How to find out harmful backlinks for your website? How to find backlinks harming your rankings?
Some of your backlinks may be hurting your search engine rankings rather than benefiting them. To identify bad backlinks we examine numerous factors on the websites that link to your website including:
- Large number of poor external links
- No contact information or links to social profiles
- Large number of follow links compared to non-follow links
- Small number of branded links
- An over abundance of anchor text
- As well as more than 10 other signals
The backlinks met our criteria of being potentially harmful with spam scores of 5 or higher. As a general rule a backlink with a spam score of 5 tends to be harmful 12% of the time, if the score is a 7 it increases to 30% likelihood of being spammy and at a score of 11 there is almost a 90% chance that the backlink is harmful. That said, don’t rush out and remove/disavow all these backlinks. Backlinks can be very beneficial and it is worth taking a close look at each potentially harmful backlink before disavowing or removing it. Under this objective’s tasks we will walk you through how do this
Remember when Google, or any other search engine, detects a suspicious backlink or penalized site linking back to your site, it associates your website with the website linking to you. If this website is penalized, or if the backlink is considered spammy Google may impose a penalty on your rankings. Even if you have never purposefully sought out backlinks it is still possible to end up with a few of them. Here are the most common ways we see bad backlinks being created:
- Getting links from poor quality websites: You may have received an email from a website to trade backlinks or just added your website to a few free directories. Often these websites are low quality and the result is a bad backlink. Before you even consider asking another website owner for a backlink search for their URL in google with quotes around it, i.e. “ford.com”, if their website ranks lower than #1 for their own URL it may have a penalty. It is also smart to take a minute to review websites and directories for quality and usefulness. Don’t ask to have your website added to websites that look sketchy or seem to offer very little value to visitors. Last, make sure any website that links to you has industry relevancy. For instance, if you sell cars online there is little value in having an ice cream blog link to you.
- Low quality SEO tactics: If you’ve purchased a large number of backlinks from a website claiming you can receive hundreds of backlinks in 24 hours the probability of them being connected to spam is really high. Also, if you are working with an SEO company that says they will add 35 new backlinks a month for $300 they are probably not going to help your rankings much and if anything more likely to hurt them.
- Old backlinks: You may have received a great backlink 5 years ago from a relevant and high-quality website but somewhere along the line they may have gone out of business. Expired domains are often picked up by buyers and the new owner may have turned that domain into a bad or penalized website. The result, by no fault of your own, is that you now have a bad backlink pointing towards your website.
- Malicious Competitors: This one is terrible but we see it occasionally. Angry competitors can actually purchase bad backlinks (very inexpensively) to link to your website and hurt it.
What are Backlinks?
Backlinks are links pointing to your website from other websites. In most cases backlinks to your website are very good things and are seen by search engines, such as Google, as “votes” for your website. The more “votes” you have the better you will rank. However, bad backlinks are backlinks that may be coming from penalized websites, link farms, low-quality directories or other sources that search engines may not approve of. If you have any of these types of backlinks pointing to your website it is important to disavow or have them removed.
- Analyze potentially harmful backlinks.
- Remove your bad backlinks.
- Disavow any remaining bad backlinks.