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How to identify and remove toxic backlinks

What are toxic backlinks and how to identify a toxic backlink
Posted by:Lisa Roberts

Backlinks play one of the most important roles in organic search engine rankings. There's no denying that. If you have high-quality links coming from authoritative sites, your domain will be on the top of the SERPs. However, some links can harm your rankings, and these are the point of concern. In the circles of SEO experts, they are known as toxic backlinks. So, if you want to retain or improve your rankings, you need to learn how to identify and remove toxic backlinks.

Google became much more strict when it comes to the quality of links. Website owners can't use black hat tactics anymore to improve their results. If Google bots find these on your site, you will be penalized, and your SEO score will be lower. Luckily, quality guidelines evolved as well. So, today, you can learn how to create links without any hazard to your site. But, before we dive into that, here's what you should know about toxic backlinks.

Toxic backlinks

To put it as simply as we can, toxic links are the ones that are identified as unnatural by Google. The mentioned Penguin update focuses strictly on identifying these and penalizing sites that use them. It doesn't matter if your main goal is to dominate the global or local SEO ; trying to get away with these will put you out of the race even before it begins.

To help you understand what we're talking about, here's a list of the types of links you don't want to lead to your site.
● Links coming from link networks
● Site-wide links
● Blog rolls
● Footer links
● Blog comment links
● Links from article directories
● Web directories links
● Links coming from forum profiles

In the past, links had a positive effect on your rankings regardless of where they come from. However, things have changed, and all of the above will harm your rank. Therefore, you want all of them removed from your backlink profile.

Toxic backlinks are harmful to your rankings and SEO.

What causes toxic backlinks?

Many things can be a cause of toxic backlinks in your profile. One of the most common ones is the work an SEO company did on your site before these Google updates. All the chances are that they gathered plenty of links from spam sites and link farms. It worked at the moment, but now, it creates a problem.

On the other hand, you may have been a victim of a negative SEO attack. We all know that text links are the most powerful types of backlinks. They're self-explanatory and recommended by all SEO experts. Therefore, it should be impossible for text links to go wrong. But unfortunately, even a good backlink can turn into a bad one if the site it comes from gets hacked or has malware on it.

As you can see, there can be hundreds of reasons for the presence of bad links. But don't waste your time searching for the culprit. Instead, focus on learning how to identify and remove toxic backlinks. This way, you'll be able to preserve your website's rankings.

How to check if you have any?

Most website owners become aware of toxic backlinks when they receive a Google Webmasters warning. On the other hand, that doesn't have to be the case. If you noticed that your organic traffic suddenly dropped for no reason, you've probably been penalized by Penguin. It may or may not be related to these links, but it's worth checking.

So, the first thing you want to do is to check the Google Webmasters tool. If there are any warnings, take it from there. And if you received the notice even before checking, it's definitely time to sit down and think about the strategy to remove them.

Removing toxic backlinks

If you want to boost traffic to your website and Increase our conversion rate, you have to remove all those bad links standing in your way. To get there, first, you need to identify all the links leading to your site. For that, you can use several tools you can find online. Although you'll have to pay to use most of them, some have free trials that last a limited time. Utilize that if you want to save some money.

Once you have all the links in front of you, it's time to identify the toxic ones. Here, again, you can use online tools. However, our advice is to take some time and perform a manual audit. It's a longer process, but you'll get better results. On the other hand, if your site has thousands of backlinks, you won't be able to do it manually. So, embrace the technology, but be sure to check the results afterward.

There are a couple of ways to identify and remove toxic backlinks, but we advise using the manual audit. Alt-tag: Man removing bad backlinks.

The three-step process for link removal

● Contact the webmaster You can get rid of toxic backlinks in two ways. When you identify a link you want to remove, try to get in touch with a webmaster and ask them nicely to take it off. The contact us page is one of the features that are necessary for any business website, so it shouldn't be difficult to get the contact information. If you can, use an email. They're easy to monitor and follow up.

You want to send them a simple request message in which you ask them to remove the link. Most of the time, this will work, and they'll remove the link without any problems. Make sure to be polite and persistent if you want this way to succeed. However, if this gets you nowhere, there's always a second way.

● Disavow the backlinks We don't advise this as a primary solution in our guide that teaches you how to identify and remove toxic backlinks. However, it's a relatively straightforward process. Open a notepad text editor and make a list of all harmful links you want to remove. Ensure that you're mentioning the complete URL in the text file, or this won't work. If you want to exclude an entire domain, you can do that too. Just type domain:nameofthewebsite.com, and you're all set.
When you have the text file prepared, open the disavow tool page on your Google Webmasters tool and upload the text file. That's all there is.

● File a reconsideration request Now that your link profile is clean, it's time to file a reconsideration request. Here, you want to admit your mistake and mention the steps you took to fix things up. Expect this request to take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. If everything checks out, you'll regain your rankings after that.

Build healthy links

Removing toxic links is essential. However, you can't prevent anyone from linking to your website. So, in addition to the removal process, you should focus on creating new high-quality backlinks. These will also help with drowning out any new toxic backlinks you might receive.

One of the best ways to get them is by constantly publishing well-written and relevant content on your website. You want to write long-form articles that should be the best guides on the topic a consumer can find. After you publish the content, always share it on social media to help it spread out. Follow the Facebook ads trends for the best results. Also, it's a smart idea to contact other bloggers and web admins in your niche. If you have good content, they'll be happy to link to it. Not only you'll gain a lot of quality backlinks, but you'll also make connections. And sometimes, they're worth even more.


Now that you know how to identify and remove toxic backlinks, you should do it regularly. Use all of the tips we gave you, and you'll stay clear of Google penalties. On top of that, release quality content at all times, and you'll earn new backlinks for your site. This will help you maintain and enhance your status and rankings. If you keep it up, even deliberate toxic backlinks won't be able to harm you. You'll stay on top of search engine result pages, and that's all that matters.

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