“To get a higher ranking, you need to build links.” We’re sure you’ve heard experts making this recommendation. And it’s 100 percent effective if you do it right, but not all links are created equal.

Gone are the days when the number of references was the deciding factor in your credibility. Now, you need to build high-quality, relevant backlinks to rank high and maintain high traffic rates.

So, how do you know if a link is safe? And if you come across bad links, how do you remove them as soon as possible? We have the answers, so improvements are coming.

In a month, you’ll see a completely new link portfolio for your website, with only quality backlinks from websites in your niche and industry.

Good and Bad Backlinks: How To Define Them

It’s not difficult to determine which link is good for your reputation and which isn’t. Here, we’ll tell you the most important differences and how they can influence your ranking.

Good backlinks are:

  • Relevant: You don’t want to see a link with an article about online marketing on a page where the author talks about office redecoration. So, look for websites that share your philosophy and main topics to make sure the link works. These sites have the same or similar target audiences, which means people who see your link are already interested in the topics you cover.
  • From a credible website: Websites with a domain authority (DA) of 40+ are generally considered the best for link building.
  • Inserted organically: Every powerful backlink service will tell you that organic placement is one of the most important things for an effective link. When people see a randomly linked mention at the end of an article or in the middle of it in a sentence like “These link building tips will help you. Also, visit this site about watercolor portraits,” they aren’t likely to click on it.

So, good links are closely related in topic, inserted as an honest recommendation (as they should be) and posted on active, reliable websites.

Bad backlinks are:

  • From spam sites: Spammy websites have thousands of links on one page, without context or any portion of content you can comprehend. There may be a large paragraph full of keywords and no real information on the topic.
  • From poorly maintained sites with low trust scores. An inconsistent website with a low DA or trust score isn’t your best pick, either. If you notice your link on such a site, use the techniques we discuss below to remove them.
  • Irrelevant. Remember the scenario we mentioned of SEO tips and watercolor portraits. Such links confuse search engines, which lowers your rating.

Luckily, you can remove toxic backlinks in a couple of ways.

How To Remove Bad Backlinks

Backlink portfolio audit and improvement are essential processes in every SEO off-page strategy.

Contact Webmasters

In rare cases, this method works. Of course, if you have a thousand spam links appearing in a month, it’s not wise to track every owner and contact them. Just use the next method.

But if someone has written a negative review of your service or product with a link that seems suspicious, it’s time to investigate. Unfortunately, some website owners try to remove competitors in unethical ways similar to this.

In this case, you can contact the webmaster and ask who offered such a post and if it’s possible to remove it. If not, proceed to the next method and consider doing some damage control, perhaps by writing an article about the harm someone has done to your brand. 

Along with screenshots of positive reviews and gratitude for the support, the post will work – and perhaps even attract more people to your site in the process. (After all, a lot of us are admittedly intrigued by online beef among brands.)

Use the Google Disavow Tool

Create or update your Disavow .txt file and upload it on Google Search Console. These simple actions help you remove the value from every link that doesn’t work in your favor. But remember that if you were receiving benefits from one or more of those mentions, you could lose them in the process.

How To Build Quality Backlinks

As you’re getting closer to removing all spam links from your profile, it’s time to find ways to add quality backlinks to it and build a new reputation for your website.

Write High-Quality Content

Publish top-notch content for your niche on the website. In effect, good backlinks will come to you organically – because other bloggers will genuinely like your articles and share them with their audience.

Offer Guest Posts

You can write guest content for relevant websites and mention yourself as an author. In this way, you will show expertise in your chosen industry. It’s pretty easy to find blogs that accept contributions. You can look for potential blogs online and make them unique offers they cannot refuse.

Offer Guestographics

Do the same with infographics. Create one for another website, and it will have a mention of you as a co-creator. This is a great way to get a white-hat link and to show off the skills of your design team.

Offer Collaborations

You can offer another kind of collaboration to a service you really want to get a link from. It can be a piece of content you write together, sharing your experience, or a compilation with the best products on the market, etc. There are no limits.

Look for Unlinked Mentions

Set up Google Alerts to see if there are mentions of your business, website, email, products, etc., without a link. Contact the webmaster and explain that inserting a link will be beneficial for both parties.

Look for Broken Links

Also, investigate for “broken’ links” – URLs that lead to 404 error pages. If the anchor suits your content, contact the owner and notify them of the broken backlink and offer them to put yours there instead.

Pitch your content properly, and you’ll get many more high-quality backlinks.

To Sum Up

There are good and bad backlinks, and now you know which ones you need and why. Analyze your backlink profile regularly to see if some references have become spammy. It’s wise to tidy up your portfolio before Google penalizes your website for the crimes you didn’t commit.

Use the Disavow Tool to remove all the negative links to your site. In this way, you’re removing the actual value of the link. And as replacements for these links, you can build credible links from relevant websites – look for unlinked references to your website, brand or products, write guest posts or cooperate with link building services.

And no matter what you do, one thing remains clear: To get great mentions, you need great content. So focus on writing well and providing value to your readers with every article.

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By Margaret Blank

At the moment I am an expert-analyst in the field of search engine optimization, leading several projects and consulting on website optimization and promotion, I am actively involved in various thematic seminars and conferences.

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