.

Create a new account if you don't have one already, install the extension and when you browse to the target website click the fox on your toolbar and it will display a list of emails you can use to potentially contact the owner.

Finding Sites For Linkbuilding Opportunities: 10 Relevant Strategies

Track and Monitor

There are various rules that will assist in the creation of a high-quality link mass that is beneficial to the site, as well as the tracking and monitoring of toxic links:
1
Make a link-building strategy
It appears natural to search engines when the number of backlinks increases steadily and evenly.
Link-building strategy
2
Make an anchor plan.
When picking URL texts, it's important to strike a balance between commercial, neutral anchors, and textless links. You must evaluate search query statistics in the subject to determine the right search queries for anchors.
Backlink anchors
3
Analyze donor sites before placing a backlink
Filters are used in link exchanges to pick sites based on various criteria. It is recommended that before publishing a backlink, you examine the site against the primary quality criteria and visit it as a user to ensure that it is trustworthy.
Referring domains
4
Review posted links
A link must be indexed by the search engine before it can begin to assist the site. Indexing can take a long time or not happen at all. Using backlink analysis tools, you may control the process of discovering external URLs.
External links
Link attributes
5
Get rid of any broken links
Broken links, or URLs that go to an irrelevant page, are another issue that can be discovered. When deleting or altering the address of a page, this can happen. The server response status 404 usually indicates the presence of a broken link.

What Are The Broken Links, How To Find And Fix Them
Site audit server error
6
Identify and remove any toxic links
To ensure that the link profile's quality is as good as possible, all backlinks to the site, including harmful links, must be analyzed on a regular basis. If you discover such links, you must take prompt action to remove them.
Malicious sites

How to build your Google disavow file

After you determine your bad backlinks, we need to start building our disavow file.

To get started open a text editor on your computer, create a new file and save as disavow.txt. I like to start off by adding to comments to keep my disavow file organized.
Anything with a "#" in front of it is used to create comments and can help you to organize your disavowed domains and individual URLs.

When you are adding a domain to the list, you need to include domain:website.com and if the site uses "www." Make sure to include "www." for domains that use it and make sure to leave it out on domains that do not.

If you are only looking to disavow a couple particular backlinks and not the whole domain, just include the whole URL.
Above is an example of a properly formatted disavow file. Lastly, save your file, take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. You have finally gone through all those bad backlinks and can rest easy knowing your website will soon rank a little higher SEO wise.

But we're not done yet. Navigate to Google's Disavow Tool
Select your domain, click "Disavow Links" and a window will pop-up asking you to choose your file. Then click "Submit".
Now that you have successfully removed those bad backlinks, you will soon see a ranking increase. It can take a couple of days or weeks for Google to update their system. But once Google's system is updated you will be able to see the increase, as a result of your hardwork removing bad backlinks. Be patient, your boost in SEO rankings will come shortly.

FAQ. Common questions about toxic backlinks

How do I know if my backlinks are bad?

Checking your backlinks is the minimal least you can do to spot shady links: 1. Domain Rank. On a scale of 0-100, this score indicates the strength of a website's backlink profile. Despite the fact that it is not a Google ranking criteria, this might be a valuable metric for determining the state of your website in comparison to similar competitors. If the (DR) is low, the freshly acquired backlink's quality may be poor as well. 2. Backlinks with diverse anchor text leading to your site, such as specialized keywords, naked links, images, and more, are ideal. In most circumstances, you will see just that; but, the same anchors can occasionally serve as a warning and aid in the detection of spam backlinks. 3. A manual action penalty is nearly impossible to miss because the impacted pages, or possibly the entire website, would suffer a rapid and unpleasant decline in search rankings, or even disappear entirely from the search results.

Can backlinks hurt your site?

The wrong kind of links (also known as toxic or spammy links) can impair your site's organic performance, and doing a backlink audit is the most effective way to proactively identify these issues and areas of concern, allowing you to take action to protect your ranking.

How to remove backlinks?

To remove harmful backlinks from your website, follow these four steps: Identify your toxic links (you may learn how to do so in this article). Look for the contact details for the website where you found the link. Make sure to contact the webmaster/ website owner and request that the link be removed. If you don't hear back within two weeks, move on to the next step. Remove the links from your website and upload the file to Google.

Summing up

Removing bad backlinks is one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost your websites SEO ranking and could be the only thing stopping you from achieving your dream of ranking their site in the #1 position. Google uses backlinks as a form of trust to boost your domains authority, so you need to make sure all of your sites backlinks are relevant, trustworthy, and in good standings with Google.

If you have any questions about bad backlinks or how to boost your SEO ranking, feel to ask in the comments section below, I will try to respond to each and every one of you. Check our search engine optimisation site auditing tools for full experience.

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