Backlinks are important to SEO, especially when it comes to your off-page efforts. When another site links back to yours, a backlink is created. For instance, if a brand finds one of your blog articles helpful for their own audience, they will link to it.
As Moz puts it, that backlink then becomes a vote of confidence in your content. This will improve your ranking for the topics you’re linked to and search engines will see your site as a trustworthy source for information relevant to your keywords or your industry in general.
However, while earning backlinks is an essential part of off-page SEO, it’s not as straightforward as it sounds. Most backlinks are great but there are also bad ones that can harm your rankings.
In this article, we will discuss:
- What is a bad backlink?
- How do I know if I have bad backlinks?
- How do I remove bad backlinks from my website?
- How do I stop bad links?
Let’s get right to it!
What is a Bad Backlink?
In a nutshell, a backlink is bad if it is a paid link or it’s built via link schemes that violate Google’s quality guidelines. This involves buying or selling links that pass PageRank, excessive link exchanges, large-scale guest posting campaigns with keyword-rich anchor text links and using automated services or programs to create links to your site. Bad links are also links that weren’t placed editorially or vouched for by the site’s owner on a page.
There are also other things that can increase the toxicity of a backlink from the perspective of Google, including:
- Mirrored pages – similar pages on multiple sites are linking to yours from the same anchor text. Google and other search engines may see this as a link building scheme.
- Low domain trust score – based on the number of backlinks from authority domains to the domain of the backlink provider. A low rank could mean the site’s domain score is artificially inflated.
- Page layout – the linking page may be seen as poor quality if there’s a low ratio of visible text to HTML.
What’s an example of a bad backlink? For example, you run a high-quality travel blog that provides tips on how to save money on trips or holidays. However, your latest blog post is linked a number of times on a website that’s known to scam airlines and get away with shady travel itineraries. You don’t want Google to think you’re the same as that site.
How Do I Know if I have Bad Backlinks?
First things first, you have to determine if there are bad backlinks making a negative impact on your site. Luckily, there are great free backlink checker tools such as SEMRush Backlink Checker and Ahrefs Backlink Checker that can launch this investigative process for you.
The tools mentioned are incredibly simple to use. All you have to do is type in the URL of your website, then let the online tools help you figure out where your backlinks are coming from. The tools will also assess if they’re good or bad backlinks.
Ever heard of an SEO audit? It’s basically an overall SEO health report on your site. This is another way to dig up the dirt and determine if you’ve got any toxic links leading people to your site.
How Do I Remove Bad Backlinks From My Website?
Once you’ve determined if you’re dealing with bad links and how they’re impacting your SEO, it’s time to act. But you might be asking, ‘How do I remove bad inbound links?’
That’s a sensible question to ask, given that the links aren’t on your website so they’re not exactly within your control. Unfortunately, there isn’t a fancy link removal tool that will instantly solve all your bad backlink problems.
To remove bad links, you will have to get in touch with the webmasters or owners of the linking sites. The key is to request that they remove the bad backlinks without intimidating them. Make sure to specify the exact location of the backlink that you want to be deleted.
Conduct some research and figure out how you can contact the site owner or webmaster. Request in a respectful manner that they remove the link to your web page or blog article. This may take some time, so be patient and wait for at least two weeks for the problem to be solved.
Don’t forget to track and monitor
Sending a request to the webmasters to remove the bad backlinks isn’t enough to remove them. You have to track those backlinks to confirm whether or not they have complied with your request. If they don’t respond within two weeks, you will need to send a follow-up email too.
What happens if they don’t remove the bad backlinks?
If the site owners or webmasters don’t respond to your request or simply refuse to remove the bad backlinks, don’t fret. Fortunately, Google lets you disavow backlinks that you don’t want to be associated with your website.
First, create a list of the backlinks that you want to disavow. Next, head over to the Google Disavow Links tool and upload your list. Once you’ve uploaded the links, Google will not consider them when determining your site’s rankings on the search results.
How Do I Stop Bad Backlinks?
Bad links are usually more annoying than hurtful, but there’s a legitimate possibility that they could destroy your site’s reputation on Google. It’s important that you never give them a chance to do that.
There’s no clear way to stop bad links from happening, especially since the behaviour of webmasters is beyond your control. What you can do is to make a healthy habit out of checking your backlink profile. If you see a sudden drop or jump in traffic that you can’t explain, delve deeper into it too.
Additionally, invest in a good SEO toolset if you’re serious about keeping your website healthy and safe. Regular checkups will not only save you from an overload of bad backlinks, but they will also provide you with great outreach opportunities and content ideas.
Have you recently audited your backlinks? If you haven’t, you should, and you should do it as soon as possible. You can follow the tips listed in this article or you can reach out to us at SEO Services Australia. We have an in-house team of SEO experts who can do all the work for you and ensure your secure spot at the top of the search results. Contact us today.
Ava has been in the marketing industry for nearly a decade with a background in content marketing, social media management and video production. She loves talking about the latest tech trends and has a passion for sharing what she has learned from industry leaders to help launch SMEs to greater heights.