As digital marketers and website owners, we all wish to rank on top of search engine results. What is the key to achieving this goal? High-quality backlinks!
On the contrary, toxic links can be a significant headache for you. These spam links negatively impact search rankings and even penalties from search engines like Google if we allow them to pile up. In this blog, we'll walk you through five straightforward, easy-to-follow steps to eliminate spam backlinks effectively.
What are spammy backlinks?
Spammy backlinks, toxic or low-quality, come from suspicious or irrelevant sources. These links are often created solely to manipulate search engine rankings.
These links are typically obtained through unethical practices, such as buying links from link farms or participating in link schemes. Unlike high-quality backlinks earned naturally and relevantly, spammy backlinks serve no real value to users or the websites they link to.
How do spammy backlinks hurt your website performance?
Here is how spammy backlinks can hurt your Website's performance:
Negative Impact on Search Rankings: Search engines like Google take into account the quality and relevance of backlinks when determining a website's search ranking. Spammy backlinks signal manipulative practices to search engines like Google, affecting your Website's search ranking.
Refer to our guide to backlink building to create a favorable link profile.
Penalties from Search Engines: The Google Penguin algorithm vigilantly penalizes websites with link schemes or negative SEO tactics. Having spammy backlinks can lead to manual actions or algorithmic penalties, harming your SEO rankings and domain authority.
Decreased Organic Traffic: Spammy backlinks cause a drop in search rankings, resulting in decreased organic traffic. With fewer people finding your site through organic search, your Website's visibility and potential business opportunities decline.
User Trust and Reputation: Spammy backlinks can lead users to irrelevant or malicious websites, negatively impacting user trust in your site. This perception may reduce engagement with your content, products, or services, lowering conversions and customer loyalty.
Difficulty in Link Building: Spammy backlinks tarnish your Website's reputation among web admins and legitimate sites, making it challenging to establish valuable partnerships and secure high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources.
5 steps on how to get rid of spam backlinks?
Let's delve into a detailed step-by-step guide on how to get rid of spam backlinks:
Step 1: Identify the source of spammy backlinks
To effectively remove spam backlinks, the first step is to identify them.
How do you find spam backlinks?
The best practice is to look for spam links manually. You can access your Google Search Console account and navigate to the "Links" section. There, you'll find a list of external sites linking to your Website. Look for any suspicious or irrelevant domains that you believe could be spammy.
Alternatively, you can monitor your Website's referral traffic in Google Analytics. If you notice a significant influx of traffic from questionable referring domains, it might indicate a spammy backlink.
Analyzing backlink profiles using tools
Backlink analysis tools provide valuable insights into the links pointing to a specific website or webpage, helping SEO professionals and webmasters make informed decisions to improve their website's authority, search rankings, and overall online presence. You can use spammy links checker tools that find toxic backlinks on your Website quickly. These tools crawl the internet to gather data on external websites linking to a target site, offering comprehensive reports on various backlink metrics, including:
- Backlink Quantity and Quality
- Anchor Text
- Linking Domains
- Linking Pages
- New and Lost Backlinks
- Competitor Analysis
Step 2: Differentiate between spam and a legitimate backlink
Not all backlinks are spammy, so it's essential to differentiate between legitimate and toxic links. Consider the following factors when evaluating a backlink:
Relevance: A legitimate backlink comes from websites relevant to your niche or industry. If the linking site has no connection to your content, it could be spam.
Authority: A high-quality backlink often comes from authoritative and reputable websites. A spammy backlink, on the other hand, might originate from low-quality or suspicious sources.
Anchor Text: Look at the anchor text used in the backlink. It might be spam if it appears irrelevant or overly optimized with exact-match keywords.
Step 3: Find where these spammy backlinks are coming from
Once you have identified the spammy backlinks pointing to your Website, it's crucial to find out the source or origin of these links. Understanding where they are coming from will help you appropriately address the issue. Here are some methods to determine the source of spammy backlinks:
Common sources of spam backlinks
Here are some of the common sources that can help you to check the spam backlinks:
Check Referring Pages: Review the referring pages for spammy links in your link checker tool or Google Search Console. Examine these pages to determine if they seem legitimate or spammy.
Investigate Link Context: Look at the content surrounding the spammy backlink on the linking pages. Analyze the context to assess whether the linking pages are genuine or have malicious intent.
Use WHOIS Lookup: Perform a WHOIS lookup to gather information about the domain associated with the spammy backlinks. WHOIS lookup, through websites like ICANN WHOIS, provides details about the domain owner, contact information, registration date, and more.
Visit the Linking Websites: Manually visit the websites linking to your site. Evaluate the overall quality and relevance of these websites. Look for signs of spam or suspicious activities, such as poor design, irrelevant content, excessive advertisements, or indications of link schemes.
Step 4: Request removal of spammy links from the Website
After identifying the spammy backlinks, your next step is to attempt to have them removed manually. Here's the whole process of how to do it:
1. Find Contact Information: The first thing is to find contact information available on the "Contact Us" page, in the Website's footer, or in the "About" section of the backlink domain. If the Website doesn't have a contact page, you can refer to the WHOIS database to find the site owner's email address.
2. Craft a Polite Request: Reach them with a polite and concise email requesting the removal of the spammy link. Explain that the link points to your Website and that you believe it was created without your consent or knowledge. Please provide the exact URL of the spammy link so the webmaster can quickly locate and remove it.
3. Follow-up: If you don't receive a response within a reasonable time frame (usually a few weeks), send a follow-up email as a gentle reminder.
4. Document Your Efforts: Record all your removal requests, including emails sent, dates, and any responses you receive. This documentation will be helpful in case you need to use the Google Disavow Tool (Step 5) as evidence that you attempted to have the spam links removed manually.
Step 5: Disavow spammy links on Google Search Console
When you can't remove the toxic links manually, you can use the Google Disavow Tool as a last resort. This tool tells Google to ignore those spammy links when evaluating your Website's backlink profile.
Do you disavow spammy links?
Follow these steps to learn how to disavow spammy links:
- Create a text file (.txt) containing a list of the URLs or domains you want to disavow, one entry per line.
- Go to the Google Search Console interface and navigate to the Disavow Links tool under the "Links" section.
- Choose your Website from the dropdown if you have multiple properties and click "Disavow Links."
- Upload the text file containing the list of spammy URLs or domains.
- Submit the disavow file to Google. Note that this process may take some time to reflect in your backlink profile.
Alternatively, you can use disavow software tools. Remember, disavowing links should be done cautiously, as it tells Google to ignore them entirely. So, only disavow links you are confident are toxic and cannot be removed manually.
Preventing future spam backlinks for better ranking
To prevent toxic backlinks from affecting your SEO goals in the future, follow these steps:
Method 1: Regular backlink monitoring
Regularly monitoring your Website's backlink profile is essential in preventing future bad backlinks. By using reputable backlink audit tools, you can keep a close eye on the incoming links to your site. Regular monitoring allows you to quickly identify any new toxic links that may have emerged and take prompt action to address them.
Method 2: Secure your website from scrapers and spammers
One effective way to prevent future bad links is by implementing CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA tests on your Website's forms and comment sections. This helps deter automated bots from leaving spammy links in comments or submitting fake form data, as it may affect your ranking in search results. Additionally, consider using email verification for comment submissions, as it can prevent fake accounts from being created solely to insert spam links.
Method 3: Strengthening SEO and content strategies
Strengthening your SEO strategy and creating a solid content strategy is another effective way to prevent future spam links and enhance your search engine ranking. Focus on creating high-quality, valuable, relevant content that naturally attracts authoritative and legitimate links.
By producing valuable content, you increase the chances of other reputable websites linking to your pages as valuable resources rather than relying on manipulative link-building techniques.
Optimize your content for SEO, which includes optimizing meta tags, headings, and content. This enhances your Website's overall relevance, authority, and page rank. Invest time and effort into building relationships with other websites and influencers in your industry, fostering organic link-building opportunities.
Getting rid of spam links is crucial for digital marketers and website owners aiming to improve their search engine rankings and protect their online reputation. By following this guide on how to get rid of spam backlinks, you can effectively identify, differentiate, and address spammy links. Remember that getting rid of spam backlinks is an ongoing process, and by staying vigilant, you can maintain a healthy backlink profile.
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FAQs You Need To Know About Spammy Backlinks
Why do I have spam backlinks?
Spam links can occur for various reasons, but the most common ones are usually due to malicious practices by spammers attempting to manipulate search engine rankings. They might have used automated tools to generate low-quality links, participated in link schemes, or targeted your Website as part of their spamming strategy.
How to reduce the Spam Score of a website?
To reduce the Spam Score of a website, focus on identifying and removing spammy backlinks through regular monitoring. You can use SEO audit tools or spam link checkers to check for any irregularities and promptly act accordingly. Additionally, ensure your Website's content and links adhere to search engine guidelines, and take measures to secure your site against scrapers and spammers.
Can we stop blog/video link spam?
It is challenging to completely stop blog/video link spam due to the open nature of the internet. However, you can minimize the numbers by following webmaster guidelines and using comment moderation systems, CAPTCHA tests, and ensuring user-generated content is carefully monitored. Using SEO tools that monitor, track, and help remove bad links can be helpful.