Bad Links

What Are Bad Links?

Bad links are a hidden danger for website owners because if there is no scheduled maintenance task to download inbound back links (IBL), analyze them and determine if there are links that are detrimental to the site, either a manual Google penalty or an algorithmic penalty could result.

I can't tell you how many times I've trained business owners on SEO, and when we get to links, we download a sampling of theirs, and more often than not, there are links in their IBL profile that are unnecessary at best, or downright harmful at worst.

How Do I Know I Have Bad Links?

Let's put it like this - if you are not in the adult entertainment industry, a hacker, a spammer or black hat SEO (pretty much the same as a spammer), any links from sites like these that point back to yours is a bad link.

Unfortunately, you usually have to click on individual domains and physically view the site to verify if it's a bad link or not. If you've never done this, and you have several hundred that raise question marks in your mind, you can tell this is going to take some time. Maybe a lot of time.

However, it's necessary to do this exercise and clean them up, because you do run a real risk of getting a link penalty from Google. If you get one, your traffic and rankings will drop fast and stay low until you get all the bad links cleaned out.

bad links

Other Bad Links To Know About

There are butt tons of low to no quality directory sites that exist for no other reason than to build useless links from the directory site to another. Useless directory links include those that are not industry specific, cover vast swaths of industries and generally look like they were put together 12 years ago with outdated templates and navigation schemes.

So what if you have some bad links pointing to your site? How can you get rid of them? Well, you can see if there's contact information to request link removal, but usually that's a wasted exercise. There's another way for you to get rid of links that may be harming your site.

Google's Disavow Tool For Bad Links

If you have Google Search Console set up, you have access to Google's Disavow Tool. It's not listed on the left hand navigation bar; you just need to know the URL for starting the disavow process. It's here.

The disavow tool is a process by which Google will put an invisible "no follow" tag on the links you want disavowed.

For a complete explanation of what the disavow process is, the format you use to disavow links and more information, go here to Google's explanation.

So, if you haven't ever looked at your links before, I urge you to get started soon.

If you haven't already done so, set up your Google search console dashboard and verify your site.

  • Once you've started collecting data, download your links in a spreadsheet
  • Tag the ones you want to disavow
  • Follow the disavow process
  • Repeat monthly

If you'd like to know more about SEO and links, let Invenio SEO train you in the latest processes and techniques, as well as on-page SEO.

Learn basic SEO information and skills in our new online training class!

Until we meet next time, keep it safely between the ditches.

All the best to you,

Nancy McDonald

Image courtesy of foto76 at

Comments are closed.