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Toxic Backlinks: Learn How Dangerous They Are for SEO

Last updated: Jun 12, 2023

What Are Toxic Backlinks?

Toxic backlinks are links that come from websites with bad reputations, are usually of low quality, and violate Google's guidelines and policies.

These backlinks can worsen SERP rankings and negatively affect a website's authority and credibility.

When bad links are found by Google Penguin, it results in a penalty. Google Penguin itself is updating the ranking algorithm on Google.

How Toxic Backlinks Are Formed

In most cases, the formation of low quality backlinks does not originate from the website owner himself. They are often formed unintentionally or because of manipulative practices by others.

A toxic backlink is usually formed from automated link building practices, black hat SEO, or negative SEO. To avoid this incident, website owners must periodically audit their backlinks.

There are several ways to find out about toxic and low-quality backlinks on a website. Here's how to find out:

  1. There is a warning from Google Webmaster Tools regarding the emergence of bad backlinks originating from a website.
  2. A sudden decrease in organic traffic due to indications that there are low quality backlinks from Google Penguin.

Characteristics of Toxic Backlinks

Bad backlinks who are mostly deemed of low quality have several identifiable characteristics. The following are common characteristics among them:

1. Derived from Spam Websites

Spam websites are usually untrusted or have a bad reputation. Examples of spam websites are websites with illegal content or websites that are involved in crime. Websites like this will be detected as dangerous by Google's algorithms.

2. Automated Link Building

Automated link building is a service that promises to quickly create thousands of backlinks. However, most of the backlinks generated are of low quality, irrelevant, and come from spam websites. This condition can trigger the formation of these low quality backlinks.

3. Links from Private Blog Network

Links originating from Private Blog Networks (PBN) are often considered toxic because they violate the guidelines and policies of search engines such as Google.

PBNs are private blog networks that are owned or managed by individuals or groups with the aim of manipulating rankings on search results pages.

Negative Impact of Toxic Backlinks

The existence of toxic and low-quality backlinks on a website can have various negative impacts, especially on SERP rankings and website reputation.

The following are some of the negative impacts that may occur, including:

1. Penalized by Google

In 2012, Google introduced an algorithm called Google Penguin to fight web spam. The existence of this algorithm is expected to create optimal search results for users through high-quality content.

Google Penguin will perform an analysis of the website. If a website is found to have toxic and low-quality backlinks, the Google Penguin Update will penalize the website.

The ranking of the penalized website will drop in the SERP. It is possible that the content will be found until it is removed from the search index.

2. Organic Traffic Decreasing

Websites that are found to have a lot of bad backlinks will get a penalty in the form of a decrease in ranking on the SERP. In addition, credibility and user trust in the website. This can have an impact on decreasing organic traffic.

How to Fix Toxic Backlinks

Like a disease, websites that are found to have toxic and low-quality backlinks must be addressed immediately to avoid a more dangerous situation. To overcome this, you can use the following methods:

1. Backlink Audit

A backlink audit is an evaluation of all links that point to a website to identify backlinks that are considered toxic and of low quality. Backlink audits can be performed using analytics tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Moz.

2. Contact the Website Owner

After identifying backlinks that are considered toxic and of low quality, contact the relevant website owner. Submit a request to remove the backlinks. Provide clear information about backlinks that need to be removed.

3. Getting Rid of Toxic Links

Removing toxic links can be done manually or using the Google Disavow Tool. The Google Disavow Tool is a disavow tool provided by Google to inform Google that you do not want to be associated with links that are considered toxic or irrelevant.

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