In recent times, concerns about toxic backlinks have increased among SEO professionals, due to the damage they can bring to a website’s reputation.
When a website links to yours, it is a sign that it considers its content valuable enough to be shared with its own audience.
Google and other search engines recognize this vote of confidence, which can increase your site’s ranking. Low-quality links work the other way around.
For this reason, many SEO professionals covet backlinks – those links from other sites to yours, as part of their Off-Page SEO strategies. Only it is not a question of quantity of links, but of quality.
One of the great myths about SEO is that all links are useful for creating a website’s reputation and improving its positioning on Google’s response pages.
Some are what we classify as bad or even “toxic” backlinks for the positioning of a website in Google search, and should be avoided.
But after all, how to define what are good links and toxic links? How to identify them? Which ones are worth keeping and which ones to eliminate?
In this article we will show you the difference between these two links and what you should do to keep your website’s reputation high by eliminating toxic backlinks.
What are good backlinks?
Let’s start with a definition of “a good backlink”, one that can help put your website in a prominent position in the SERPs of major search engines.
According to the Google Search Console Help Center, a good backlink has the following characteristics:
- It comes from a reliable site – A good backlink is that which comes from a site that has a high Domain Authority, with a good reputation among the search engines and users of these sites;
- It is relevant – This is sometimes called an editorial, related or natural link. For example, a link from an article on hiking to a product page for hiking boots is relevant and editorial.
- It has traffic potential – It is another type of link that we consider valuable for your site, as it can send traffic to your site, even if it does not depend on its position on the answer pages of the major search engines.
- It is not artificial – Finally, one of the characteristics of a good backlink is that it is obtained due to the quality of the content on your website and not to any other linking scheme.
The best way to get other sites to create relevant, high-quality links for you is to create unique and relevant content that can naturally gain popularity in the online universe.
Creating good content pays off: links are usually editorial votes given by choice, and the more content you have, the greater the chance that someone will find that content valuable to your readers and link to it.
What are toxic backlinks?
The toxic backlinks are the exact opposite good backlinks. In addition to not doing anything to improve the positioning of your pages on Google, they can even harm.
Toxic backlinks are like weeds that stick to a tree. They contribute nothing to its growth, and quite the contrary, they suck the sap from the tree until they end up killing it. They are parasites that harm your website.
Contrary to what we saw in the previous example, toxic backlinks have the following characteristics:
- It comes from an untrustworthy website – The website may have been built exclusively for generating external links. They are usually sites with content full of links on all pages, including comments.
- Not relevant – Imagine an investment article that directs you to a product page for hiking boots. The link makes little sense in the context of the semantic field of the destination site, and is therefore considered a toxic backlink.
- It has little potential for traffic – As toxic backlinks are usually created on websites managed by robots, it is to be expected that very few real clicks done by people, will come from these links.
- It is artificial – The link was created only to increase the ranking of a website on search engine. The link can be paid, on a private blog network, or reciprocal, as examples.
One or two of these toxic backlinks are likely to be harmless to your website’s reputation. However, several, together, can damage your website’s backlink profile.
How to Exclude Toxic Backlinks
There are two different ways for you to ask Google to disregard these links that are hurting your ranking.
The first of these is to contact the publisher of the website that is linking to you, and that you have classified as a toxic link, and request that the link be removed, or that the Nofollow tag be applied to the link.
Also Read: How To Remove A Page From Google’s Index?
The problem with this method is that the site that is generating toxic backlinks to your domain is often a robot, and obviously will not read your link removal request email.
The second option is to remove these links through the Google Search Console’s own Disallow Tool, indicating the bad links that you want to be ignored by Google’s algorithm when calculating the relevance of your site.
The process of disregarding these links is not fast, so monitor your Search Console to see when the bounce list has been accepted, and from that date, pay attention to the results.