How To Find Bad Backlinks [2023] The Detective’s Guide


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Picture this: a mischievous gang of backlinks wreaking havoc on your website’s reputation. Don’t fret! Wondering how to find bad backlinks?

Look no further, as we reveal the secrets to identifying these troublemakers and safeguarding your online kingdom.

Brace yourself for an enlightening journey ahead!

Table of Contents

Understanding Backlinks

Before we dive into the concept of bad backlinks, let’s establish a clear understanding of what backlinks actually are. 

In simple terms, backlinks are incoming links from external websites that direct users to your own website. 

They are like votes of confidence from other web pages, indicating that your content is valuable and worth referencing.

What Defines Good Backlinks?

To comprehend bad backlinks, we must first define what makes a backlink good. 

Good backlinks possess several characteristics that contribute to their positive impact on your website’s SEO. 

Let’s explore these attributes in detail.

1. Good Backlinks Are From Authoritative Sites

One of the primary indicators of a good backlink is its source. Backlinks from authoritative websites carry more weight in the eyes of search engines. 

When reputable websites link to your content, it signals to search engines that your website is trustworthy and deserving of higher rankings.

It is essential to prioritize acquiring backlinks from well-established and credible sources within your industry.

2. Good Backlinks Use Specific Anchor Texts With Your Target Keyword

The anchor text of a backlink refers to the clickable text that leads users to your website. 

Good backlinks often incorporate specific anchor texts that are relevant to your target keyword. 

By using anchor texts aligned with your content, you enhance the contextual relevance and improve your website’s visibility for relevant search queries.

3. Good Backlinks Are From Sites Related To Your Page Content

Relevance plays a crucial role in determining the quality of a backlink. Backlinks from websites that are topically related to your own content hold more value. 

When search engines detect backlinks from relevant sources, they interpret them as a validation of your website’s expertise in a particular subject matter. 

Seek out backlinks from websites within your niche or industry to bolster your website’s authority.

4. Good Backlinks Are Dofollow Links

Backlinks can be categorized as either “dofollow” or “nofollow.” 

Dofollow links are the ones that search engine crawlers can follow, thereby passing on link equity and contributing to your website’s rankings. 

Good backlinks are typically dofollow links, as they have a more significant impact on your website’s SEO. 

While nofollow links may still generate traffic and exposure, they do not directly influence search engine rankings.

What Are Bad Backlinks?

Now that we have discussed the characteristics of good backlinks, let’s delve into the realm of bad backlinks.

Bad backlinks are links that can have a negative impact on your website’s SEO and online reputation. 

These links often come from sources that are deemed untrustworthy or irrelevant by search engines. 

Let’s explore some common signs that indicate the presence of bad backlinks in your link profile.

1. Backlinks That Appear Generated Through Fiverr or Similar Services

One clear sign of a bad backlink is when it appears to have been generated through platforms like Fiverr or other similar services. 

These services often offer cheap and low-quality backlinks that are created using automated or spammy techniques. 

Such backlinks may provide a short-term boost in rankings but can be detrimental to your website’s long-term SEO health.

2. Backlinks from Foreign Language Sites

Backlinks originating from foreign language websites that are unrelated to your content can be considered bad backlinks. 

While it is not inherently wrong to have backlinks from international sources, it is crucial to ensure that they are from reputable and relevant websites. 

Backlinks from non-English sites that have no relevance to your target audience or industry can raise red flags with search engines.

3. Hidden Backlinks

Hidden backlinks are links that are intentionally concealed within a webpage’s code or disguised as non-clickable elements. 

These backlinks are typically added without the knowledge or consent of the website owner. 

Search engines consider hidden backlinks as manipulative tactics and can penalize websites that engage in such practices. 

Regularly monitor your website’s code to identify and remove any hidden backlinks.

4. Multiple Backlinks from Unrelated Websites

If you notice a significant number of backlinks coming from unrelated websites, it could be a sign of bad backlinks. 

Backlinks from websites that have no thematic connection to your content can raise suspicions with search engines. 

For example, if your website focuses on technology, but you have a multitude of backlinks from gambling or adult-oriented websites, it can negatively impact your website’s rankings.

5. Sitewide Footer or Sidebar Links

Backlinks that appear in the footer or sidebar of a website are known as sitewide links. 

While sitewide links can be legitimate in certain cases, excessive and irrelevant sitewide links can be considered bad backlinks. 

Search engines value contextual relevance, and backlinks that appear on every page of a website, regardless of the content, may be seen as manipulative link-building tactics.

6. Slow Loading Pages

The speed at which a website loads is an important factor for both user experience and search engine rankings. 

If you notice that the websites linking to your content have slow loading pages, it could indicate low-quality or outdated websites. 

Search engines prioritize websites that offer a positive user experience, and backlinks from slow-loading pages may not contribute positively to your SEO efforts.

How To Find Bad Backlinks

Identifying and removing bad backlinks is crucial for maintaining a healthy link profile and ensuring the success of your website’s SEO efforts. 

In this section, we will explore effective strategies to find and evaluate bad backlinks. 

By implementing these techniques, you can safeguard your website from the negative impact of low-quality or spammy links.

1. Check Backlinks From Domains That Aren’t in Google’s Index

One way to identify potential bad backlinks is to examine the domains that are not indexed by Google. 

When a website is not indexed, it means that Google does not recognize it as a reliable or trustworthy source. 

Tools such as Google Search Console or third-party SEO tools can help you analyze your backlink profile and identify any domains that are not indexed by Google. 

Take a closer look at these backlinks and consider removing or disavowing them if they appear suspicious or low-quality.

2. Sort Backlinks by Domain PageRank & MozRank

Sorting your backlinks based on Domain PageRank and MozRank can provide valuable insights into the quality and authority of the linking domains. 

Both PageRank and MozRank are metrics that evaluate the importance and credibility of a website. 

By focusing on backlinks from domains with higher PageRank and MozRank, you can ensure that you are prioritizing quality links and avoiding potentially bad backlinks.

3. Look For Backlinks With Too Many External Links

Backlinks from web pages that contain an excessive number of external links can be a red flag for potential bad backlinks. 

Such pages are often referred to as link farms or directories and are created solely for the purpose of generating backlinks without considering the quality or relevance of the linking websites. 

Use SEO tools to analyze the number of external links on the pages linking to your website. 

If you find pages with an unusually high number of external links, it is advisable to investigate further and consider removing or disavowing those backlinks.

4. Look For Backlinks From Spammy Blog Networks

Spammy blog networks are networks of websites created solely for the purpose of building backlinks. 

These networks often consist of low-quality, irrelevant, or duplicate content, and their sole purpose is to manipulate search engine rankings. 

Analyze your backlinks and look for patterns or similarities that indicate the presence of a blog network. 

If you identify backlinks from such networks, it is essential to take immediate action to remove or disavow them.

5. Identify Bad Backlinks by TLD

The top-level domain (TLD) of a website can sometimes be an indicator of its credibility and relevance. 

While not all backlinks from certain TLDs are necessarily bad, some TLDs are commonly associated with low-quality or spammy websites. 

Analyze the TLDs of the domains linking to your website and pay attention to TLDs that are commonly associated with spam or irrelevant content. 

However, it is important to approach this analysis with caution and consider other factors in conjunction with TLDs when evaluating backlinks.

6. Check If Adult/Gambling Websites Link To You

Backlinks from adult or gambling websites can have a negative impact on your website’s reputation and SEO. 

Search engines often view these industries as potentially harmful or low-quality, and backlinks from such websites can be seen as manipulative or irrelevant. 

Regularly review your backlinks and identify any links coming from adult or gambling websites. 

If you find such backlinks, it is advisable to take swift action to remove or disavow them.

By implementing these strategies, you can proactively identify and address bad backlinks that may be affecting your website’s SEO performance. 

Regular monitoring and analysis of your backlink profile, along with appropriate actions to remove or disavow bad back

How to Remove Toxic Backlinks

Having identified toxic or harmful backlinks, it is essential to take immediate action to remove them from your website’s link profile. 

Removing toxic backlinks can help protect your website’s SEO health and prevent potential penalties from search engines. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively remove toxic backlinks:

Step 1: Build a Removal List

Start by creating a comprehensive removal list that includes all the toxic backlinks you have identified. 

This list will serve as a reference and help you keep track of the backlinks you need to address. 

Include relevant details such as the URL of the linking page, the anchor text used, and any additional notes that can assist you in the removal process.

Step 2: Connect Your Email

To initiate the removal process, you will need to contact the webmasters of the websites hosting the toxic backlinks. 

Connecting your email to a professional email client or using an outreach tool can streamline this process and make it more efficient. 

Ensure that your email is professional, concise, and clearly communicates your intention to have the toxic backlink removed.

Step 3: Send a Removal Request

Compose a polite and straightforward removal request email, addressing the webmaster by name if possible. 

Clearly state the purpose of your email, mentioning that you have identified a backlink on their website that is causing harm to your website’s SEO. 

Provide the specific details of the toxic backlink, including the URL and anchor text, and request its removal. 

Express your appreciation for their cooperation and provide your contact information for any further communication.

Step 4: Monitor Removal Requests

After sending the removal requests, it is crucial to monitor the progress and responses received from the webmasters. 

Keep track of the emails you have sent and any replies or actions taken by the webmasters. 

Some webmasters may respond promptly and remove the toxic backlink, while others may require additional follow-up or clarification. 

Stay organized and document the progress for each backlink on your removal list.

Step 5: Export Your Removal List

Once you have successfully removed the toxic backlinks or exhausted all available options for removal, export your removal list. 

This final list will serve as evidence of your efforts to rectify the issue and can be referenced in the future if necessary. 

Exporting the removal list also allows you to maintain a record of the toxic backlinks and the steps taken for future reference or audits.

By following these steps, you can systematically approach the process of removing toxic backlinks from your website’s link profile. 

It is important to note that not all webmasters may respond or comply with your removal requests. 

In such cases, you can consider disavowing the toxic backlinks through Google’s Disavow Tool to ensure they do not impact your website’s SEO. 

Regularly monitor your backlink profile and take proactive measures to maintain a healthy and high-quality link profile.

How to Disavow Toxic Backlinks

Disavowing toxic backlinks is an important step in managing your website’s link profile and protecting it from the negative impact of harmful links.

By disavowing these links, you inform search engines that you do not want them to consider these backlinks when evaluating your website’s SEO. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively disavow toxic backlinks:

Step 1: Upload Your Disavow File

Start by creating a disavow file in a text editor such as Notepad. 

This file will contain a list of URLs or domains that you want to disavow. 

Each entry should be on a separate line. 

Begin the file with a comment line, indicating the purpose and date of the disavow file. For example, you can start with: “# Disavow file created on [date].”

Step 2: Add Links to Your Disavow List

In the disavow file, add the URLs or domains of the toxic backlinks that you want to disavow. It’s important to specify whether you want to disavow the entire domain or only specific URLs. 

To disavow a domain, add “domain:” followed by the domain name. 

To disavow specific URLs, add the complete URL of each individual page you want to disavow. 

Ensure that each entry is on a separate line and that the formatting is correct.

Step 3: Export Your Disavow File

Save the disavow file with a .txt extension. It is recommended to use a descriptive filename, such as “disavow_file_date.txt,” to easily identify it in the future. Keep the disavow file organized and accessible for future updates or reference.

Step 4: Upload to Google

To complete the disavow process, log in to your Google Search Console account and select the relevant website property. 

Navigate to the “Links” section and choose “Disavow Links.” Follow the instructions provided to upload your disavow file. 

Google will then process the file and take it into consideration when evaluating your website’s link profile.

It’s important to note that the disavow process is a preventive measure and should be used cautiously. 

Disavowing backlinks should only be done when you have made significant efforts to remove or request removal of toxic links, but they persist. 

Disavowing backlinks should not be your first course of action, and it’s important to prioritize the removal or disavowal of toxic links on a case-by-case basis.

By following these steps, you can effectively disavow toxic backlinks and help protect your website’s SEO health. 

Regularly monitor your link profile, continue efforts to remove harmful links, and update your disavow file as needed to ensure the ongoing optimization of your website’s link profile.

FAQs About How To Find Bad Backlinks

How do you define a bad backlink?

A bad backlink is a link that comes from a low-quality or spammy website. 

It can harm your website’s SEO and reputation. Bad backlinks often originate from link farms, irrelevant sources, or websites with a poor link profile.

Does removing toxic backlinks help SEO?

Yes, removing toxic backlinks can significantly help your SEO efforts. Toxic backlinks can negatively impact your website’s rankings and reputation. 

By removing them, you can improve your link profile, enhance your website’s credibility, and increase the chances of higher search engine rankings.

Should I remove toxic backlinks?

Yes, it is advisable to remove toxic backlinks from your website’s link profile. Toxic backlinks can harm your SEO efforts and lead to penalties from search engines. 

By removing them, you can protect your website’s reputation, maintain a healthy link profile, and improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results.

Is buying backlinks against Google?

Yes, buying backlinks is against Google’s guidelines. Google considers the practice of buying or selling backlinks as a violation of their quality guidelines and manipulative behavior. 

Engaging in such practices can lead to penalties, including a drop in rankings or even complete removal from search engine results.

How many backlinks is too many?

There isn’t a specific number of backlinks that is considered “too many.” The quality of backlinks is more important than the quantity. 

It’s essential to focus on acquiring high-quality, relevant backlinks from authoritative websites rather than solely focusing on the number of backlinks.

How many backlinks per day is safe?

There is no fixed number of backlinks per day that is universally safe. The key is to focus on natural link building and acquiring backlinks from reputable sources. 

It’s important to maintain a balanced and organic backlink profile rather than engaging in manipulative tactics that could raise red flags with search engines.

Is there a free tool for checking backlinks?

Yes, there are several free tools available for checking backlinks. Some popular ones include Google Search Console, Ahrefs Backlink Checker, Moz Link Explorer, and SEMrush Backlink Checker. 

These tools provide insights into your website’s backlink profile, including the number of backlinks, referring domains, anchor text, and more.

How do I trace backlinks?

To trace backlinks, you can use various tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, Moz, SEMrush, or Majestic. 

These tools allow you to enter your website’s URL and view the backlinks pointing to your site. 

You can analyze the source, quality, and relevance of the backlinks to gain insights into your link profile.

How do I manually check backlinks?

Manually checking backlinks involves conducting a search on search engines using specific operators. 

For example, you can use the “link:” operator followed by your website’s URL to see a list of web pages that link to your site.

Additionally, you can explore the referring domains of your competitors’ websites and try to acquire similar backlinks for your own site.

What is a common mistake with backlinks?

A common mistake with backlinks is focusing solely on quantity rather than quality. 

Acquiring a large number of low-quality backlinks can be detrimental to your website’s SEO. 

It’s essential to prioritize the quality and relevance of backlinks, ensuring they come from authoritative and trustworthy sources.

How do I fix broken backlinks in SEO?

To fix broken backlinks, you can follow these steps:

  1. Identify the broken backlinks by using tools like Google Search Console or third-party backlink analysis tools.
  2. Locate the page on your website that the broken backlink is pointing to.
  3. Correct the URL or content on the page to fix the issue that caused the broken backlink.
  4. If the broken backlink is pointing to a page that no longer exists, create a relevant redirect or a custom 404 error page.
  5. Reach out to the webmasters of the websites with broken backlinks and request them to update the link to the correct URL.

What does a healthy backlink profile look like?

A healthy backlink profile consists of high-quality backlinks from diverse and authoritative sources. 

It typically includes a mix of natural, organic links from relevant websites. A healthy backlink profile has a balanced distribution of anchor texts, contains backlinks from various domains, and reflects a natural link-building pattern. 

It avoids spammy or low-quality links that could harm the website’s SEO.

Final Thoughts About How To Find Bad Backlinks

In conclusion, finding and addressing bad backlinks is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy and effective SEO strategy. 

By understanding the characteristics of bad backlinks and implementing the right techniques to identify them, you can protect your website from potential penalties and improve its overall performance. 

Through tools, analysis, and manual examination, you can uncover toxic backlinks and take appropriate action to remove or disavow them. 

Regular monitoring of your backlink profile and staying up-to-date with SEO best practices will help you maintain a clean and high-quality link profile. 

Remember, the quality and relevance of your backlinks matter more than sheer quantity. 

By focusing on acquiring good backlinks and eliminating bad ones, you can enhance your website’s online visibility and drive organic traffic.

Julian Goldie

Julian Goldie

Hey, I'm Julian Goldie! I'm an SEO link builder and founder of Goldie Agency. My mission is to help website owners like you grow your business with SEO!

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