Entangled in the digital web, sometimes we encounter harmful traps that could affect our SEO progress. Just like the spider, we wish to keep our web clean.
It's essential to have a proactive approach when it comes to SEO. Identifying and removing toxic backlinks falls into this category.
Let’s shed some light on these backlink problems and help you figure out how to find spammy backlinks, their effects, and how to navigate this murky waters.
What are Spammy Backlinks?
At the core, spammy backlinks, often termed as bad, toxic, or low-quality backlinks, are those links that come from untrusted sources or have been manipulated to increase the linking site's ranking.
These are the links that violate Google's guidelines of link-schema, providing no value to the user experience and potentially leading to SEO harm.
Some various types and sources of spammy links include:
🚩 Paid Links: These are links that you acquire by paying money. Google severely penalizes this form of link acquisition as it violates their guidelines.
🚩 Low-Quality Directory Links: Links obtained from low-quality directories or bookmark sites that add no real value to users.
🚩 Spam Comments: Unmoderated comments with links on your website posts, which may lead to untrusted shady sites.
🚩 Irrelevant Links: If a backlink comes from a website unrelated to your niche, it might be considered spammy by Google.
🚩 Many External Links: If the page linking to your website contains a large number of external links, consider it a red flag.
🚩 Low Domain Authority: Domain authority is a metric that predicts how well a website will rank. A backlink from a low domain authority might have a negative impact on your website.
🚩 Link From a Non-indexed Site: If a backlink comes from a non-indexed website (a website ignored by search engines), it is likely to be spammy.
Why is It Important to Find and Remove Spammy Backlinks?
Being familiar and checking for toxic backlinks regularly can help monitor the health of your website or blog and keep your SEO game strong. Such harmful links can sabotage your efforts, reducing website traffic, and negatively impacting your SERP ranking.
Building high-quality backlinks is a slow process. Any sudden increase in the number of backlinks can raise alarms for Google leading to penalties. Google can be fairly strict when it comes to the quality of your backlinks. That means, a handful of good quality backlinks are far better than a large bunch of poor-quality ones.
Spammy backlinks can harm your website's reputation. If your site is found linked to untrustworthy or shady websites, users may lose trust, which can lower traffic and damage your brand's reputation.
As a result, it’s crucial to make yourself familiar with regular backlink audits.
Understanding Google Penalties Related to Spammy Links
Google plays a significant role in evaluating the quality of both outbound and inbound links. Thanks to its constantly evolving algorithms, it's able to differentiate between quality, organic links, and the low-quality spammy ones, influencing your site's ranking in SERPs as a result.
A Google penalty is a drawback for a website as it results in a decrease in SERP ranking and a drop in traffic. There are mainly two types of penalties: manual actions and algorithmic penalties.
Manual penalties are when a member of Google's team reviews a website and finds it violating Google Search Essentials. Google sends a direct message to the site owner through the Google Search Console about the penalty and the violations.
On the other hand, algorithmic penalties are automatic and occur when Google's algorithms detect manipulative actions. Google doesn't notify the site owner in this case.
Google's algorithms primarily monitor the quality of backlinks. If a website violates Google's Search Essentials by indulging in manipulative linking practices, it's flagged, which can negatively impact its ranking.
In essence, if your site is getting a lot of backlinks from spammy or low-quality sites, Google might assume that you're part of a link scheme and could penalize your website. Also, Google greatly values relevance in backlinks, so the focus should always be on building links from relevant websites.
Hence, managing and disavowing these toxic backlinks is critical to maintain your SEO's health.
How to Find Toxic Backlinks Easily in 2 Different Ways
The whole process of identifying, checking, and removing spammy backlinks is a bit labor-intensive. You need to follow an organized, systematic process.
Here are some measures to take in order to successfully identify and remove spammy backlinks:
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02. Utilize Google Search Console
Google Search Console (GSC) allows website owners and SEOs to check the indexing status and optimize the visibility of their websites.
One of its valuable features is allowing users to check the backlink profile of their websites. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use GSC to check backlinks:
Step 1. Log in to your Google Search Console account.
Step 2. Go to the 'Links' section on the left side of the dashboard.
Step 3. Under the 'External links' tab, click on 'Top linking sites.'
Step 4. You will now be able to see a list of domains linking back to your site.
By following these steps, you can effectively use GSC to identify and monitor your site’s backlinks. Be sure to make a regular practice of checking this, as consistent monitoring can help nip any potential problems in the bud.
What to Do Once Finding Spammy Backlinks
If contacting the website owners doesn’t work or is not possible, you have the option to disavow these links. Google offers a Disavow Links tool where you can submit a list of links or domains that you want Google to ignore when assessing your site.
Here's how to do it:
Compile a list of all the links you want to disavow in a text file.
Go to the Google Disavow Links tool page.
Select a property from the property list.
Upload your text file with the links you want to disavow.
Contact Website Owners
The other thing you can do for removing toxic backlinks is reaching out to the owners of the sites with the spammy links. Politely request them to remove the backlink to your site.
They may not all respond, but it’s worth a try before proceeding with other methods.
Google can penalize your site drastically if it finds too many spammy backlinks, reducing your SERP visibility. With lowered rankings and lost trust, expect a significant reduction in organic traffic to your site.
Thus, the task of identifying and removing spammy backlinks might sound tedious, but it's a necessary evil for maintaining and boosting your SEO efforts.
As you rid your backlink profile of shady, low-quality links, you can expect Google to regard your site with more favor. This clearly translates to better rankings in SERPs.
A clean link profile also ensures that you're safe from Google's algorithmic or manual penalties related to link quality and builds trust with visitors, showing them that you're linked with reputable, high-quality sites.
Identifying toxic links is a continuous process. So don’t forget to conduct regular backlink audits to recognize spammy links in order to effectively remove them!