Site   Web

February 23, 2015

Find and Clean Your Bad Backlinks: Here’s How

Photo Credit: Baitong333 via

2015 is well underway. You’ve probably gone back on a few resolutions, and made some permanent, but that’s old news. Now is the time to focus on steps to move forward.

This is especially true as it relates to your online brand – your website. You understand the importance of updating your site on a regular basis. You probably work on creating and sharing content on a schedule and look for new ways to drive traffic and to increase conversions. Perhaps you’ve already made a few changes to the design or layout since this year began.

What about your links? Backlinks continue to be an important component of increasing search rankings and will be into the future according to search engine giant Google, however, quality matters now more than ever. New and constantly updated search algorithms have started to evaluate the quality of links leading back to a site. If too many sites that are considered low-quality link to your site, or, if there are too many other “bad” links, you could suffer negative effects that include lower search rankings.

Ready to clean your backlinks? Follow the steps below to get started.

What Makes a Backlink Bad in the First Place?

In case you’re unsure, there are a variety of things that could cause a backlink to be considered “bad” or detrimental to your SEO efforts. These include:

  • Link networks. Not so long ago, it was easy to pay for links, or to join networks that were set up just to share links. These are now considered bad business. Any links on these networks could do more harm than good.
  • Comment spam. Links in the comments of your posts and your link in the comments of other posts are considered negative. They’re a not-so-covert method of spreading links that are generally handled by computer bots. This makes them bad.
  • Overly optimized links. Having a keyword strategy is a good thing; it’s probably how you started ranking in the first place. However, when your link is anchored from the same keyword, thousands of times, all over the Internet, search engine crawlers will probably suspect something is out of place. Varying your keyword strategy is critical.
  • Links that just don’t make sense. If you have links living on sites that don’t relate at all to your industry, or are across the world from your target audience, the search engine crawlers will notice. Links should be on relevant sites for best results.
  • Spammy directory links. If the directory exists for the sole purpose of building links, or it is completely unrelated to your business or niche, you should probably get out of there.
  • Duplicate content with links. Guest posting can be a great way to increase your brand’s exposure and to spread a link or two around the Internet. Sending the same content to multiple sites takes away from the practice. Instead of crafting one article and hoping multiple sites pick up on it (press releases, anyone?), pitch individual stories and posts to different sites. Use your links, but vary your content.

Check Out Your Backlink Profile

You might have a strong idea of where your backlinks are located and how many you have out there. Chances are higher, especially if you’ve been building links for awhile now, that you’re not sure where all of your backlinks are, let alone whether they’re good or bad.

Don’t worry, there are tools to assist in the process. One of the most popular options is Majestic’s link profile tool. This – and other tools like it – help identify where your backlinks are and whether or not they are beneficial or harmful to your website. Knowing where your backlinks are and understanding the strength of your network is the first step to cleaning out the bad links.

Removing the Bad Links

Removing bad links isn’t always as straightforward as understanding what makes a link bad and where your site stands. Options include:

  • It’s easier than ever before to connect with others thanks to published contact information and social media. Look for the contact details of the individual running the site in question and ask if he or she will remove your link. Be polite. Note: this won’t always work. When a webmaster asks for payment for the removal, it’s time to try something else.
  • Modify your pages. If your bad links are linked to certain, more dated pages on your website, remove the pages. It might sound drastic, but, if low ranking links are linking to certain pages, they could be dragging your entire site down. It’s best to remove them and move forward.
  • Disavow bad links. Sometimes, regardless of your efforts, it might seem impossible to get rid of certain links. Don’t despair, Google understands; using their webmaster tools, you can ask the search engine not to consider certain links in your site’s profile.
  • Start over. Now, this is a drastic option. However, when there are too many bad links connected to your site, or you’ve been penalized for your backlinks, it might be your best option. It may come down to starting over with a new domain or never being displayed in search results. At this point, it’s time to weigh your options for moving forward.

Don’t be surprised if, by removing backlinks, your site suffers a decrease in visitors for some time. While this period of time is undefined, it makes sense. When there are fewer links out there linking back to your site, you might be harder to find; traffic might fall. But, to build a stronger site for the future and to avoid penalties, it’s well worth your while.

Regardless of the route you choose, eliminating bad backlinks is critical for building a reputable website that continually receives high search rankings. Learn more about the process and take action today for best results.


Adrienne Erin writes weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to get in touch, or visit Design Roast to see more of her work.

42 Responses to “Find and Clean Your Bad Backlinks: Here’s How

    avatar Ritulal says:

    It’s a great article post. This is most reliable and appropriate article to SEO point of view. We can use these methods and gain our website performance. Thanks for sharing with us!

    avatar Saad says:

    Great Information about the bad links are discussed here.

    avatar krishna says:

    Hi Adreinne,

    That is a great tip especially for removing back links. Simple but very precise info… Thanks for sharing this one.


    avatar Max says:

    Thank’s for this great post!

    avatar Jeff says:

    Thank you for the very helpful posts. I use SPN’s updates as my guide in SEO practice.

    avatar Ferry says:

    Thank you very much for sharing information and articles related to cleaning up the bad backlinks

    avatar Tino Berita says:

    Thanks for sharing this information and artickle

    avatar Arun singh says:

    backlinks are very important but bad backlinks are very dangerous tooo.. it can ruin whole site.. thanks to share this topic

    Thank you for the great article as i have seen that bad links are bad for the site – are there any free tools like Majestic’s link profile tool out there?

    avatar Alan Gray says:

    Removing links can be very difficult. Contacting the people who put those links there isn’t easy, and if you have links from tens of thousands of sites, as we do, 99.999% of which you had no hand in doing, it is a never-ending job.

    There is one other important thing you can consider, Erin, if you have links that are bringing readers, but the site they are coming from has been penalized for some reason, or if you decide your only remaining option is to delete the page. If it is NOT the front page, you can rename the page, then work on your 401 or 410 page (I use 410 to tell the search engines to stop waiting to see if the page comes back)

    On the error page, with the right code, you can offer a link to the moved page, with some text telling the reader it might be the page they were looking for. That way, you don’t lose the traffic, unless they don’t bother to read your message.

    avatar Mitul says:

    This article point out the mistakes webmasters do in their link building practices. Thanks Erin for explaining them in this informative article.

    Nice article, but blog comments in related content is not spamming, but if you are doing blog comments with different theme blogs it is harmful for a website.

    avatar Ty Whalin says:

    The purpose of building links is to have as many as possible, but the key point being; the links need to be quality. You must maintain quality links, so if bad links are present ; then remove those bad links. If links are gained from sharing, then make sure the’re being shared from authoritative websites primarily for best results. It must be natural as well.

    Absolutely right @Whalin 🙂

    Its too time consuming to go over all your links and contact each individual webmasters. It looks like the easiest way is to disavow bad links with the Google tool.

    I really like this article. Thank You

    avatar James says:

    Interesting article, cleaning bad links is not easy but this article gives excellent insight. Thank you

    Interesting article. Bad links are definitely something to take seriously. Thanks for sharing.

    avatar Pabitra says:

    Great article about bad or spammy links.Bad Links are really dangerous. Every webmaster should take care their link profile.

    Personally i used Ahrefs site explorer to find out bad or spammy links and Disavow them.

    avatar Uda Awak says:

    Nice information for find and clean bad backlinks…Thanks.

    Hi Adrienne,

    You have written a relevant and highly useful article that explains how to remove bad links from a website.

    One thing I would like to add here is that after going through the exercise of removing the bad links as explained in your article, the webmaster should send a reconsideration request to Google for removing any manual spam action or penalty imposed on a website.


    avatar HanhLong says:

    Great article. I like this article.
    Thanks you so much.

    Great Information, i like very much you r article i want to take a good backlink , not a bad backlink. thank a lot

    avatar Holmes says:

    Why try to find bad links manually when you can simply make a 1 time pay to a service and get them found for you. Next, all you have to do is disavow them. Unless you got a manual penalty, in that case it will take you much more then that.
    Here’s some of the most popular services on the internet to find bad links automatically:
    and many many more.

    I really think that checking them by hand is a total waste of time you could rather invest in building good links instead. IMHO.

    avatar khach san says:

    I used Disavow tools on Majestic SEO and Ahrefs. It is very useful, not have to check like this post mentioned.
    But in this post, there are some tactics, it is so innovative.
    Thanks anyway for post.

    avatar haryono says:

    i think
    backlink is very useful but it can also be dangerous.

    avatar Rohan says:

    Great information in post admin!
    Keep posting such articles.

    avatar On ap lioa says:

    I simply could not depart your website before saying that I extremely loved the information you supply to your visitors? I will frequently check up on new posts.

    avatar coursecrown says:

    This is truly a great post. love to read your blogs.

    avatar On ap standa says:

    Good day very nice blog!! Beautiful .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your site. I am glad to find numerous useful info right here within the post, we want work out extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing..

    avatar says:

    backlink is very useful but it can also be dangerous

    avatar lioa says:

    A nice post. Thank you so much. Have a nice day…!!!

    Thank you for the very helpful posts. I use SPN’s updates as my guide in SEO practice.

    Great information in post admin!
    Keep posting such articles.

    avatar bơ đậu phộng says:

    Thanks for this great post!

    avatar Uda Awak says:

    Nice and meaningfull. Thans to share this article.

    I use ahrefs for backlink report and analyze them according to their metrics. After collecting bad link I just ause Google tool.

    avatar Seema says:

    This is a knowledgeable & helpful article.This is most reliable and appropriate article to SEO point of view.I can use these methods and gain our website performance.Thanks for sharing

    avatar Dgreat says:

    Hi Adrienne,

    Thanks of the detailed article. I’ve tried disavowing my bad backlinks but they kept coming back. Not sure how to fix the recurring issue?


    avatar Hadi Nugraha says:

    I have trouble with backlinks. Not backlinks I had created, but some blogs copied my whole blogs so that its links still pointing to my blog. What a meshes. My rankings drop so hard

    avatar ankeeta says:

    Well, Bad links are like an infected virus. Virus That makes our body unhealthy that’s how bad links do on websites.

    avatar dien hoa says:

    This is most reliable and appropriate article to SEO point of view.I can use these methods and gain our website performance.Thanks for sharing

    avatar Davya says:

    That is an amazing post.That blog help to make quality backlinks and avoid bad backlinks.Back Link is most important for SERP.thanks for sharing and improving my skill.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please leave these two fields as-is:

Protected by Invisible Defender. Showed 403 to 6,656,729 bad guys.