Backlinks are usually considered an important part of SEO but sometimes they can cause issues for your site. Disavowing toxic backlinks should be an integral part of your backlink strategy. By informing Google and other search engines that you don’t want them to consider certain links when they are crawling your site prevents your ranking from being damaged with SERPs. This is due to some of them being low quality or sometimes even spam.  Bad backlinks can be lifted from sites that have been created specifically for link or backlinks from sites that are clearly spam, as well as lifting links that are from non-target countries. Ensuring you have quality links stops Google from dropping your ranking due to what they consider spam. Understanding how and why to disavow toxic backlinks is crucial for your site’s SEO.

Site-Wide Links 

One of the most toxic forms of backlinks, site-wide links can significantly damage your SEO and cause a fall in rankings. Google will automatically penalise your site if it hosts even a few site-wide links from spammy sites, so being vigilant to disavow backlinks of this calibre is crucial.  A site-wide link that is poor for your site is one that has been replicated across a large number of pages from the same site. They are easy to spot as they will have absolutely no value for your content nor relevance to your subject matter.  Site-wide links work on the premise that more root domains that link to your domain are better for your SEO than having fewer root domains linking to your domain. Not all site-wide links are created equal and some can benefit your site if they are an authority in their subject and considered trustworthy by Google. 

Link Networks 

Out of all toxic backlinks, link networks are some of the easiest to spot. Link networks can be developed from architected blogs and forums due to the ease of replication. Using link networks try to appear legitimate and they can be found within blog posts or forum threads.  Despite this, link network managers very rarely make an effort in creating link generation for these blog posts meaning that every post has none or a small number of backlinks directing you to them. Another key way of spotting a link network is that it links out to at least two money sites.  To find these links, filter your backlinks in blog posts and forum thread links that are positioned in the content and have a low metric, with a low number of incoming links to the backlink in question.  To quickly identify backlinks that may be link networks, compare your site to your competitors and see if there are any differences between the backlink profiles of your sites. Compare metric distributions like link and domain influence or trust flow. These will help you root out link networks and disavow toxic backlinks from your site. 

Blog Comments

Comments on platforms usually suggest organic engagement and good reach for your site. However, they don’t always bring the attention that you want or deserve. Some blog comments are subject to a process known as spamdexing. This is where comments are left on sites and are stuffed with keywords to try and achieve a higher ranking on SERPs.  Most sites mark there comments as nofollow so Google won’t index them and they won’t be penalised by people spamming your comments section. It is easy to find both nofollow and dofollow links that are generated from blog comments. Commenters who are spamming your comments will leave commentary that has nothing to do with the blog that they are commenting under. 

Footer Links

While footer links began as a legitimate source of backlinking, they’ve now become an issue. These links can now warp your analysis and don’t provide any value for your SEO. Google counts a link form as one and, if they see multiple links from the same domain, they might still only see them as one link.  Having a high number of footer links raises issues with Google as they are usually from sites that are involved in link exchange schemes, clients that link back to you, partners of your business, or have plugins installed for SERPs to be manipulated and influenced.  If you have some links in your footer, Google shouldn’t penalise you but if you have the majority of your links in the footer, then there will be an issue with your ranking. 

Blogrolls and Other Blocks of Links 

A blogroll is a list of links the blogger likes and wants to share with their audience. They’re typically found in the sidebar for easy access, but they have been abused and now cause issues for SEO. Something to be aware of when running a website is that blogrolls that contain widgets that are installed by webmasters to place links that directly benefit them. Google penalises sites that host too many of these links by analysing the pattern of the links with its algorithm.  Another thing to ensure that isn’t on your site to prevent penalisation is advanced link widget networks. These can be listed as site-wide links which can cause horrific damage to your ranking on SERPs as they will be flagged much faster. Having a blogroll on your site is fine as long as it is integrated correctly into your link profile.  Ensure that you analyse your metrics often to ensure that your site isn’t carrying low influence links and few referring domains. Google sees this as a sign of toxic backlinks and considers their backlinks to be spam.  Disavow toxic backlinks like these by submitting a disavow file to Google to ensure they don’t index your site and cause you to lose ranking.

Disavow Toxic Backlinks for Better SEO 

Committing to identifying and removing toxic backlinks from your site will only benefit your site’s rankings and develop its SEO. Low-quality links take away authority from your site and can harm SERPs recommending your site, service and/or products to potential visitors and customers. If you can, manually remove links but, if that isn’t possible, use Google’s Disavow tool to see your site’s SEO improve. 

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