Backlinks play a major role in the search engine rankings of a website. Relevant links on high DA sites can boost your ranking, however bad backlinks can negatively impact your SEO.
That’s why it’s important to identify the bad links in your link profile, and then make a wise decision on how to go about it and get rid of them.
Google sees such links as “unnatural” and might penalize a site for having a bad link.
What is a Bad Link?
They come in various forms, most common types of bad links include:
- Links from low-quality, unrelated, and/or insecure websites
- Links from untrustworthy/spammy websites, forum posts, etc
- Links from inactive/outdated article or link directories
- Links from sponsored content such as paid blogs, advertising, etc.
- Links from blogging networks, link farms, and other circular link-building networks
- Too many links with same anchor text
Why such links are considered to have a detrimental effect on health of your website?
Google rolled out its first Penguin algorithm update in 2012. Before the Penguin 1.0 update by Google, good backlinks earned SEO points from Google and bad backlinks didn’t have any effect.
After the update, bad backlinks began to negatively affect search engine rankings, rather than having a neutral effect as they had before.
Does Your Site have Bad Links?
If your link profile is full of bad links, you might have received a message from Google that looks something like this:
Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.example.com/,
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes. We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results. If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request. If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.
Google Search Quality Team
If you haven’t received a penalty message, you’re most likely doing great:)
But it’s still important to keep a check and find out if your site has bad links so that you can address them now, and avoid a penalty message in the future.
Below is a snapshot of a backlink report that we had prepared for one of our clients:
How to Identify Bad Links?
You have two options:
1) You can go through a DIY process of analyzing your backlink profile
2) Hire a professional SEO auditor to audit your backlink profile and clean it up for you.
1)You Could Do It Yourself
- Your primary task would be to acquire a comprehensive list of your website’s backlinks and then analyze each link to determine whether it’s good or bad as per your website
- Doing such a task manually can be cumbersome because not all the links you identify as possibly bad are necessarily bad. You will need to carefully choose which ones are bad enough that you really want to get rid of
Top DIY Backlinks Evaluation Tools
It is one of the best available tools, especially since Google added the feature that allows you to download your entire link profile in a spreadsheet with an option to sort links by date
Once you’ve logged into your Dashboard after signing up, click on “Links to Your Site” then on “Download Latest Links”.
Now, all you have to do is analyze each link and determine whether or not it’s appropriate for your site
This is the best paid tool so far. It provides you with deep insights related to backlinks. Also, it allows you to see what’s your position for certain keywords on search engines.
Once you have identified the bad links, the next step is to disavow them, here is a 5 Step Guide to Disavow Spam Links.
- Majestic Site Explorer (free or paid)
- Cognitive SEO Site Explorer (paid)
- SEOMoz Open Site Explorer (free or paid)
- Web SEO Backlink Analysis (free or paid)
2)You Could Get an SEO Audit
Although you can do backlink research yourself, hiring an expert for a professional audit can give edge and would speed the process you need to effectively clean up and optimize your website’s link profile.
An SEO expert/specialist will be able to recommend the best steps to take once bad links are identified and they can remove bad links for you.
Everybody knows that SEO is a lot of work. Not only will it cost your time, it also requires your full-time commitment as a content marketer.
It would be unfortunate if all these investments go to waste just because of bad links.