Toxic Links and your Backlink Profile

Disavow Toxic Backlinks

Through the years Search Engine Optimization has changed with the algorithm an unfathomed amount of times, and with every change comes a higher level of complexity to your search engine ranking. From meta descriptions, blogs, backlinks, and on page optimization, it can be rather difficult to stay on top of rules – and in turn on top of the search results.


Many companies are still using black hat tactics to create backlinks, which can actually harm your site rather than help it. The safest way to stay on top of the algorithm is to use a certified agency with white hat SEO strategies. This means regardless of the amount of keyword research or strategically placed anchor text, none of it will have a true effect unless you have a clean link building strategy.


In this short article we will cover the importance of controlling the toxicity level of your backlink profile, some free tools, and how to avoid them all together. 

What are toxic backlinks in SEO?

The toxicity level of backlinks is measured by a few different factors, and  those factors are never stagnant. Since the rules are changing with every update to the algorithm, it is important to be constantly checking your profile for any changes in your ranking. The first thing we would recommend is right from Google themselves, it reads:


“Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site.”


Though… This is still very broad. We generally want to avoid spammy links. Let’s break it down to further include what to look out for in your link profiles.


  • Websites built as link farms
  • Posting on sites with irrelevant topics
  • Sites that have been blacklisted or are not indexed by Google
  • Spam posting into blog comments
  • Hiding links in the footer of websites
  • Placing outgoing links to your site on every page of a client’s site


Now of course, there is much more to be aware of when it comes to bad links, but this is a good start to avoiding having an accidental negative impact on your site.

Does Google ignore toxic backlinks?

Okay so it turns out you hired a freelancer off Kijiji, who charged way less than all the other agencies. Problem is when reviewing your backlink profile you realize a good portion of the links were actually bad backlinks. Are these going to have a negative affect on your domain authority?


For the most part, they will not affect your authority score. In the past google used to actively punish you for a large build up of toxic links to your site. Though since the implementation of Penguin 4.0 they seemed to have changed their ways, simply just ignoring the toxic links all together.


This was mentioned in response to a tweet on social media to Google’s John Mueller, with the change being linked to the use of “SEO Bombing” competitive sites in order to lower your competitions ranking by linking them to a page with a high toxicity score.

What does this mean, should I ignore toxic links?

Not necessarily, a company as innovative as Google is sure to find a more permanent solution to deciphering where and how these links were created in the future, whether it is from types of anchor text or target keywords in your search console.


In my professional opinion, we suggest you continue to clean your backlinks and create a profile that ensures those that point to your site are quality backlinks only.

What are some free tools for bad backlinks checking?

When it comes to free tools for SEO, you have to be extremely careful in order to not have a bad outcome that will affect the user experience or organic traffic to your web page. The most important free tool is going to be Google Search Console. From here you can clean up your list by removing bad links by requesting Google to disavow the connection they have to your website.

How do I find my toxic links? Should I disavow them when I do?

Finding the links can be tricky, as depending on the tools used you may get different results. Luckily disavowing is generally a pretty inexpensive process and doesn’t take much time for a professional SEO specialist. Due to this we suggest leaving this to the experts, but if you MUST attempt to do this yourself it is always best practice to first contact the site moderators or owners first to have the link removed BEFORE using the google disavow tool.


We offer one free backlink audit for every company.  This will cover up to 150 toxic links. Get started by using our free website audit and we will send you a disavow file that you can input to your google search console to have them disavowed for free.

Should I Worry About My Backlink Profile in 2022?

While your backlink profile doesn’t carry as much weight these days when it comes to toxicity, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it all together. Giving more care to the quality of the links and relevance of sites that you choose to post on will give the links a higher score on google. So we still recommend giving priority to keyword research tools and using natural language in your blogs that will be of more value to both your clients, and the algorithm.


A few other tips to keep in mind:

  • onsite optimization is just as important as link building
  • don’t use transactional words as anchor text links
  • visual design of the site has to be balanced with SEO optimization


With that said, if you need any consultation or further help understanding this process or any other part of Search Engine Optimization – please don’t hesitate to reach out. Our goal as a business is to be able to bring value to the smaller companies that don’t have access to the tools of their multi billion dollar competitors, hopefully bringing some fairness to the market.


Shoot us an email or give us a call and we will gladly sit down for a free consultation. If the cost is too high, at least you will leave with knowledge of what has been done wrong, and what you can do right to improve your rankings even more.

Jordan Geske

CEO & Founder

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