Toxic Backlink Basics, Removal and Prevention, Part 1June 17, 2021
There are several ranking factors that play a major SEO role with Google and other search engines, and one of the single most important and consistent remains backlinks. The presence of high-quality links that signal domain authority to Google is absolutely vital within SEO efforts, but not all backlinks created can be of the same quality level.
At SEO Werkz, we’re proud to offer comprehensive SEO services, including link-building and other off-site optimization areas to assist with domain authority and visibility. In addition to helping you build and maintain quality links, we’ll help you avoid what are known as toxic backlinks – what are these, how do they compare to quality backlinks, and what can you do to ensure toxic backlinks are not an issue for you? This multi-part blog series will cover everything you need to know.
Understanding Quality Backlinks
Firstly, it’s important to understand what quality backlinks look like as a baseline. These links come from trusted, authoritative sites that have no intention of manipulating Google or other search engines, featuring relevant, unique content and generally given by choice. Essentially, you want someone to have found your content valuable to the point where they chose to link to it.
Solid, high-quality backlinks will serve several purposes. They will draw in major referral traffic for your site, plus will do so from trusted sources that work as votes of confidence. It’s important for these backlinks to be topical and line up directly with your own site’s content and marketing themes.
Understanding Toxic Backlinks
Toxic backlinks, on the other hand, refer to those that are either of low quality or, sadly common in the SEO world, attempting to mislead Google in some way. Such behaviors involve manipulating links to and from the site, plus related behaviors that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Want a little more detail? Here are some specific examples of qualities of toxic backlinks:
- Tracing back to sites that are only present for outbound links and nothing else
- Hidden in blog comments, website footers or other improper locations
- Tracing to sites and content that are not relevant
- Tracing to sites that are not indexed by Google
- Links existing on every single page on a given website
- Followed links are clearly marked as sponsored
Negative Impact of Toxic Backlinks
There are several potential negatives of toxic backlinks, which are policed to a much greater degree now than they would have been even a decade ago. Some of the possible results include:
- Manual action for unnatural links: When a human Google reviewer determines your links do not comply with guidelines and tags you.
- Links ignored: Google’s algorithms have become very good at ignoring unnatural links and will often simply fail to recognize toxic ones.
- Algorithmic filter: The most common result of toxic backlinks is when an algorithmic filter (or algorithmic penalty) is applied, adjusting your rankings after detecting unnatural links. You generally won’t receive a notification here and cannot file a reconsideration request.
For more on toxic backlinks and how to avoid them on your site, or to learn about any of our SEO services or PPC, web design and other online marketing solutions, speak to the staff at SEO Werkz today.