To obtain a good SEO profile and a good link profile, you must seek to have a maximum of interesting backlinks while tolerating those that are not very interesting. But it is also necessary to avoid at all costs the dubious and toxic backlinks, under penalty of ruining your work of natural reference. In this article, we will therefore see how you can actively detect and get rid of these bad backlinks…
There are 4 types of links:
- Interesting backlinks for your natural referencing (those we are targeting!);
- Backlinks that are not very interesting (because they are on a site with a different theme, for example) but which are authentic;
- Dodgy backlinks (which usually come from sites that simply gather content from other creators in an attempt to garner traffic);
- The toxic backlinks (spam and others) that you don’t want to have.
To detect any toxic links on your site, go to the Google Search Console (GSC). In the left column, click on “Links”.
This page lists all the links (internal and external) that Google has detected for your website.
Click on the “More” button in “Main origin sites” to display only the domain names on which these external links are found.
In this list, you will now look for all the sites that seem suspicious to you, namely:
- Websites that have republished existing articles in which you appear;
- Websites with lots of redirects;
- Websites that are only advertisements (they usually have a dozen pop-ups that will jump on you!);
- Some clearly inappropriate content (I once came across a link from an adult video site).
The different methods to get rid of toxic links
Once your toxic links are clearly identified, two methods are available to you to try to get rid of them.
1- Request deletion
The first method consists in going directly to request its deletion from the website in question. For that, you have to look for a possible contact form or their “legal notices” page which should legally appear somewhere. In it, you should find the contact details of the person responsible for writing the content.
That said, as most of the time these are half-fraudulent sites, you may not find any contact form or legal notices. And the few times you find contact information, no one will answer you.
If so, go straight to the second technique.
2- Disavow the link
The second method that we find almost everywhere consists of telling Google that we want disavow certain links.
The problem with this method is that disavowing links is reserved for people who have received a manual penalty from the Google teams towards their site, as they made it clear in 2012 when creating the tool.
To find out if you are subject to a manual action, go back to the GSC, then in the left menu click on “Manual Actions” in the “Security and Manual Actions” category. You will have your answer.
In short, you will have understood it, it is very complicated to get rid of a toxic backlink if it is not the subject of a manual action.
But in the end, is it really useful?
Do you really have to get rid of toxic backlinks?
With the lack of possible options offered by Google, we are entitled to ask ourselves: do they really want us to be able to get rid of our toxic backlinks? And if not, why?
A first element of response is offered to us by a Google employee, John Mueller on Reddit. According to him, the concept of “toxic links” is only there to sell SEO tools and he recommends not to dwell on it.
And that seems logical. Some SEO software manages to calculate this “toxicity coefficient”, so Google must certainly be able to do this too. And their teams must realize that these links happen without much being done. Why should we be penalized?
Gary Illyes, another member of the Google teams, confirms this in a facebook chat. He explains that with the arrival of version 4.0 of Penguin, Google will no longer lower the Page Rank of a site if it has toxic backlinks, but only ignore these links and not take them into account.
What should you do now?
The first thing to do is to see if you are under manual action.
- If so, do some research on toxic links, request that they be removed, and disavow them. Note that Google will not tell you exactly which links are problematic. It’s up to you to audit your backlinks to find out what’s wrong. This article from Semrush can help you;
- If not, then do nothing. Google and Penguin already take care of ignoring any poor quality backlinks pointing to your site.
#rid #toxic #backlinks