In SEO, backlinks are just as vital to your text as, for example, keywords or meta descriptions. If a well-known website in your field posts a link to your own page, it will typically increase your traffic and give your content more credibility than it already has.

Naturally, there are lots of good and bad backlinks out there, but some can be downright toxic. Those are the ones you ought to get rid of as soon as you spot them. However, the trick is to demarcate the proverbial wheat from the chaff. Here’s a quick guide:

What Makes a Backlink Good?

To put it simply, a backlink is good if it comes from a trustworthy site in your field that has a strong SEO ranking. Even if the link in question has a <nofollow> attribute, it will still be considered good in nearly all cases. However, it is important to get backlinks from sites that are built around topics similar to yours. For instance, if your site is about cybersecurity, it doesn’t make a great deal of sense to acquire links from a site about antique book binding. A better option would be to get a link from sites like yours, or even those who speak more generally about internet or IT topics. In short, the best links are topically relevant links.

What Makes a Backlink Bad or Toxic?

If there is no editorial control over your backlink or it happens to be a paid one, it’s more than likely in the “toxic” category. Usually, you can recognize a toxic backlink by checking its domain trust score, the page layout, and the number of mirrored pages. Other considerations are irrelevant anchor text, sites with spammy or unfocused content, sites with high outbound links, and so on. Acquiring too many links at one time from other sites that are already penalized is also a good way to ruin your site’s keyword ranking.

First of all, the domain that’s providing you the backlink should have a high number of backlinks from other trusted, relevant domains. Such a page would have a high domain trust score. If it doesn’t have enough quality backlinks, you’re probably dealing with a page that is trying to inflate its domain trust ranking artificially.

Next, you should check the ratio of visible text to HTML. If it happens to be low, the linking page is often not worth your time.

Finally, there’s the number of mirrored pages. If multiple websites link to you using the same basic anchor text, it will look like a link building scheme, which search engines can catch rather easily.

Removing Toxic Backlinks

If the backlink you’re using isn’t too important to you, you can remove it using the Disavow Links Tool. On the other hand, that same backlink might be bringing in some nice traffic to your website. This is where disavowing links can be more art than science.

If that’s the case, request a review of the link from your SEO team. However, keep in mind that these reviews can take several days or more.

How Do Toxic Backlinks Affect My Web Page?

Should there be any toxic backlinks on your web page, Google can issue a manual or algorithmic penalty to your site. Usually, this is done through their Penguin algorithm, which automatically slaps a penalty the minute it sees a backlink profile that seems suspicious. There are also manual penalties, roughly 400,000 per month, which involve someone at Google actually looking at your site and link profile.

Once you’re hit with a penalty, your page can be removed from the search index. Therefore, it is vital that you try to handle any toxic backlinks you come across as soon as possible. So if you find yourself dealing with toxic links, get in touch with us now to learn about our backlink removal service.