How Toxic Links Could Be Dragging Down Your Rankings

One of the most common mistakes business owners make when attempting to improve their search rankings is not understanding that links can be good or bad for their website’s search engine optimization (SEO) score. You’re adding to your link profile every time you link to another website, whether it’s from your homepage, your footer, or one of your blogs.

Website backlinks play an important role in search engine rankings, but if you have toxic links on your site, those links could drag down your rankings, whether Google admits it or not. 

In this blog, backlink audit experts will talk about some warning signs to watch out for and tips on how to remove toxic links from your site and avoid them.

What Are Backlinks?

External backlinks are the ones that vouch for your website’s authenticity. They’re like the arteries of digital information, transporting lifeblood, link juice, from one website to the other. It acts as a vote in favor of the website it has been linked to.

For example, suppose you have a car insurance business in Texas and have linked your website to a government site. This will inform Google that a higher-authority website has vouched for your website, which helps build your website’s credibility.

A team in a business meeting with a backlink audit service provider

Introducing Toxic Backlinks

Toxic backlinks are unnatural links that can directly impact your webpages ranking on a search engine. These backlinks can be misleading and inject malware and virus into your website. They can harm your business and brand image and lead visitors to unindexed sites and adult forums.

More and more sites are becoming aware of the dangers of toxic backlinks and have begun penalizing sites with them. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all monitor for spammy behavior and penalize sites accordingly.

Toxic links are a big problem for anyone trying to rank their content. Third-party websites can create these links to hurt another site and include comments, blog posts, and forum discussions that contain negative or irrelevant information about your business. If you’re seeing major drops in rankings, you may have toxic links throughout your internet presence.

If you want to stay competitive in the SERPs, you need to clean up those toxic links. The best way to do this is to use the disavow tool from Google’s Webmaster Tools.

However, if that doesn’t work for you, there are other methods you can also try out. For instance, look at the offending domain and see what it offers. If they offer something you don’t offer or have a completely different audience than yours, these would be good domains to remove from your backlink profile.

Another tactic would be outreach or guest blogging on sites with similar audiences or topics of interest. In addition, research sites link to these domains and see if they’re also linking back to you. If they do, reach out and ask them nicely to remove the link from their website. You can also hire website backlink audit services to revamp your website and eliminate all the toxic links harming your SERP rankings.

Click through rate report after a website backlink audit

How To Identify Toxic Links

There are a few different ways to identify toxic links. One way is by looking at what other sites link to your site. Are these sites in the same industry? If so, then it’s probably not a big deal. Another way is to look at what keywords your site ranks for. If you’re ranking for keywords you don’t want to rank for, it could indicate that you have toxic links on your site.

In addition, collaborate with manual backlink audit services to create a list of your linking partners that you’re not sure about. Look through these links one by one to see if they violate guidelines set by the various social media sites. Ask yourself:

  • Is this link spam?
  • Does it contain offensive content?
  • Do these links look unnatural and non-substantial?
  • Have I received complaints from the visitors?

When assessing whether or not links are toxic, there are two main things you should pay attention to:

  1. If they’re pointing back to spammy sites like adult platforms and casino domains (i.e., domains with spammy backlinks).
  2. How authoritative they are as a whole. Low-quality links can drag down the rankings of high-quality pages, but even high-quality links can cause problems if they’re coming from low-quality sources like spammy blog networks or shady link brokers who offer buy one get ten free deals. Quality matters more than quantity when it comes to backlinks.

How To Remove Toxic Links

Since toxic backlinks can significantly hurt your rankings, website backlink audit experts suggest that identifying and removing them is essential. 

Here are a few ways to remove toxic links:

  • Monitor your backlinks regularly to check for any signs of toxicity. If you find one, reach out to the website owner and ask them if they would be willing to remove the link in exchange for something of value.
  • Reach out to the site that linked you and let them know they have a bad link on their site. Offer them an incentive or an alternative reward in exchange for removing it.
  • Hire manual backlink audit services who’ll audit your entire website for toxic weblinks crawling in nooks and crannies, dragging your rankings down.

An illustration of link building between different numbers

How To Prevent Toxic Backlinks In The Future

Follow these tips to avoid toxic backlinks:

  • Monitor your backlinks regularly to ensure that you’re not getting toxic links.
  • Get rid of any toxic links immediately.
  • Work with reputable sources for guest blogging opportunities and other types of content promotion.
  • Collaborate with website audit backlink services, who’ll help you identify lurking dangers on your website.
  • Focus your efforts on high-quality, relevant content creation.

Guest article written by: The author is a backlink audit consultant affiliated with Search Berg. He writes blogs for them to offer his insights about the ever-changing landscape of SEO and website design. During his free time, he enjoys biking trips with his friends.