Website owners and SEO professionals go to great lengths to rank their sites on the first page of Google and other search engines.
Unfortunately, however, malicious competitors are willing to launch negative SEO attacks against their top websites. , can have negative and permanent consequences for your site’s organic rank.
Negative SEO comes in many forms, but it usually combines the following tactics:
- Building spam backlinks to your domain
- Remove quality backlinks
- website hacking
Building spammy backlinks (also known as “bad” or “toxic” links) to your website is the most common way to try to eclipse top performers.
As you can see from this 2018 Search Engine Roundtable poll, quite a few SEO professionals have resorted to these tactics (for lack of a better term) on several occasions.
Over the last few years, Google has gotten smarter and now completely ignores many of these spammy backlinks.
Matt Cutts, former head of Google’s webspam team, documented it in the video below.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to clean up your link profile from time to time and remove problematic links. Some links slip through Google’s web spam net.
The process of removing bad backlinks is relatively easy, even if it takes time.
- Understanding What Makes Backlinks “Toxic”
- Use our tool to identify all bad links pointing to your website
- Contact webmaster to request removal
- To ignore these links, create a “disavow” file and send it to Google
1. Types of link spam you want to avoid
Almost all links that are irrelevant to your website fall into the category of bad backlinks – editorial links from large publications are the exception.
That said, there are some types of backlinks that you definitely don’t want to connect to your website.
- Links from punished domains
- Links from link directories and link farms
- Links from “bad neighborhoods” (porn, pharmaceuticals, online gambling)
- Links from foreign language sites
- Numerous links from irrelevant websites
- A large number of exact match anchor text links.
The dangers of links from punished domains and websites that push fake Viagra are obvious. They are poison and like building a house right next to a junkyard. Thankfully, Google knows that people who try to rank higher don’t intentionally create these links, so they usually ignore them completely.
Exact match anchor text links and links from foreign sites are a different story. From Google’s point of view, you can easily create these yourself to manipulate rankings. This can lead to algorithmic penalties and manual actions.
2. Find the source of the harmful links
Tools such as Ahrefs, Moz, SEMRush, and Monitor Backlinks help with this purpose by flagging all links that fit the definition of “harmful” links.
Each of these apps uses different metrics, but if you use Monitor Backlinks, you’ll see everything from Moz’s spam score to Ahrefs’ domain authority. .
Whatever tool you’re using to identify bad links, try to find the export options.
A downloadable CSV file allows you to sort and sort your data. This helps us decide which websites to contact first to ask them to remove links to their sites.
3. Request removal from the website
That said, the chances of a bad webmaster removing low-quality backlinks are almost zero. However, this is a step that must be taken before Google asks you to ignore the link, so at least try it.
In almost 90% of cases, we cannot find the contact information of the person who visited the website. Most don’t even have a generic contact page to send an email. If so, use WHOIS domain lookup to track down the owner.
You get something like this, but most of the time the listed names don’t ring a bell (as in this case) and the list likewise has no email address.
If you’ve found an email that works, but haven’t heard anything back, it’s a good idea to contact your hosting company and ask them to remove any harmful backlinks you’ve identified. Most of the time they can help you.
Use WhoIsHostingThis to find out which company hosts your website.
4. Create a disavow file and send it to Google
Ultimately, it is very likely that you will have to rely on Google’s “Disavow Links” tool to solve your link spam problem. Matt Cutts explains what it is and how it works here.
This is a simple tool that allows you to import (using Google Search Console) a text file containing all the links you want Google to ignore. You can log specific URLs or ask Google to ignore all links from specific domains.
Use the disavow links tool with caution and only after thoroughly analyzing your backlink profile. Never negatively impact your organic rankings by disavowing high-quality backlinks.
Please wait for a while after sending. It will take some time for the file to be processed. All you can do at this point is wait for your rankings to slowly start recovering.
Ahrefs has published a detailed video walkthrough on how to identify bad backlinks and create and upload a disavow file using the disavow link tool.
Spammy Backlinks – Still a Threat in 2019
I believe that Google does everything in its power to limit the negative impact of SEO on a website, but it is wise and necessary to do backlink audits from time to time and clean out spammy links. think.
It’s a small enough task if done regularly that it can save you from major headaches down the road.