How to Remove Toxic Backlinks with Disavow Lists
Trying your very best to speed along the highways of the search engine algorithm, but you still feel like something’s dragging you down? Toxic backlinks might be the anchor to your SEO battleship.
Why should you remove toxic backlinks? Well, it’s a bit like having a well-oiled engine and a sparkly car, but your back tires are full of holes. You’re looking great on the surface, but you’re not going anywhere.
Let’s begin by covering the basics:
What is a Backlink?
You may have been introduced to backlinks under one of their alternative names, inbound or incoming links; these are probably the most common stand-ins. Don’t worry. They all refer to the same thing.
That same thing is a link from one website to another; it is as simple as that, folks! You may have done so indirectly when adding content to your site by giving credit for an image you have used or linking out to a supporting article in a blog post.
You might be thinking, ‘okay, cool, so why does this matter, and how can they affect our site’?
Well, search engines like Google or Bing detect backlinks when they crawl web pages and consider them when determining where your content will rank. It’s another method for search engines to vet your site and ensure that the content is mucho Bueno.
When more and more good quality websites link to your post or page, the more likely search engines will view this as a great endorsement of the content. In turn, they will want your content to rank higher as this will provide the most relevant content or products and services to their users.
So, it should be a vital section within your SEO strategy that can often be simplified as ‘Link Building’. You may have had an email from someone claiming to be a professional link builder, and they weren’t pulling your leg. It’s crucial that some large companies and agencies hire link builders to monitor their backlinks and or reach out to build their backlink strategy.
What Makes a Backlink Toxic?
As with the good on the internet, there will always come those who try to ruin it for the rest of us. Often referred to as a ‘black hat’ SEO tactic, wherein a user will create a backlink to unethically manipulate search engines to increase their rankings for nefarious purposes.
Toxic backlinks are defined by the search engine when they crawl your site. It’s not widely known how they determine or calculate toxicity, but we have learned a fair thing or two about what generally makes a backlink toxic in the eyes of search engines.
Don’t cha know that you’re toxic?
No, I’m afraid that the very polite email you received from [email protected] doesn’t really have any good quality backlinks they can offer for £5.99.
More than likely, they will sell you links from spammy or malicious sites and disappear like a lukewarm fart in the wind. Buying links, in general, is a pretty bad idea; for example, Google strongly looks down on those who buy links instead of building them organically. When buying links, you’re actively batting against their PageRank algorithm, which will effectively leave you dead in the eyes of Google.
Avoid paid link schemes entirely; they’ve been around since the dawn of SEO, and search engines have been aware of them for a long, long time. Paid link schemes are essentially just bundles or one-time deals of less than quality, backlinks that help you shoot up the rankings very quickly.
Another old black hat trick is to hide backlinks from users and search engines. This was done by manipulating the backlink’s colour, size, and shape, and it’s a complete violation of Google’s policies. So please don’t do it, not that we think you would, but don’t try and outsmart the Google Gods.
So, to wrap it up, toxic backlinks are links from one very dodgy and untrustworthy site to another.
Good, standard or safe backlinks, whatever you want to call them, are essentially a link from one healthy secure site to another healthy secure site. That’s all we can say, as with toxic backlinks, the details of how search engines determine whether a link is good or toxic are not publicly known.
We would recommend, though, following some basic guidelines for maintaining a healthy and quality site. Spend some time ensuring that your Domain Authority is high and that your backlinks come from sites that relate to your content and industry.
Simply put, use your keen judgement and some investigative tools to determine whether you want to keep some of your backlinks.
How you can find your Toxic Backlinks
Now, it’s time to go backlink hunting! Every SEO professional has their own method of tracking their backlinks and preferred weaponry for taking down some big backlink game!
You could do it manually through Google Analytics and spend hours upon hours of laborious monotony, or you could do it easily with our DIY SEO platform.
The dedicated backlinks section of the software will detect your existing backlinks, provide backlink opportunities for your link building strategy and has the ability for a regular backlink health check, so you can stay up to date and remove toxic backlinks when they pop up.
How to create and submit a Disavow List to remove toxic backlinks
It’s not as intimidating as it seems, so don’t worry. In this instance, we’ll use our DIY SEO platform to show you how.
Review your Backlink Healthcheck
Once you’re all set up and running with our platform, your backlink health check is the first place to start.
Here, you will see a list of your pending backlinks, all ranked by their authority score—one being the most toxic and ten being the goodest of the good.
Move your pending Backlinks to Keep Or Disavow
Run through your backlinks, expand them if you are unsure and click ‘Keep’ on the good backlinks and ‘Disavow’ on those no-good, rotten toxic backlinks.
Export and review your Disavow List.
Do not adjust your screen; this is how simple the format for disavowing lists is—just a list of domains or URLs structured in a row.
So, now you have your list, review it, double-check it and make sure that the formatting is correct before you upload it.
Armed with an accurate Disavow list of your toxic backlinks, your next stop is the ‘Disavow Link Google Dev Tool’.
In the ‘Google Dev Tool,’ you simply need to select your website’s Search Console property and press ‘Upload Disavow List’.
Hey presto, you’re done! Backlinks from these domains or specific URLs will be processed and ignored when Google next crawls your site. Please note that we highly recommend only submitting a small number of toxic backlinks, if you have a lot of them, as taking away so many backlinks from your site at one time can affect your SEO and overall domain authority.
Now you’ve had a glimpse of what our platform can do, why not try it out for yourself? Schedule a free demo of our DIY SEO platform today.
Alternatively, speak with one of our SEO specialists and book a free consultation to discuss our range of Digital Marketing services.