Toxic Backlink Basics, Removal and Prevention, Part 2

In part one of this multi-part blog series, we went over some of the broad basics on toxic backlinks within the world of search engine optimization (SEO). While quality backlinks will have a major impact on SEO efforts, toxic backlinks are of lower quality and will often directly damage your campaign in multiple ways.

At SEO Werkz, we’re here to help with numerous SEO services, including link-building and other off-page optimization areas. We’ve assisted many clients with avoiding or removing previous toxic backlinks and replacing them with quality, authoritative link sources. Today’s part two of our series will go into some of the tactics we recommend against when it comes to ensuring toxic backlinks don’t crop up in the first place, then some tips for testing to determine if any of your current links are toxic.

Avoiding Toxic Backlinks

Link-building is a complex field that often involves several different tactics considered. However, some of these will increase your risk of building toxic backlinks that are damaging to your site and its reputation with Google. These include:

  • Exact match: Links using what’s known as exact match anchor text, where the anchor text is a precise match of the keywords you’re trying to rank the page for, will be recognized by Google as unnatural and considered toxic.
  • PBN: This stands for private blog network, and it’s a big no-no in the SEO world. These are sites or groups of sites that exist solely to link outward, often created using expired and repurposed domains. While such creators will try to hide these from Google, they have become better and better at finding and penalizing them severely.

toxic backlink removal prevention

  • Paid links: If you pay money for a link, you are violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and will be penalized.
  • Spam comments: A tactic once used in the Wild West of early SEO, finding links in comment spam is now an infraction and will provide no value – plus will often penalize you via Google.
  • Spun content: When numerous versions of the same general article are written, using small variations with links everywhere.
  • Others: There are several other tactics we’ll help you avoid, including low-quality directory submissions, improper guest posting and widget links.

Revealing Toxic Backlinks

Are you unsure if toxic backlinks might already be present on your site? Here’s a quick process for testing this:

  • Set up a site audit for the root domain page.
  • During the audit, you’ll have to connect to Google Search Console.
  • Upon audit completion, you’ll get an overview that includes general backlink health.
  • One of the metrics present will be “overall toxic score,” which is important here. If this is high enough, you’ll need to move further.
  • Moving from the highest toxic score on down, you can audit and remove toxic backlinks, plus whitelist others you want to keep. More on toxic backlink removal in part three of our series.

For more on link-building and removal of toxic backlinks, or to learn about any of our SEO, PPC, web design or other services, speak to the staff at SEO Werkz today.

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