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How to get rid of low quality backlinks?

7 minutes of reading
How to get rid of low quality backlinks?
Category SEO

Building links to your website can boost your search engine rankings, but they’re not always the best way to do so. Some of the links you build could actually hurt your website’s search engine ranking instead of helping it, especially if they come from low-quality websites that don’t follow their own link building guidelines or have recently been penalized by Google. This step-by-step guide will show you how to get rid of bad links in order to increase your search engine rankings without risking any negative impact on your website.


Link building plays a major role in SEO for many reasons. We need links from other websites in order to rank high in search engines. The more quality links you have, the higher your search rankings will be. This is called building your link profile and it helps establish you as an authority in your niche (which is crucial if you want people to read and share your content). More and more, search engines are looking at more than just on-page content when assessing websites – they’re also checking out your site’s popularity and how often it gets linked to by other sites. There are many different types of links, such as guest posts, directory submissions, social shares etc. but today we’re going to focus on one specific type: bad links.

Google defines a bad link as one that either doesn’t add value or actively harms your site.

  • Bad links are any link that sends visitors away from your site. As you’re trying to build up a strong SEO presence, it’s crucial that all of your links direct traffic back towards your website.
  • If you want to avoid penalties, it’s important to clean up your backlink profile and get rid of any links that could be considered spammy. This is especially true if you have been hit with a penalty in the past and are looking for ways to recover from it.
  • Unnatural links include any link that you don’t ask for, such as a backlink from a forum or guest post where you didn’t request it.
  • Cloaked links hide text behind an image or other element so it appears as if you’ve been linked when you haven’t.
  • Links that give no contextual information about what they link to (i.e., they simply don’t make sense).

How to get rid of them?

It’s not always easy to find out how you got bad links. One thing you should do is check your sitelinks section in Google Webmaster Tools, as these are links from other sites that Google considers close enough to your website for it to include them under your listing. If you see any that look suspicious, click on them and follow where they lead—if it looks like a link could be damaging, it probably is.

So you’ve been hit with some bad links. Your first instinct might be to panic, but stay calm! The worst thing you can do right now is scramble around trying different approaches. By acting out of desperation, you’ll likely make your problem worse. Here are a few steps you can take to fix your bad links.

Reach out to webmasters who have linked You

The fastest way to get rid of bad links is often right under your nose—reach out to webmasters who have linked you, and ask them politely to remove those links. Explain that they’re not relevant or helpful anymore, or that they may be sending traffic in a direction that’s contrary to their own website. If you’ve been diligent about building relationships with other websites in your niche, it shouldn’t be hard to convince these webmasters that it makes sense for them to take down their links.

Use noidex tag

This tag is used by search engines, like Google, as a signal. If you want certain pages not to be indexed (and therefore not shown in SERPs), then you can add an HTML meta tag with name=robots and content=noindex. This will tell Google not to index that page. It’s important to note that if you do use a robots meta tag for your site, it needs to be set up on every single page of your website. So even if you only have one page on your site that doesn’t need to show up in search results, you still need to make sure there’s a robots meta tag set up for it.

Use nofollow link

The rel=nofollow tag is a way for you to tell search engines that they shouldn’t consider links on your page as part of their rankings, because those links don’t contain any value. It doesn’t mean people can’t click through or view your site—it just means that it won’t be counted in Google and other search engine algorithms. This can be useful if you have broken or irrelevant links on your site, or if you want to get rid of spammy sites linking back to yours. You should always use nofollow tags when appropriate; otherwise, it could look like you are trying to manipulate search engine results and hurt your SEO efforts.

Use 301 redirect

When a search engine sees that two pages are now different—maybe one was moved or taken down—it looks for what’s called a 301 redirect. This is an instruction telling it that when someone clicks on that old URL, they should be automatically rerouted to the new page. If you can get all your bad links to redirect to good ones, you can effectively erase their negative impact on your site. Here’s how:

  • find every link pointing at your website,
  • see if any of them are broken,
  • ask whoever owns that broken link to replace it with a working one.

If you can do all that successfully, you may never have another bad link pointed at your site again!

Remove duplicate content

It’s important that you don’t create bad links by accident. If there are already websites out there with content similar to yours, then it might be a good idea to have those pages removed from your link profile. Although Google has its own ways of discovering and dealing with duplicate content issues, other search engines won’t hesitate in marking you down for having multiple versions of your site listed. To avoid any potential problems, try contacting webmasters whose sites link back to yours and ask them to remove or update their references. You could also use a tool like Copyscape to identify which sites are likely duplicates—and then contact them directly.

Consider disavowing bad links through Google

Google’s Disavow Tool allows you to get rid of any links you know don’t belong in your website. Just tell Google which sites have bad or irrelevant content and will no longer help your website. You may need multiple submissions for all of your bad links, so keep track! The disavow tool can be used to remove unwanted backlinks from a variety of sources, including: forums, blogs, social media sites, other websites that are owned by competitors and even paid links. There is also a feature called Manual Actions that removes your site from search results due to actions taken by Google themselves; using disavow can assist with manual actions as well.

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Because backlinks are one of Google’s primary ranking factors, it’s important to keep an eye on them. Maintaining a link-monitoring account is a great way to ensure that you don’t lose any valuable backlinks. And if you do see one or two links going bad, try reaching out and asking if they can be removed—most owners are more than happy to oblige.

Aleksandra Pietrzak
Curator at the National Museum in Poznań, graduate of Art History at the Jagiellonian University and Contemporary Art at the Pedagogical University of Krakow, curator of exhibitions and author of scientific and popular texts. A lover of contemporary art, literature and travel.
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