How to Remove Bad Backlinks: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
Are you struggling to increase your website’s search rankings even after creating great content? Maybe your site might have bad backlinks that are affecting your site’s SEO.
If you’re looking to find how to remove bad backlinks from your site, this post is exclusively for you.
Maintaining a good backlink profile can really
- improve your site’s overall traffic
- search rankings
- organic visibility and so on
So let’s get into the details of how you can get rid of low quality backlinks from your site.
Table of Contents
You can consider a backlink as a bad or toxic link when it is coming from any of the following sources;
- Sites which are penalized by Google
- Adult content sites
- Illegal content sites
- High spam blog directories
- Automatic link generate sites
Bad or toxic backlinks are the links that come from “unnatural” and “irrelevant” sources which add no real value to your website. In fact, bad backlinks can hurt your website search rankings.
To put it simply, good backlinks can increase your website’s DA (domain authority) while bad backlinks can reduce your site’s authority. It’s as simple as that.
Here are few reasons to remove bad backlinks.
- Bad links pointing to your site can really hurt your website organic rankings
- Bad links can get your site penalized by Google
- Bad links give you a high spam score for your site
- They can literally affect your rankings, traffic, sales and so on
So how do you find bad backlinks on your website? Let’s talk about some of the best bad backlink checker tools now.
Here are few of the backlink checker tools that you can use to find bad or toxic backlinks on your website.
- Monitor Backlinks
Let’s quickly talk about how you can use SEMrush (which is one of the widely used SEO tool which is used by over 3 million people worldwide) to remove bad backlinks. It’s also the same SEO tool we’re currently using to keep an eye on our blog’s backlink profile.
1. Using SEMrush to find bad backlinks
Quick note: Here’s an exclusive link where you can get a 14 day free trial of SEMrush (which is worth $47). You need to get access to SEMrush tool before you find bad backlinks of your site.
Here’s a simple step by step tutorial on how to use SEMrush to find bad backlinks of your website.
Step 1: Login to SEMrush dashboard, Once you’re in it, click the Projects tab in the sidebar, now choose “Create my first project.”
Step 2: Now, set up a backlink audit of your website. Here’s how it looks like;
Step 3: Once you set up backlink audit of your site, SEMrush will show all the sources of your backlinks. It simply means, it gives you a whole overview of your backlink profile.
Step 4: In this step, you can add all the unwanted links in the remove links list. Here’s how it looks like;
Step 5: In this final step, you can upload all the Disavowed links (taken from Google Disavow tool) to remove them. It will show now as “Disavowed” once they’re removed successfully!
2. Using Linkquidator to remove bad links
Linkquidator is an exclusive backlinks checking tool which you can use to easily avoid Google Penalty and find and remove all the bad links pointing to your website.
The good thing about using this tool is that it uses data from a total of 24 different sources including SEO Majestic, ahrefs, SEMrush and so on. So you get as much accurate backlink data of your site as possible.
SO this tool is the easiest way to find low-quality, harmful and spammy links on your site and they also use 38 different link factors to determine a backlink quality so you can easily come up with a list of all bad links.
Not just that, with this tool, you can easily generate a Disavow File for Google in 1 click using their Disavow Generator.
Here’s how it looks like;
3. Using Monitor Backlinks to remove spammy links from your site
Monitor Backlinks is another incredible SEO tool that you can use to check the good and bad backlinks for your site.
The best thing about using Monitor Backlinks is that it lets you easily filter the bad and toxic backlinks and quickly generate a disavow list for submission to Google.
Here’s how it looks like;
So there you go! Although there are many bad backlink checker tools out there but the above 3 are really useful in fighting against bad links.
Now, let’s talk about the most important question: how to remove bad backlinks from your site altogether? Here’s a step by step tutorial on how to do it.
Step 1: Find all your website backlink sources
The first step is to carefully find a list of all the backlinks of your website. As mentioned above, you can use tools like SEMrush.
Or you can also use Google Webmasters interface.
Here’s how you can use it.
Once you’re on the webmasters tool, go to the left-hand sidebar and click “Search Traffic.”
Then, click on “Links to Your Site” Under “Search Traffic” section.
Now, you need to click on “more” which you can find under the “Who links the most” section. Then, click on “Download more sample links.”
Here’s how it looks like;
The above result will give you a list of all the pages linking to your website.
Step 2: Carefully audit your website links to find bad and toxic backlinks
Once you’ve a list of all the backlink sources of your website, you can simply use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs etc to easily find bad backlinks (which is explained above).
Step 3: Get in touch with the blog owners
Before using any advanced link removal techniques like Google Disavow tool, it’s always a better idea to send an email to the appropriate website owners to remove bad backlinks.
Here’s how an email pitch looks like (when you’re connecting with website owners to remove bad backlinks from your site).
Here’s another link removal template you can use;
My name is [YOUR_NAME] and I’m running the website called [YOUR_WEBSITE]. I wanted to thank you for linking to our website from [URL_OF_THE_PAGE_LINKING_TO_YOU].
Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that it’s best to remove this backlink. Therefore, I will have to ask you kindly to remove this backlink from your site.
The link is located here: [URL_OF_THE_PAGE_LINKING_TO_YOU]
It links to [URL_OF_YOUR_SITE]
And it’s using the anchor text [ANCHOR_TEXT_USED_FOR_YOUR_LINK].
Thank you for your time.
Awaiting your positive reply.
Now the most important question. How can you even find blog owners information so you can ask for a bad backlink removal of your site.
Here are few quick ways to get in touch with the bloggers.
- Reaching out on social media (you can look for their full name)
- Commenting on a blog post (most websites have blogs and allow comments)
- Searching the site owner’s name on Google
Now, you can send an email to the blogger and make the location of the link you want to remove. Try to make sure the blogger can find and remove your link in less than one minute. If you are not getting a reply in 5-10 days, send a follow up email.
Step 4: Disavow everything else which you can’t remove
The final step is to use Google Disavow links tool to remove bad backlinks from your website which you’re going to discover below.
How to Use Google Disavow Links Tool
IMPORTANT: Here’s what Google has to say about using Google Disavow tool. It is an advanced feature and should only be used with caution.
If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results.
We recommend that you disavow backlinks only if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site.
What should be considered while using Google Disavow link tool?
It is because your competitors may link to your site with bad neighbour links i.e spam links to badly hurt your SERP’s or search results in Google. Bing had introduced this disavow link tool sometime back, and many bing users claimed to remove those spammy links from their sites.
What can Google Disavow Links tool do?
It is Google’s best spam reporting tool where you can suggest Google not to consider few external links pointing to your sites.
That means if you think your site has few spammy external links, then you can use Google Disavow link tool to avoid them by Google bots.
This way you’ve the total control on your overall links that are pointing to your sites – you can suggest Google bots to crawl ONLY the best external links by doing this.
By using this Google disavow link tool, you’re helping Google to remove all the bad links to your site and also you’ll be controlling that Google punishing your site in the search engines in the future (for still containing bad links to your site!).
So make sure you’re not having spam links pointing your site, and use Google disavow link tool to make it happen.
But.. how to know whether you’ve bad links pointing to your site or not?
The best way to check your incoming links is: use Google webmaster tools.
Here’s the simple process of finding incoming links to your blog.
Go to webmaster tools
Under Dashboard > Traffic > Links to Your Site
This is where you can check all the links to your site. Click on “More” to find whether any spam sites are linking to you to hurt your SERP’s
If yes.. then note down those site links (URL’s) in a notepad and use Google Disavow link tool to deny them. Here is the link that you need to use to start using Disavow links tool.
Caution: Google official blog itself says that the vast, vast majority of sites do not need to use this tool in any way. If you’re not sure what the tool does or whether you need to use it, you probably shouldn’t use it.
Why? Few bloggers may download all their links to the sites in a .CSV or .DOC format from their webmaster tools. And they may use Google disavow tool to deny, this will result in Google denying ALL of your incoming links to your sites on their search results. How bad if this really happens?
So make sure to use Google disavow link tool ONLY if you strongly believe that your site is strongly affected by bad links pointing to your sites. And be aware of which links you’re disavowing from your site, better use a separate file like notepad to upload those links.
But what if you find few unknown links pointing to your sites?
Simple answer is.. ignore them.
So.. worry to use Google disavow link tool only if you’ve done black hat SEO tactics or any other Google unnatural link schemes. Or use the tool if you still think there are many bad sites linking to your sites even if you’ve done everything right according to Google quality guidelines.
If you use Google disavow links tool, how soon the bad links will be removed?
All of us know that… Google uses bots to crawl the pages on every site. So it takes few days to re-crawl all the pages on your blog and if you’ve used Google disavow links tool to deny the bad links, it may take few days to weeks to remove all the links which you were uploaded to this tool.
Quick note: The best part about removing spammy links from your site is that it helps you fight against Penguin updates. Google launched the Penguin Update in April 2012 to better catch sites deemed to be spamming its search results especially those who’re doing it so by buying links or using spammy link networks.
So if you can get rid of bad links from your site, you can really boost your search rankings.
Here are few important questions you might want to know about removing spammy links from your site in 2019.
1. How can I remove bad backlinks from a website?
First things first. There’s no way you can remove bad backlinks without performing a site audit. Here’s where you need to get access to the right tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs so on to know your website’s backlink profile.
Once done with it, here are few things you can do to remove bad links from your site.
- Find out the links you want to remove from your site
- Find out the backlink sources of such bad links (so you can get in touch with the blog owners)
- Send an email pitch to the blog owners to remove links
Quick tip: You can easily find the contact information of a blogger on their website. If no contact details are available, WhoIs can help you find the email address used to register the domain or host the website. If they hide it, you can use their social media sites or subscribe to their email lists.
2. Are bad backlinks harmful for your site’s SEO?
Yes, bad or toxic backlinks are really harmful for your website. You need to get rid of them as soon as you notice bad links pointing to your site as they can really affect your site’s overall search rankings.
3. What are the best tools to remove bad links?
There are a ton of SEO tools that you can use to remove bad backlinks from your sites. But we highly recommend you to go with tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs. You can also consider Linkquidator and Monitor Backlinks to easily find and remove toxic and spammy links from your site.
4. How do I disavow a link in Google?
Firstly, you need to use Google’s Disavow Links Tool to be able to disavow bad backlinks from your site. Here are few simple steps to disavow links from your site.
- One you’re on Disavow links tool, go to “Configure my site” and then select “Disavow Links.”
- Within the Disavow Links tool, use the dropdown menu to indicate that you are disavowing a page, directory, or domain URL.
- Enter the URL you want to disavow and click “Disavow.”
- That’s it, you’re done!
5. How long does it take Google to disavow links?
First things fist: there’s no specific answer to how long does it take Google to disavow bad and spammy links from your site. Usually it takes about 48 hours for all the Google bots to take notice that there is a new Disavow file for your domain.
That being said, Google bots might still take weeks until Google crawls your disavowed links again and remove all the toxic links pointing to your site.
Removing bad links is always a good thing for your site. That being said, Google disavow links tool is not a RESET button to remove all the bad links and to include only the best links on your site, but it’s a tool that can be helpful if you’ve done link building the bad way or if your competitors hurt you with too many bad links.
Hopefully this detailed post helped you on how to remove spam backlinks from your site. Let us know if you still have any questions in the comments below.