How To Clean Up Your Bad Backlinks

Improving your SEO strategy is impossible without backlinks. They are a valuable signal for Google because the search engine uses backlinks as flags for reliable and high-quality content. The more backlinks a website earns, the more valued it is by Google. This leads to better search results, higher ranking, and more visitors. However, not all backlinks bring positive scores to your website. Some of them actually earn negative points and hurting your SEO. Luckily, you can implement a couple of methods to get rid of those and make your SEO as successful as possible. Let’s proceed to the best ways to clean up your bad backlinks.

The first step – identification

To remove bad backlinks, you need to identify them and distinguish them from beneficial ones. Bad links are those that don’t work and the ones you might get penalties from Google for. Let’s go through the most common types.

analyzing numbers on a website
Analyze the website before you clean up your bad backlinks.

Low-authority websites

Any questionable website that links to your pages may hurt your SEO. When it comes to building backlinks, the goal is to get links from websites with higher domain authority, not lower. Use online tools to compare the scores of your website to any other you might find problematic.

Social Bookmarking

Social Bookmarking websites are great, but using them too often will hurt your ranking. Popular social bookmarking websites include Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, etc. The problem is the manual submission of links to these websites, which is not something Google will appreciate.

Forum Links

Too many forum links on your website will decrease your rankings. Even though these are not necessarily bad, they may come from low authority websites and look like spam to Google.

Press release links

With press release links, you can expect no positive points from Google. The reason is that they are way too easy to get, so Google doesn’t find them valuable for users.

Other harmful links

There are several different types of links you should avoid on your website. When you try to clean up your bad backlinks, pay attention to nofollow links, blog comments, private blogs, automatic link buildings, foreign language websites, bad or forbidden websites. Generally, strive to remove all the links that are not relevant to your website and niche.

a person using a laptop
It takes some time and effort, but cleaning up toxic links gives excellent results.

Steps to clean up your bad backlinks

As you can see, there are many types of links that might hurt your SEO and minimize your efforts to make the website valuable. This way, your SEO strategy will make more sense and give better results.

Find out the sources

Toxic links are not easy to find if you don’t use the right tools. You can use several apps to analyze your website, monitor the backlinks, and flag the ones that don’t fit in. These apps will help you get this data and sort which websites are not welcome on the website.

Contact the webmasters

Even though the least successful method, this is something you need to try. Contact the webmaster and ask them to remove the problematic link. This step is strongly recommended by Google and is something you should do before trying other methods. However, don’t get your hopes up. It’s usually tough to find the contact details of the webmasters, and if you do, it isn’t easy to get in touch with them.

Use Google’s tools to help you out

Google offers one of the valuable tools that can help you remove bad backlinks – the Disavow Links tool. This tool allows website owners to make a list of links they want Google to ignore. Basically, you can reject certain links and make sure they don’t affect your SEO. However, this method is advisable only for the websites you’re sure harm you. That’s why you need to be sure that the links you put on this list belong there. Don’t make a mistake and include a backlink that is potentially very valuable.

mobile phone with Google search results
Google provides many tools you can use to maintain the health of your website.

Contact a professional

If you feel like dealing with backlinks is too much work, contacting an expert is a great idea. The experts from Link Department advise seeking professional help in these situations. Experts can help you out with your link-building strategy and make sure all the backlinks you get are valuable and relevant. Also, they will prevent you from making mistakes if you don’t really know what you are doing.

Avoid problematic backlink building techniques

Prevention is the key to a clean and successful website. Make sure you know which link-building techniques can be problematic and result in toxic backlinks. These include:

anchor text as an exact match of the link – these backlinks are way too obvious and suspicious in the eyes of Google;
paid links–Google doesn’t allow links that you pay for and considers them unnatural;
PBNs – a private blog network is regarded as a black hat technique, as it helps build unnatural links.

Protect your website from any future bad backlinks

It’s not enough to clean up your bad backlinks. It is vital to maintain a clean atmosphere and protect your website from any future issues. Make sure you do regular checks of your links to ensure that toxic ones don’t pile up. Also, be sure to monitor your traffic closely. You should check any unusual changes in traffic that you can’t explain – both positive and negative ones. Sudden drops or jumps in traffic may indicate a bad link has appeared. However, don’t disregard websites that are not that well-known. If a website is not too popular, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. Before you put it on the ‘naughty list’ and disavow it, make sure you check it and see if there’s some potential for it to grow. Finally, maintaining a website means regular checks, investing in necessary tools, and trusting professionals. Dedication and effort will result in the healthy growth of your website and positive link-building results.


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