What to Do with Toxic Backlinks: Guide to Follow

What to do with Toxic Backlinks: Guide to Follow


Backlinks are one of the most important factors when it comes to website credibility and authority. Many things matter in your backlink profile, from the tempo of receiving the mentions to the domain authorities of the sources that have referenced you.

If you have a gradual rate of building links from credible sources with proper keywords near the mentions, you’re probably on great terms with Google. However, if a toxic backlink is found and there are some other gaps in the profile, you may get a penalty.

How Do Backlinks Become Toxic?

Here are some of the factors that make a backlink toxic, potentially harming your profile and credibility:

  • The layout.
    A lot of things depend on the website that published the mention. A low rate of HTML code to visible text may point to the low quality of the page you have the reference on.
  • Low domain authority and trust.
    If the website you’re cooperating with has low metrics, there’s no way you’re going to benefit from it. Before contacting webmasters and bloggers, make sure their sources are worth it and you won’t need to do damage control to the link profile after all.
  • Mirrors.
    If you have a lot of pages from various sources link to you in the same way (with the same keywords as anchors), your website may be penalized. It’s too suspicious to be a coincidence, so either Penguin or the manual penalizing team of the search engine may put restrictions on your site.

Whether you’re only getting links naturally or learn a broken link building tutorial or an unlinked mention one, don’t make it seem like a scheme. Your profile must look original and not intervened with. All the intervention you’re allowed is the analysis of the profile, as well as damage control.

Handling Toxic Backlinks

The best piece of advice is to always look for proper ways to build links. Write guest posts, replace broken links from your site, ask to replace the broken ones from your competitors with yours.

The most proper way to get mentions, of course, is to make great content. It will also improve your Google ranking, as well as these recommendations by programminginsider.com. Original, optimized, high-quality articles are what gets people’s attention. And by having a loyal reader base, you’re also getting a large list of leads and potential customers.

But if you already have those bad links on the profile, let’s see what you can do:

  • Communicate with the webmasters.
    If it’s possible, talk to the admins of the sites and ask them to remove any links to your website.
  • Ask for a review.
    In case your source has a penalty from Google that is manual, you can apply for a revision. However, make sure that the link of concern is a legit one and you don’t have to remove it first. There are around 20K of such requests the search engine team gets for each monthly 400,000 penalties.
  • Use Google Disavow.
    This is an easier way to remove bad links if they have no value to you and are actually spammy. The tool is available via Google Search Console Help. All you have to do is to create a list of mentions you want to devalue and upload the file into Disavow.

These steps should help you see improvements in about a month. Some cases may take a longer time to be resolved. But it’s always worth the result. Even one toxic link can tarnish your reputation for a very long time.

How to Tell You Have Toxic Backlinks

The easier way is to determine whether you have toxic links is to do frequent audits of the backlink profile. You can use online instruments from Ahrefs or SEMRush to get the freshest information on the current situation.

If you already have a penalty and it’s manual, you can use Google Search Console’s Manual Actions function to find out more about the issue. Gladly, the engine’s team provides a detailed explanation of the problem, the link it concerns, and more. There, you can also apply for a revision and make your point.

Beware of the Impact

Many website owners, especially the newcomers, don’t pay a lot of attention to backlink profiles and where they get mentions from. Some even purchase spammy links in bulk. This would work in the ‘ancient times’ of the Internet. But not now.

You absolutely have to take care of every link there is on the profile. Both the Penguin algorithm and the humans working for Google can apply a penalty on your website based on the issues of the profile. Remember that around 400,000 penalties a month are issued. And you don’t want to be on that list. So, make sure every mention of poor quality, every report is handled professionally.