How do You Prevent Toxic Backlinks?
One of the worst things that can happen to search engine rankings is toxic backlinks connected to your site.
You should know what toxic backlinks are, how to prevent them, and how to get rid of them.
Of course, you first need to find the toxic backlinks, something you can do through backlink analysis, using various SEO tools.
What is a Toxic Backlink?
A toxic backlink is a type of backlink that, instead of positively influencing your SEO ratings so that your site appears high among search results, does the exact opposite. Toxic backlinks can occur for several reasons. So, what does a search engine like Google consider to be a toxic backlink?
- If the link comes from a website specifically designed for linking out to other sites, usually for monetary purposes
- If the link comes from a website that is not reputable
- If the backlink has been forced into blog comments
- If the backlink has been forced into the footer of a website
- If it comes from a website that has not been indexed by Google
- If the backlink exists on all of the pages on a site
- If excessive exact match anchor texts have been used
You should avoid these things to prevent your website from suffering due to toxic backlinks.
How to Prevent Toxic Backlinks
Here are some of the best tips you can follow to prevent having toxic backlinks on your website. We will also cover some tips on removing or disavowing toxic backlinks, so they do not negatively affect your rankings.
Avoiding Paid Links
In terms of SEO purposes, something to avoid on your website is paid links − any link that has been added to pay for sponsorship fees for guest posts, the gifting of products, etc.
When there is a lot of money involved in the exchange of backlinks, it will most likely violate Google’s terms.
Links that are purposed to generate revenue, and have not been inserted for editorial value, will be considered toxic. If you need to put links like this on your site, make sure that you tag them as “NoFollow,” which will negate their toxicity.
Avoiding Exact Match Anchor Text Links
If you insert links into an exact match keyword and very keyword-rich anchor text, it may be viewed as toxic. Keyword stuffing is always an issue that newbies to SEO face and the backlinking only makes things worse.
If you use keyword-rich anchor text to anchor backlinks, you may get flagged. These are often viewed as toxic, mainly when the links have been used for revenue-generating instead of editorial purposes.
Avoid Backlinks from Spun Content
Article spinning used to be popular, and to some extent, it still is. A spun article occurs when an original article has been inserted into a so-called article spinner − software that acts almost like a thesaurus and automatically re-writes articles with different words to make the article look different in terms of SEO − while avoiding any hard work.
More or less, it’s an easy way to almost copy and paste an article and make it look different enough from the original to be beneficial for SEO. The problem with article spinning is that the software used to do so is never acceptable, and search engines like Google can always tell when article spinning software has been used. The bottom line is that adding backlinks into a spun article is not beneficial.
Avoid Links in Comments
You may have tried putting links into the comments section of other blogs and forums in the past to build more backlinks from other sites.
It may seem like an easy way to create good backlinks without asking anybody to do so. However, Google will almost always view backlinks placed in comments sections as toxic, mainly if it views your comments as spam. This is something to avoid in order to prevent toxic backlinks.
Removing Toxic Backlinks
To remove toxic backlinks (backlinks leading from other sites to yours), you will need to use SEO tools.
Various backlink analysis tools will allow you to see and analyze all of the backlinks leading to your site. From there, you can disavow those links on Google − i.e., tell Google that those links are not legit and that you do not want them being connected to your site.
With a good SEO tool, you can create a disavow file that will negate the toxic backlink. This process is a bit more complicated than we made it out to be, so we recommend doing a bit of research on disavowing these backlinks.
There you have it − how to identify, avoid, and remove toxic backlinks so your website can be as SEO friendly as possible.