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How to find and get rid of bad backlinks

Michael Kuzmin
05.03.2021

The aspiration to achieve the top ranking on search engines has always been a quest for most SEOs and webmasters. However, the mischief is how some try to surpass rules only as a means of de-throning top ranking sites in their current existence. Bad backlinks are at the top of these risky plans, and if you think this is creativity, wait until you receive your penalties. 

Google, alongside other top search engines, has now become smarter. Through their identified techniques, they can now identify bad backlinks within your websites and ignore them in ranking.

Keep reading to find details on how to identify and remove bad backlinks. Just do not let that site you’ve built go down that easily.

What are Bad backlinks? 

Any backlink that does not follow Google guidelines becomes a ‘bad’ link. In other terms, they form part of the negative SEO. Spammy links on your website create an absolute risk for lower ranking in SERP results.

A complete way to evaluate backlink donors combines an entire analysis of the services they offer, i.e., medical, learning, farming, etc. 

Checking backlinks helps you note bad backlinks as they come. However, the surest way is to use the ‘Best 10 Backlink Checker Tools available’ listed in this article. These will help on how to check backlinks anchor and much more. 

Meanwhile, you can always check the following signs to find bad backlinks to avoid.

  1. Low performance, low rating, etc. CF,DA TF, DR, <or 0-5. Moz offers different ratings, which you can check here
  2. Spam anchors / over-optimized anchors / unnatural.
  3. Numerous links from the page. For example, if one page has a footcloth of links - 1000+.
  4. Several incoming links identified from a domain but a low number of domains. For example, if there are only 100 domains and 20k links, it is better to refuse such domains.
  5. The site from which the link is not in the index.
  6. Site with generated content or copied content. If the site has a lot of non-thematic content, for example, the honey site has articles about games, auto topics, etc., which does not fit with the overall theme.

SEO is fast evolving as new tactics and restrictions govern the SERP space. The essential guideline to follow is that the site must always go through a quality backlink assessment. Get the nitty-gritty on how to get rid of bad backlinks in depth. 

Bad backlink examples

While there could be lots of examples you can find on bad backlinks, here are some of the most common you will most likely interact with.

1. Low PBN sites (Hacked sites) 

One way you can identify bad backlinks is through hacked sites. These are sites mostly with low domain authorities and often low traffic. Any hacking on such sites intends to tap and direct a percentage of the audience to other sites.

Mostly these pages consist of articles poorly written but with tons of backlinks directing to various or particular sites. See the example below.

Content not related
Content not related  

Think about this, a health blog writing about art, does that make sense? Well, maybe it would sound right only if the article’s details have a connection with health. 

NB: Such sites tend to have Low-quality PBNs. 

In most instances, bad backlinks come in mainly because of commercial interests. Various business sites would pay for backlinks to tap any significant traffic that may lift their sales. Always check when an anchor text directs to a different website – this is how you find bad backlinks from a hacked site. 

Because Google and other search engines cannot manually look into the website listed, their Web Crawlers do the work. Since this checker analysis may not be 100% accurate, some sites might make it through by chance.

2. Content Farms

Some content farms typically present themselves as hubs for low-quality articles bearing commercial links. This website is a typical example. Here you will find articles from different niches juggled up; recipes, reviews, etc. 

A keen eye, however, will spot the repetition of various commercial anchor texts within an article. Also, apart from the quality and flow, some articles do not make absolute sense. Most of the information you find is fillers.

3. Fake forums and comment blogs 

Lots of fake forums and comment blogs exist everywhere on the Internet. Such sites feature fake profiles, mostly with no picture profiles. The majority of them will have links thrown everywhere, sometimes over 3000 for only a single post.

See the screenshot below of a typical example.

Fake comment page
Fake comment page

Most fake profiles are noticeable from various forums and comment sections. However, it is easier to track the source by following up on the link they provide in their comments.

4. Bloggers 

Another example of a ‘bad’ backlink comes from bloggers. Often links insertion here calls for a high level of keenness following the strict link scheme guidelines from Google

Alison at Home is a typical blog with bad backlinks. Specifically, this page has several (7) keyword-centric anchor text linking to various products, making it spammy.

7. Directory links

Another means to identify bad backlinks is to follow the directory links. Traditionally, directory links were quite strict to their use and design. Today, many SEO experts have tried to play along with the rules, bending them for a favor. 

See the example below.

Link Directory
Link Directory 

By all means, these directory links: website, however, does not conform to the traditional design. Here it is more of an advertisement, and you can pretty much see the keyword-centric anchor texts.

How to Remove Bad Backlinks

Bad backlinks frown Google, and, therefore, it is one item you must filter out as soon as it comes. Advantageously, it is often possible to replace the bad links with the good ones.

The procedure involved follows a simple 4 step you can contact webmasters about link replacements.

1. Identify bad links on the webmasters’ site

Check bad backlinks through various technical ways; use software material and manual check. Such analysis gives you a quick insight into the different bad backlinks that drag a site to lower SEO rankings. 

A second resort is to look out for the examples listed above and not similar ones on the different pages.

2. Get webmasters contacts

Once you identify these bad, the next step will be to connect the webmasters, letting them know of the fault. These details are accessible from the main websites through the ‘contact’ sections. 

3. Request for link removal

With the contacts now, you can send a request to the webmasters to remove the bad backlink in replacement with the new ones, which are yours. 

When your request does not receive a response within the next two weeks, move on to the subsequent step.

4. Disavow the bad backlinks


Google's Disavow Tool

With no response, you can move on to disavowing the links. Once you do this, ensure to upload the file to Google. The process involved must never be a tasking one, especially when you can access the Unnatural Detection software. Keep an update of cognitive SEO when working on this for better results and efficiency.  

Conclusively, to make your websites better and outstanding throughout such engines, you must pay quality attention to critical SEO schemes. Knowing how to get rid of bad backlinks is part of the start. The above information is all about how to check bad backlinks and how to remove them; however, more is needed in SEO terms to outdo the top-ranking sites in your niche finally. 

Michael Kuzmin
Co-Founder 10х Agency. 10 years in Sales&Marketing. The last 4 years specializing in link-building processes and outreach development.