How To Remove Bad Backlinks (Find Toxic Backlinks)

In this article, you will learn everything about bad backlink removal.
What is the one thing most digital marketers and website owners aspire to? They all want to get their website to the top of the search engine results. High-quality backlinks are essential to achieve this. This means that you need to check backlinks and remove bad backlinks regularly.

In the past, website owners managed to achieve high search engine rankings simply by getting a large number of backlinks. They got away with black hat tactics such as sponsored, spammy and toxic backlinks. Today, websites with suspicious and unnatural backlinks are penalized and often end up at the bottom of search engine results.

How To Remove Bad Backlinks (Find Toxic Backlinks)

This means you need to remove bad backlinks that could negatively affect your website authority and search engine rankings. Before we look at how to remove bad backlinks, let's understand why this process is so important. 

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Why Links Are Useful For SEO

When your website is linked to a trustworthy site (for example, a Search Engine Journal) via a backlink, it becomes more trustworthy in the eyes of search engines.

Overall, these backlinks from credible sites help your SEO because they show search engines that your website is credible and therefore valuable to their users. And over time, as you build a healthy profile of these good backlinks, your rankings will improve as search engines recognize your position as an online authority. 

What Is A Bad Backlink?

Bad backlinks are links that search engines consider to be of poor quality, toxic, or spam and that decrease your appearance in search engine results. A large number of bad backlinks can decrease Google's opinion of your site and weaken your website's SEO performance. 

What distinguishes good backlinks from bad ones is the quality of the referring website. In simple terms, bad backlinks can be defined as links to your website from suspicious, irrelevant, and/or low authority websites. They can be grouped into different categories depending on the type of website they come from.

How To Remove Bad Backlinks (Find Toxic Backlinks)

As explained in this article on toxic backlinks, a bad backlink shows signs of poor quality or spam, including:

- Links from sites that exist solely to link to other sites for SEO purposes.
- Links from poor quality content.
- Links from web pages that are not relevant to the target site or page.
- Links from low-quality directories or forums.
- Links from "spun" content on other websites.
- Links are created by link exchanges.
- Links in large quantities with anchor text that exactly matches the keywords.
- Links in blog comments with keyword-rich anchor text.
- Links from websites that are not in Google's index.
- Links in the footers or sidebars of other sites.
- Links that have been purchased but are not labeled as sponsored links or nofollow backlinks are classic forms of link spam.   

Why Is It Important To Remove Toxic Backlinks?

How To Remove Bad Backlinks (Find Toxic Backlinks)

Backlinks are a crucial aspect of your SEO strategy. When your website attracts multiple backlinks from various authoritative sites, it is a stamp of approval. It tells search engines that others perceive you as a reliable source of information. This helps them decide if your site is worthy of a high ranking.

Backlink quality has become all the more crucial since the introduction of Google Penguin in 2012. The main purpose of Google Penguin is to identify and penalize websites that engage in questionable backlink practices.

When your website has many bad backlinks, it calls your credibility into question. It indicates that you have used unnatural or suspicious means to acquire these links.

This triggers Google's spam filter and can result in your site being penalized. Your site is likely to suffer a massive drop in search engine rankings or even be banned by Google altogether. This can be detrimental to the growth of your business and makes it necessary to remove the bad backlinks that come to your site.

In 2016, Google made Penguin a part of its main search algorithm. It now monitors websites in real-time for possible spam. This makes it all the more crucial for website owners to remove bad backlinks on a regular basis. 

How To Remove Bad Backlinks?

To remove bad backlinks, you need to perform a full backlink audit to identify toxic backlinks. Doing this manually for thousands of links can be time-consuming and tedious. Fortunately, there are a few tools that can help you filter your backlinks based on different parameters.

Let's take a look at the steps you can take to remove bad backlinks.

1. Find Your Bad Backlinks (Toxic and Spam)

The first step is to make a list of all the backlinks that are coming to your website from different sources. To do this, you can use various tools such as Website SEO Checker. Just enter your website URL and click "Search". You will get the data of all the sites ranked by Google* that are relevant to you, as well as their domain strength.

(* Sites that are not indexed by Google will not be included. This is to improve the quality of the links displayed).

How To Remove Bad Backlinks (Find Toxic Backlinks)

You can also use Google Search Console for this purpose. To do this, you must first make sure your domain is connected to Google Analytics. Next, go to Google Search Console, click on "Search Traffic", then select "Links to your site".

This will take you to the next page where you need to click on "more" in the "Who is linking the most" section. Finally, you need to click on "Download more sample links" to get a list of all your backlinks in CSV format.

How To Remove Bad Backlinks (Find Toxic Backlinks)

2.  Identify Bad Backlinks

The next step in removing toxic backlinks that could hurt your site's search engine rankings is to make a list of all the links that look bad or spammy. 

This is the most crucial step to remove bad backlinks. For this, you need to manually check each backlink. Every time you check one, you should ask yourself if the content of the link is relevant to your website. If the content is not relevant, the backlink probably doesn't add much value to your backlink profile.

The backlink data collected in Google Search Console doesn't tell you anything about toxic backlinks. However, the Website SEO Checker results will show you the domain strength of the website that links to you. To remove bad backlinks, it is crucial to identify websites with weaker domain strength.

You should also perform a Google search with the website name. If the website is not indexed, Google may penalize it, which may affect your ranking. To search for the website on Google, you can search "site: domainname".

In addition, you need to check the spam score of the website. To do this, you can use Link Explorer. Just enter the URL of the website and you will find the spam score of the website. A website that has a high spam score can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts.

You can keep this list in an Excel file or Google sheet or use the tagging and tracking features available in the various SEO audit tools.

How To Remove Bad Backlinks (Find Toxic Backlinks)

3. Bad Backlink Removal

In this step, you should contact the owners or webmasters of the linking websites. The main thing is to ask them to remove the bad backlinks without threatening them. Specify the exact location of the backlink you want them to remove.

4. Backlink Tracking and Monitoring

It is not enough to send a removal request to the webmasters of linking sites to remove bad backlinks. You need to track the backlinks to see if they have complied with your request. If a webmaster doesn't respond within 5-10 days, you can also send them a follow-up email.

5. Disavow The Remaining Bad Backlinks

What if some webmasters don't respond to your request or refuse to remove bad backlinks? Fortunately, Google allows you to disavow backlinks that you don't want to be associated with your website.

The first step is to create a list of links to disavow. You can keep an Excel spreadsheet to track them. Then, simply go to the Google disavow tool and upload your list. This will allow Google to disregard these links when ranking your site in search engines. 

How To Check For Spam Backlinks?

To check for spam backlinks, you need to examine the anchor text of the links pointing to your website and the source of these backlinks. You can check for spam backlinks in the Link Reports section of Google Search Console or use a backlink audit tool.

As explained earlier in this guide, if you are using Google Search Console to find and remove spam backlinks, go to the Top Linking Sites section of this tool to view the list of referring domains for your website. There you can look for spam and toxic backlinks that may enter your site and harm its SEO performance. 

How To Remove Bad Backlinks (Find Toxic Backlinks)

Should I Remove Toxic or Spammy Backlinks?

You should remove toxic and spammy backlinks if you see a negative impact on your site's search engine rankings or if you have received a manual penalty in Google Search Console. Removing bad, toxic, and spammy backlinks can help lift a manual or algorithmic penalty on your site.

If you work with an SEO agency, you may find that they will work to remove your bad backlinks on a quarterly or semi-annual basis using the Google disavow tool. By monitoring and checking your backlink profile on an ongoing basis, and updating the disavow file, you can ensure that your link profile remains free from the negative effects of bad backlinks. 

Conclusion: Bad Backlink Removal (Toxic & Spam)

Your website's inbound link profile has a major impact on your search engine ranking. Identifying and removing bad backlinks is essential to prevent your website from being penalized.

The best practice is to schedule periodic backlink audits to identify toxic backlinks and take corrective action. You can use tools to filter out spammy and low-quality backlinks and have them removed.  

As you discovered, there are only five steps to remove toxic backlinks from your link profile and get rid of bad backlinks that could damage your website's reputation.

You also learned how to remove spam backlinks using Google disavow tool, which is an essential tool for any SEO and website owner who wants to have a clean backlink profile for their website. 

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