Backlinks are the backbone for all SEO activity. It’s one of the most important aspects of this strategy and effort. Adequate backlink-building strategy and effort can give any website a good boost and improve its ranking. But building backlinks is a difficult process that can cause damage if not properly handled. This is closely connected to toxic backlinks that a website can accumulate. Knowing about them and managing a backlink portfolio without them is important. Understanding toxic backlinks and why we should avoid toxic backlinks is the first step to managing a healthy backlink portfolio. Aside from being able to hire the Link Department to properly manage them, common users must have basic knowledge about this issue.
Definition of toxic backlinks
Whenever a webpage acquires a backlink from a low authority or spammy website it essentially has a toxic backlink. These do not contribute to ranking and can even cause harm. The key to backlink building is to get the links that will make the website more authoritative. In practice, it’s not that easy. Sites do get toxic backlinks that have the opposite effect.
This may happen as a result of a regular backlink activity that went wrong. In these cases, you acquire both good and toxic backlinks unknowingly. It may also occur organically or as a result of malicious competitor activity. You may also buy them or acquire them in a way that is against the rules. Whatever their source, each website must take care to clean them up. So, it’s important to perform a periodical audit of your backlinks portfolio. It can determine the quality of your backlinks and help identify toxic ones. Their negative impact is why you should take immediate action to handle them.
Impact of toxic backlinks
The first impact of toxic backlinks is the fact that they do not offer any value to your website or your customers. They do not add any authority to your webpage. So, getting a toxic backlink becomes a waste of time, money, energy, and all other resources. But also they can get you in trouble with the search engines.
Toxic backlinks can trigger regular audits from search engines and get you penalized. For example, Google uses these backlinks to determine the value and authority of a website. So, it performs regular analyses of webpage backlinks and tries to crack down on any black hat SEO tactics and manipulative link building. Once it finds a toxic backlink on a webpage it can issue a penalty to the webpage. There are two types of penalties that Google can issue:
- Penguin penalty and
- Manual penalty.
An automatic response from google comes in form of the Penguin algorithm. This is an automated system that targets low-quality backlinks. Since its introduction, the algorithms is getting more and more refined. Now it can easily detect any link-building scheme. Once it spots a toxic backlink it issues a penalty without any human influence. With its further development dealing with toxic backlinks in 2021 is becoming even more important.
Google also employs a lot of manpower into auditing web pages. Its webspam team can issue a manual action against the webpage. These types of penalties do not happen on a regular basis. They are usually implemented when Google changes its policies and algorithms. But they are also implemented whenever a webpage regularly employs black hat tactics. Also if it catches a webpage employing toxic backlinks more than once it can issue a manual penalty.
Damage that penalties cause
Due to the damage these penalties cause, avoiding them is of paramount importance. This is the main reason why we should avoid toxic backlinks altogether and filter them out. This impact they cause is wide and has many forms.
The Penguin penalty can cause a big drop in the ranking of the website. The penalty decreases the site’s rank removing it from the top of search results. In turn, this causes a webpage to become less visible and harder to find. As a result, the incoming traffic decreases, revenue, and websites profits can plummet. The good thing is that this penalty is confined to certain web pages and not the domain.
In addition, if Google detects a black hat practice and use of toxic backlinks on a webpage it can also issue a manual penalty from human reviewers. These can be even harder and tougher to recover from. Manual action often gets the domain completely removed from search engine results making them invisible. In this case, any SEO activity is foiled. The results of this kind of penalty are long-term and create a longstanding bad effect. Most websites never recover their previous page rank and most only return around 60% of their rank.
How to avoid toxic backlinks
Once it’s clear what is their impact and why we should try to avoid them let’s research more about how to do that. With the development of googles tools dealing with toxic backlinks becomes more important every day. In 2022 a large part of any SEO effort must deal with toxic backlinks.
First, we have to discover these links before they cause you to get a penalty. So an SEO expert must use some automated audit tools that can help root them out. The second step is to make a remove list. Links on this list must be removed one way or the other. You can first try to contact the admins of spam sites and have them removed. If this doesn’t give results you can always disavow them.
However, remedying this issue is not the answer. You must develop ways that will prevent toxic backlinks from becoming a part of your portfolio. The use of audit tools makes it easy to analyze the backlink portfolio in advance. They allow us to spot the problems and resolve them before they cause problems. In this way, we are protecting our rank and authority with search engines in advance. Further development of SEO strategies and tactics in 2022 should be aimed toward dealing with toxic backlinks to a greater degree.
New development of tools that search engines use makes it a priority to deal with toxic backlinks. These are becoming more sensitive and it’s increasingly important to protect and clean your backlink portfolio. So, first, we clearly have to understand why to avoid toxic backlinks. After that, we must learn how to deal with them and manage a clean portfolio.