Many digital marketers and website owners aspire to take their websites to the very top of the search engine results (especially in Google, since its algorithm is always changing).
Therefore, high-quality backlinks are desired, since they help these marketers and site-runners achieve high rankings in their search results.
Though, high-quality backlinks haven’t always been the norm with website owners.
Back then, previously, website owners would achieve high search engine rankings just by getting as large a number of backlinks as they possibly could. In fact, there was absolutely no regulation in place as to which types of backlinks were considered acceptable, and which were classified as “sponsored,” “toxic,” and “spammy.”
Today, the major search engines like Google are cracking down on websites with suspicious and unnatural backlinks by penalizing them, and dragging them right down to the bottom of search results.
Therefore, there is a need for backlinks to be audited regularly, removing all of the bad ones.
Why Does It Matter?
When your website attracts several backlinks from authoritative websites, it expresses your legitimacy as a site, telling search engines that others perceive you as a trusted source.
In turn, the search engines can decide if your website is worthy of a high ranking.
In 2012, a revolutionary new tool named Google Penguin was introduced as a means to look at and examine the quality of backlinks, and to identify and penalize all the websites that are flooded with bad backlinks.
Needless to say, today, bad backlinks can completely jeopardize your credibility as a trusted site, and send you straight down to the bottom of the search results – or you can even get banned by Google altogether.
Now, since 2016, Penguin has been a part of Google’s algorithm, which now monitors websites in real-time to detect any possible spam.
Therefore, it’s imperative to protect your site from bad backlinks, and to have good ones that won’t get you penalized by Google.
Here are 6 ways that you can remove bad backlinks from your site:
1. Identify Low-Quality Websites
Low-quality backlinks will usually originate from low-quality websites. So, the first thing to do, in that case, is to search for and identify those low-quality backlinks. There are a variety of different tools out there, at your disposal, that you can easily use to measure how strong and reliable a particular domain is.
- Plug your domain into the Ahrefs Site Explorer. Find the “Backlink profile” option in the left menu. Then, run the “Referring domains” report, which shows you a list of all the websites that link to you.
- Sort out that list of the referring websites by quality—from the lowest Domain Rating (DR) to the highest.
- Remember: you do not have to delete absolutely all backlinks from low-DR websites. But do look for the most common spam indicators (i.e. spammy-sounding domains, foreign domains (i.e. Chinese (.cn) or Russian (.ru)), etc.)
- After detecting the most suspicious domains, click on the number under the “Backlinks” column for more details on each backlink that come from them. If it sounds suspicious, then it’s obviously spam, for sure.
2. Manually Remove Bad Backlinks
Be sure to contact all of the linking websites, and have them physically remove every one of those bad links.
To do so, submit a list of the manual removals that you have attempted, as well as what the outcome of those efforts were.
You should do this, if you’ve received a manual penalty from Google.
Without sending that reconsideration request, Google will deny it. Ignoring these offending links won’t solve the problem either.
Therefore, it is important to disavow those links as soon as you possibly can.
3. Beware Of Links From Comments Section
Sometimes, people will send you spam in the comments section, if you have your own blog or website and you allow this.
When people spam you, the comments may often contain various links to other more dubious websites (which are marked as “nofollow” to prevent Google from indexing them).
If these spam comments are left unchecked, it will negatively affect your inbound link building profile.
So, don’t you want to keep your inbound link profile safe from those penalties from Google?
Get rid of these spam comments by deleting the comments as they arise, and keeping the links from those comments on file in case they show up again (to which you can then report those links as spam).
4. Collect Backlink Data
When it comes to examining your site’s backlinks, Google Analytics is your best friend. Not only will Analytics help you to target every demographic of your prospective audiences, as well as track the performance of your website, but it will also help you to keep track of your website’s backlinks.
Just compile a list of all the backlinks that are coming to your website from all the various different sources.
Then, with the Google Search Console (which is connected to Analytics), go to the “Search Traffic,” button and then click on “Links to Your Site.” This option will take you to the next page, where you’ll click on “More” from the “Who links the most” section.
Finally, click on the option “Download more sample links” for a list of all the backlinks in CSV format.
5. Track And Monitor Backlinks
Although you can send a removal request to the webmasters of the sites that link to your website, that method is simply not enough to remove bad backlinks from your site.
You would also have to track your backlinks to find out whether they have been complied with your request, or not.
Essentially, if a webmaster doesn’t respond to your request within 5-10 days after the request is sent to them, you can send them a follow-up email to escalate it.
6. Disavow Bad Backlinks
Sometimes – and it often feels very tedious on your part – the webmasters may not respond to your request; or worse, they may just absolutely flat-out refuse to remove any of the bad backlinks.
So, what can you do about this? Is there anything that can be done?
Fortunately, Google lets you easily disavow the backlinks that you don’t want to be linked to your website.
Here’s how you go about it:
- First, create a list of the links you want to disavow, using Excel (or a similar spreadsheet application).
- Next, go to the Google Disavow Links tool.
- Upload your list to Google Disavow. This will tell Google not to consider these links, as it determines your site’s search engine rankings.
So, believe it or not, the health of the inbound link profile of your website actually matters a lot, since it has an incredibly major impact on your search engine rankings.
Therefore, it’s important to find and remove bad backlinks early on your site, so that your website doesn’t get penalized for something that wasn’t your own doing to begin with.
As you utilize the right tools, as well as keep in mind these 6 ways to remove bad backlinks from your site, you can rest assured that your site will not only perform well in the search rankings, but also prevent unnecessary penalties from Google.