How to remove toxic backlinks?

Toxic backlinks are links from other websites that can weaken your website’s SEO. That of course is terrible since weaker SEO means less organic visitors and you want them definitely. This is especially bad for your sales team. Very often it’s no one’s fault as they can happen organically. Sometimes they are the result of bad research. No matter the reason they appear, you need to remove toxic backlinks. Not just in your newest posts, but in all of them. That might mean you will be spending a lot of time retracing your steps but it’s very important for your website to get rid of them. And you can always count on the help of our experts at the Link Department for additional information.

How to know if your backlinks are toxic?

Toxic backlinks will show signs of low quality. You need to know the value of your backlinks. They can also look like an attempt to manipulate rankings (which is very bad) such as:

  • if they are coming from the site that has been set up with the sole purpose of linking out
  • if they are coming from the sites where the topics are not relevant for you
  • coming from the sites that aren’t indexed by Google, that can also be a red flag

A link coming from a not-so-trusted website will always be discovered. Of course, if you discover it first you are good, but if Google discovers it first you will have some problems and setbacks.

Recognizing bad websites

Knowing how to recognize bad websites will help you in the future. Here is how you will recognize red flags for bad websites :

  • not mobile-friendly
  • too much text
  • no Whitespace
  • no clear user journey
  • high bounce rate
  • low monthly website visitors
  • poor ranking for organic keywords

All those are serious red flags that Google will notice right away and mark as a bad website. You don’t want that site to be linked to yours.

working together as a group to remove toxic backlinks
Don’t worry you can learn this easily and that way you will be able to remove toxic backlinks in the future.

Just how bad can toxic backlinks be?

Toxic backlinks are bad enough to hurt your SEO. Also, they can hurt your ratings and sales too. So, keep that in mind when you are linking anything. Toxic backlinks can harm your rank but they can also lead to certain penalties from search engines so beware. If you plan on having backlinks and you should of course you need to double-check the link and the website itself in order to avoid any problems in the future.

How will you remove toxic backlinks?

The most important thing is of course understanding what makes a backlink “toxic”, after that it’s just a technical part. In some cases, you will only need to delete it or in some, you will need to contact the webmaster and request removal. You will also need to create a submit a “disavow” file to Google in order to ignore those backlinks.

Tool for removing bad links

You can use Health Plan to quickly identify backlinks coming from Link Networks. If you use a couple of filters and of course cognitiveSEO it will be easy for you to find bad backlinks easily. There is a variety of helpful tools available nowadays. Those tools are specially made for copywriters to help them out with this problem or any similar ones.

Making sure that your backlinks are ok in the future

As we previously stated the most important thing is knowing what makes a link “toxic”. The same goes for spammy links. They are all bad in their own way. Make sure to check out the website and the link first, see if they fit in that “red flag” alerts. If they do – avoid them. Make sure that all the copywriters know about this too. One bad backlink is enough so you all need to be on the same page.

working on a website
Knowing how backlinks work will help your ratings a lot.

Backlinks can hurt SEO

Backlinks are very important to SEO. They can really increase the number of visitors to your website. You obviously know that by now since you are doing all you can to avoid any mistakes. Backlinks are usually good things, sometimes they can even be great but if you get too many toxic backlinks that will hurt your SEO very much. They affect your site’s SEO and the value on which Google places them. Search engines use backlinks as some sort of indication of quality so a site with many high-value backlinks will be ranked better.

Avoid this

Some links should be avoided, or at least double-checked before using :

  • Purchased links (Google hunts down everyone buying links and are known to penalize sites found doing so)
  • PBN’s (private blog networks) – especially if they sell link space
  • Spammy blogs with spammy comments
  • Sponsored posts without full disclosure – because they have too little or even no editorial control at all

You need backlinks in order to rank well your website and that’s a fact. Everyone knows this. But it’s better to have no backlinks at all than to have toxic backlinks. That can be harmful to your website and rating, or worst expelled! This is a Harry Potter joke written solely for the Millenials. But we will let jokes aside for now, because penalties from Google are no a laughing matter at all.

man researching toxic backlinks
Hopefully, now you will know what to avoid in the future.


Everything can get fixed and there is always a way to remove toxic backlinks. Education is the key and now you know everything so you can go and check your backlinks. Also from now on, you should check everything before publishing. By that time the damage can already be done so think ahead and plan everything. It’s good for the future of your website that you are investing time in education in this field since this is becoming a very big problem for many. Hopefully, you will know now all the ways to avoid this problem and you won’t be spending time fixing mistakes anymore. Good luck and hopefully your website will be highly ranked soon enough!

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