There is no denying the fact that backlinks play a vital role in organic search engine rankings. While high-quality links from authoritative websites can propel your site to the top of search engine rankings, there are some links that can harm your rankings. These are the links you need to worry about. They are known as toxic backlinks and it’s important for you to get rid of such toxic links if you want to retain or enhance your search engine rankings.
The team at EverConvert provides a thorough analysis of your existing backlinks, letting you know what links are helping you and what links need to be removed. Additionally, we work every day to build natural, high-quality backlinks for our clients, boosting the authority of their sites which helps push them up the rankings in Google search.
Simply put, these are the links that are identified by Google as unnatural links. The Penguin updates by Google are focused on identifying such links and on penalizing the websites utilizing such links.
Some of the common types of toxic links include links from link networks, site-wide links, blog rolls, footer links, links from blog comments, links from article directories, links from web directories, links from forum profiles and signatures, links from hacked websites and other such things.
There was a time when links only had a positive effect on your rankings regardless of the healing quality. Things have changed with the Penguin updates as low-quality links from sources identified above can harm your rankings and therefore, it is important for you to remove such toxic links from your link profile.
Causes of Toxic Links
There can be many causes of toxic links in your backlink profile. If you hired an SEO company for working on your website, it is possible that they gathered a ton of spam links to get a ranking boost for your website and now these links have created a problem.
Sometimes, these are the result of a negative SEO attack. In some cases, a link that was good earlier might have become toxic due to the original website getting hacked or having malware.
In other words, there can be hundreds of reasons for the presence of toxic links in your link profile but the important thing is to identify and remove these unnatural links to preserve your website’s rankings.
How to Check Toxic Backlinks?
You know there are toxic links in your link profile in case you have received a Google Webmasters warning. In case your organic traffic has suddenly taken a dive, for absolutely no reason, it’s likely that your website has been penalized by Penguin and it might be related to the presence of toxic backlinks.
Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to check the Google Webmasters tool to find any warnings. In case you have received the above-mentioned warning, it is time to sit down and think of a strategy to remove such toxic links.
How to Remove Toxic Backlinks?
It can be tricky to identify and remove toxic links. The first step is to identify all the links to your website. There are a number of tools online that can help you identify all the links pointing to your website. While most of these tools are paid, some of these tools also offer free/cheap trials for a limited time.
Once you have a list of all the links, it is now time to identify toxic links. You can again utilize various online tools to identify links that are likely to be toxic. If you want to do a manual audit, it will take some time but will generate better results. If your website has thousands of backlinks, it is better to use an online tool as manual identification will take a lot more time.
Two-Step Process for Toxic Link Removal
Contact the Webmaster
There are two ways for you to get rid of toxic backlinks. Once you have identified a toxic backlink, your first step should be to get in touch with the webmaster and ask them nicely to remove the backlink. Finding the contact information of the website owner is easy as most websites have a contact us page or an about page or contact forms. It is recommended to use email as it is easy to monitor and also allows for easy follow-up.
After finding their contact information, send them a simple request message asking them to remove the link to your website. In most cases, this simple request does the trick and they will remove the link. You need to be polite and persistent with manual outreach to experience success.
If it doesn’t work, there is another option available to you.
Disavow the Backlinks
It’s a relatively straightforward process. Identify the links that are causing you harm and include these links in a text editor such as notepad. Mention the complete URL in the text file. If you want to include a whole domain, you can also do that with domain:websitetodisavow.com.
After preparing this text file, open the disavow tool page and choose your website from the list. Upload the text file and you’re done.
Filing a Reconsideration Request
Once you have cleaned up the link profile of your website, it is time to file a reconsideration request. It is basically an admission of your mistake and you would also need to mention the steps taken to rectify the issue. Your reconsideration request can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. If it is successful, you should be able to regain your rankings.
Start Building Healthy Links
While the removal of toxic links is important, the bitter fact is that you cannot prevent anyone from linking to your website. Therefore, in addition to following the above process of removing the toxic links, you also need to focus on building high-quality links to your website. It will help in drowning out the toxic backlinks.
One of the best ways to build high-quality backlinks is to consistently publish exceptional content on your website. Publish long-form articles that are designed to be the best guide on that particular topic online. After publishing this content, publicize it on your social media profiles.
Manual outreach to bloggers and webmasters in your niche should also yield good results. People like to link to excellent content as it is good for their own website and in this manner, you should be able to gain a lot of high-quality links.
Overall, it is important for you to investigate your link profile regularly to identify potentially toxic links and use the above-mentioned tips to remove these toxic links if you want to stay clear of Google penalties. In addition, use outreach and high-quality content to consistently earn healthy backlinks for your website. Healthy links from authoritative domains will go a long way in enhancing and maintaining high rankings of your website in the organic search engine result pages.