Close this search box.

10 Types of Backlinks to Avoid in a Successful SEO Strategy

Table of Contents

image 1

Backlinks are links from one website to another site. These hyperlinks are created to provide value to a reader by providing more context or making it easy to navigate to the other relevant information referred in the content they’re reading. They help search engines to understand the context, relevance and authority of a website.

And the biggest value of backlinks for SEO is that they establish the credibility of a site. They indicate to search engines that the website receiving links from other sites is reputable, informative, and trustworthy. However, not all links are valuable for a website, and some of them can even harm the ranking and reputation of a brand. Thus, it is important to know the difference between good backlinks and bad backlinks.

How does Google treat toxic backlinks?

Google introduced the Penguin algorithm in 2012 to penalize spammy backlinks. Before the release of this update, backlinks were common, and even low-quality sites used to get better rankings than good-quality sites.

The Penguin algorithm was introduced to curb the practice of manipulating rankings by using toxic backlinks. After a penguin update, spammy links are easily caught by search engines, and websites with spammy links get penalized. Google may penalize your site having toxic backlinks in two ways.

image 2

Manual Penalty

If a website is violating Google’s rules and regulations, it may be manually penalized. For this, human reviewers at Google evaluate the website on the basis of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

You will get notifications about the penalty in the Google Search Console. It will include information about the specific violations as well as instructions on how to fix them.

After fixing the issue that caused the violation, user can submit a reconsideration request to Google. If Google approves your reconsideration request, it will waive the penalty, and your website will start recovering rankings.

The severity of the penalty may depend on the number and quality of bad backlinks. In some cases, a website is completely removed from search results.

The Algorithmic (Penguin) Penalty

If your website is hit with an algorithmic penalty, Google won’t notify you; however, you may recognize it if there is a decrease in the website’s search ranking and a reduction in organic traffic. The severity of the penalty will depend on the number and quality of the bad or spam backlinks. In some cases, the penalty may be so severe that the website is completely removed from Google’s search index.

Differences between Good backlinks and Bad Backlinks

Effects of bad backlinks

As discussed above, we can differentiate between good and bad backlinks in the following ways:

Good links send strong signals of link equity and improve the domain authority of a website. On the other hand, bad backlinks don’t send any link equity and are not considered worthy by search engines.

Backlinks acquired naturally from authoritative and relevant sources have the potential to bring organic traffic to your site, while the backlinks acquired in unnatural ways from irrelevant sources can hurt your website’s SEO rankings. It is significant to build a strong backlink profile by focusing on quality backlinks and adhering to ethical SEO practices. Good backlinks are rewarded by Google in terms of better rankings and an increase in organic traffic to a website. In fact, quality backlinks are your doorway to ranking, revenue, and reputation.

How do you analyze your backlink profile?

The primary goal of link building is to acquire high-quality backlinks and avoid low-quality backlinks. When analyzing your backlink profile, it is important to know what types of backlinks are rewarding for SEO and which of them are not worthy at all. And many of them are not just unworthy, but they can also get your website penalized by Google. Before you begin analyzing your backlink profile, it is important to know the types of backlinks to avoid in your link building.

1.    Links from spam directories

Spam is the link from your site that you don’t want to associate with, as it can harm your reputation and reliability. Spam directories are low-quality directories that are created only to generate backlinks. They often have irrelevant content and are full of spam links. If your website is receiving backlinks from spammy sites or directories, search engines may penalize you, especially if you start receiving tons of them.If you have never analyzed your backlink profile, our backlink tool can give you a list of all backlinks to your site.

Spam directories are low-quality directories 
screenshot of ESL Ranks Pro page

The next step after detecting spammy backlinks is to eliminate them. Google recommends first contacting the websites where your backlinks are coming from and requesting their removal. Once it is done, you can utilize the Google Search Console Disavow tool to request the removal of those links. However, if there are just one or two spammy links, Google tends to ignore them when assessing the SEO of a site. However, if you find there are a large number of spammy backlinks, it is essential to disavow them.

2. Link-Mill Websites

Google recognizes link mill websites as spammy and manipulative and won’t consider them in ranking a website.

Paid link schemes have been popular for years for the simple reason that they bring a number of backlinks. However, Google recognizes link mill websites as spammy and manipulative and won’t consider them in ranking a website. These are regarded as link schemes and include links earned in exchange for money or other resources.

Any link intended to manipulate a site’s page rank in Google search results may be considered a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This makes it clear that any link building intended to manipulate ranking can get your website penalized.

It is recommended to create high-quality marketing content instead of paying for link schemes. When you make content that users find worthy to read, they will share it and even use it as a reference in their content. That’s how natural, high-quality backlink happens.

Pro tip – Don’t pay for links, earn them by creating high-quality content and using white-hat SEO tactics.

3. PR Release Links

Press releases can also be a source of bad backlinks, but not all of them are unworthy.

Press releases can also be a source of bad backlinks, but not all of them are unworthy. If done correctly, you may get benefits, but if not done right, they don’t add any value to your backlink profile.
Google has made it clear that it doesn’t like press releases dripping with backlinks, but if you create quality news releases and pitch them to the relevant sources, it will be worth the effort.
However, problems arise when you fill your press release with tons of keyword-heavy links back to your site. If you do it to improve your backlink profile, it will be considered manipulative by Google, and they will not consider ranking your site.

Pro tip: Avoid self-promotional, poorly written, keyword-stuffed, and irrelevant press releases.
Don’t use too many links in press releases.

4. Irrelevant links

 Irrelevant links

When you are avoiding bad backlinks, it is not just the links from spammy sites but also links irrelevant to your business or targeted audience that are not worth the effort and should be avoided.
For instance, if you are running a wedding clothing store, a link from wedding party decorators will be useful and relevant to your targeted audience. However, a link from a pet grooming site will be irrelevant to your business. When you’re starting to build backlinks to your website from fields and industries not related to your own, it can create confusion for the users, and you may not be able to rank for keywords that actually matter.

5. Blog comments

Blog comment links are the links placed in the blog comments

Blog comment links are the links placed in the blog comments. These links are not relevant to the topic of the blog post and are often placed on multiple blogs. Most of the time, these comment links are no-follow and low-quality. If you leave such spammy blog comments, it will make your site less reliable in the eyes of the audience. Similarly, if you leave comments on low-quality websites, it may hurt your website’s authority and rankings. It is essential to post blog comments consciously and selectively and ensure to leave them on relevant and high-authority websites.

Pro tip: Ditch the spammy blog comments and use effective link-building strategies like guest posting, broken link building, and the skyscraper technique.

6. Link exchanges

Link exchanges are reciprocal links between two websites

Link exchanges are reciprocal links between two websites. A link exchange is a mutually beneficial arrangement for two websites to link to one another. This can be accomplished by including a link to the other website in your website’s footer, sidebar, or main content. Link swaps can help increase traffic and SEO for your website, but if they are done incorrectly, they can also result in Google penalizing your site.

When deciding your position in search results, Google’s algorithm takes into account the quality of the links pointing to your website. Google may reduce your rating if your website receives many links from low-quality or unrelated websites. Link exchanges are considered spam because they are not natural and are often used to manipulate search engine rankings.

7. Forum Links

Forum links are links placed in forum posts and signatures. These links can often be irrelevant to the topic of the forum and are often placed in multiple forums.

Forum links are the links you obtain from forum sites.

Forum links are the links you obtain from forum sites. It may come in various forms, such as in a forum post, in a user’s signature, etc.There are both good and bad forum links. Good forum links help deliver targeted website traffic and improve your backlink profile. On the other hand, bad forum links are a black-hat SEO technique and are against search engine rules and regulations.

8. Hidden links

Hidden links are links that are hidden from visitors and search engines.

Hidden links are links that are hidden from visitors and search engines. Such links can be placed in white text on a white background, behind images, or using CSS to position them off-screen. These links are considered spam because they are deceptive and are often used to manipulate search engine rankings.

How to find hidden links on your site?

One of the easiest ways to find hidden links is as follows:

Right-click, select “view page source,” and do a search for href = to see all the links on your site.

This will show you all the links, including visible and hidden links.

9. PBNs

Private Blog Network (PBN) backlinks are links built to a site using a network of privately owned websites. These websites are created with the sole aim of linking to the main site and pushing the rank up in search engine results.

Private blog network what they do

10. Automated links

Automated links are generated using bots or software, and they often come from irrelevant or spammy websites. They are created by people to manipulate their website rankings on search engine results. If there are automated backlinks to your site, it is important to remove them as soon as possible. You can remove them by contacting the webmasters of the linking websites and requesting them to remove the links. If they don’t remove the links, you can disavow them in the Google Search Console.

Pro tip: Avoid using automated link-building tools or services. Be careful about who you allow to guest post on your website.

Now you can identify the types of bad backlinks and build your backlink profile cautiously. However, it is equally important to know the types of backlinks to take your SEO game to another level of success. The image given below makes it easier to understand the different types of bad backlinks that must be avoided or should be carefully handled in your SEO strategy.

10 types of bad links the link that you don't want

Taking stock of your backlinks: Why it’s important to analyze your backlink profile

Taking stock of your backlinks: Why it's important to analyze your backlink profile

It is important to avoid using any of these spam techniques to generate backlinks. Search engines like Google have sophisticated algorithms to detect and penalize websites that use spam links. If your website is caught using spam links, Google may penalize your site by lowering its ranking or even removing it from the search index.

The best way to generate backlinks is to create high-quality content that other websites will want to link to. You can also promote your content on social media and reach out to other websites in your industry to ask for links.

It is no secret that the backlinks are one of the most important Google ranking signals. They have remained a constant in SEO, despite many changes over the years. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your rankings will be.

Google has also stated the importance of backlinks as a ranking factor in its “How Search Works” report. Another ranking factor study conducted by SEMrush found that backlinks are still a top factor in Google’s organic ranking algorithm. However, getting these links is not easy and requires one to work on a well-thought-out strategy.

As per the data shared by Backlinko, 94% of the world’s content gets zero external links. And it is more challenging to get links from multiple sites. In fact, only 2.2% of content generates links from multiple websites.

Surely there are some effective ways to build links, but in order to compete with the market, you need to conduct deep research and persistent follow-ups to build links consistently. Besides, gaining numerous backlinks will be of no use if they are not worthy or are not from reliable and relevant sources. Thus, it is essential to analyze and prune your backlink profile from time to time.

By examining the backlink profile of a competitor that’s already ranking well for your target keywords, you can gain insights into the types of websites and content that are linking to them.

Backlink analysis shows all the web pages that link to your website. It is a technique for carefully assessing the quantity and quality of websites that link to your domain or particular piece of content. It gives you important data that you may use to benchmark against and outperform rivals in your ranking.

A backlink analysis can be conducted from your website, blog, or even your competitor’s blog to identify backlink opportunities as well as competitors’ backlinks you need to target. A complete backlink analysis will provide you with performance data that can be used to improve your site performance and find out how your business stacks up against a competitor.

• It helps you know how others perceive content located on your site, whether they find it useful or not.

• Typically, other domains will link to your site if they find your content useful and your brand reliable. A large number of backlinks shows a loyal follower base that wants to share your brand or content with their own.

How to conduct backlink analysis?

Backlinks are the best attributes to get an edge over your competition in the market. For conducting backlink analysis, you need to analyze your backlinks, segment unique domains, examine domain authority, and evaluate the quality of your anchor texts.

And because of this, it is important to have access to the best backlink analyzer tools. The finest backlink checker will help you elicit link building opportunities, learn from your competitor’s link tactics, and keep a keen eye on the health of your backlink profile. Here are the easy steps to get better insights on your backlink profile by using ESL Ranks Pro

•             Sign up for the ESL Ranks Pro.

•             Click on Backlink Checker on the side menu on the right.

•             Enter your domain or URL link in the box below “Evaluate the link profile of a site or page url” and select the appropriate option from the drop-down menu.

•             If you want to exclude subdomains, check the box that says “Exclude subdomains.”

•             Click Search.

Once completed, you will see a report with the following information:

•             Total number of backlinks linking to your domain

•             Domain authority

•             Number of referring domains and backlinks

You can also view more granular data about your backlink profile, such as:

•             Anchor text distribution

•             Linking page domain authority

•             Link type (dofollow, nofollow, etc.)

•             Spam score

•             First-seen and last-seen dates

To view the granular data, simply click on the Backlinks tab in the report.

backlink checker tool

What insights do you get from backlink analysis by ESL Ranks Pro?

ESL Backlink Checker provides all the stats about the backlinks you need in one place. It provides an abundance of data that can help you build and manage a strong backlink profile and even revamp your strategy for obtaining backlinks. It reviews much more than the number of backlinks leading to your page. To start using it, you simply need to enter the URL of any website. In a minute, you will receive an analysis of the backlink profile, including:

The backlink analysis overview

The widgets with the backlink overview data will appear once the scan is complete. It will display how strong a certain backlink profile is within a few seconds. It displays the total number of backlinks, referring domains (including new and lost referring domains). This information can be very helpful in identifying and addressing potential SEO issues.

Follow/Dofollow backlink analysis

This tool helps you understand the overall composition of any website’s backlink profile. Identify the dofollow and nofollow backlinks. Check your competitors’ backlink profiles as well to identify areas for improvement. In general, the more closely followed backlinks a competitor has, the harder it will be competing with them.

Anchor text analysis

Identify the most popular anchor texts used by your competitors. Also, find out how many text and image links they have. Also, find out the keywords that people are using to find your website, as well as the pages that are most popular with visitors.

Identify spam

Identify spammy backlinks from low-quality websites that can harm your SEO. It analyzes the domain authority and spam score of each referring domain. SEO experts can use it to audit their clients’ websites and identify any spam links that need to be disavowed. A backlink checker tool will help you see who’s linking to your site pages. They’ll also provide you with a backlink report so you can analyze your backlink profile.

Historical backlink data explorer

It provides historical backlinks to research your competitors and see how and when they received their top backlinks. It also helps you track your backlink growth over time. This can help you identify what types of backlink-building strategies are working best for you.

Quality backlinks are the backbone of SEO but low-quality backlinks can give you a headache and the most effective way to overcome them is by either avoiding or removing them.

Here are some ways you can use insights from ESL Ranks Pro to strengthen your SEO strategy

  • Identify and remove low-quality backlinks
  • Go to the source page title & URL column to identify spammy links and then remove them from your backlink profile.
  • Build backlinks from high-quality websites

If you analyze your backlink profile and find that your competitors have backlinks coming from high-quality websites, you can use the backlink checker tool (SOURCE PAGE TITLE & URL) column to identify these websites and then reach out to them to see if they would be interested in linking to your website as well. This can help improve your website’s ranking and visibility in SERPs.

Optimize your anchor text

If you see that a lot of your backlinks are using the same anchor text, you can use the ANCHOR TEXT column to identify them and then optimize your anchor text. This can help improve your website’s ranking for relevant keywords. It is prudent to use natural anchor text and vary it, as using the same anchor text over and over again can make your backlinks look spammy.

Track the performance of your backlink-building campaigns

If you are running backlink-building campaigns, you can use the FIRST SEEN and LAST SEEN columns to track the performance of your campaigns and see which campaigns are generating the most backlinks. This information can be used to improve your backlink-building strategies in the future.

Wrap Up

Backlinks are the backbone of SEO, but only if they are not toxic and come from relevant and credible sources. It is important to identify bad backlinks to your site (or client’s site) and get rid of them either by removing or disowning them. The backlink analyzer tool makes the whole process easy and faster while providing better insights to build a strong backlink profile.

Share the Post:

Related Posts