Toxic Links:  Google Says Don’t Get Hung Up on Them

Find out what John Mueller had to say about toxic links and how you can avoid getting hung up on them.
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    john mueller on toxic backlinks google

    As SEOs, it’s all about link building, right?  We’re constantly searching for new opportunities to get links from high-quality websites.  But what about the other side of the coin?  What if you have bad links pointing to your website?  Are those hurting your rankings?

    Google’s John Mueller was recently asked about this on Reddit.  He said that there are a few tools out there that help identify poor quality or even spammy links, but in general, Google has said it has no internal concept of “toxic domains” and that you can ignore toxic links and the tools that report on them.

    What Changed?

    In the early days, Google would drop a penalty on sites with many bad or deceptive links pointing to them.  This was known as the “Google penalty.” But in recent years, Google has changed its tune.

    Ever since the Penguin 4.0 update, Google started ignoring bad links rather than penalizing sites for them.  So if you have a few bad links pointing to your site, don’t sweat it.  Google is no longer taking that into account when determining your rankings.

    Should You Still Try to Remove Bad Links?

    While you don’t have to worry about a Google penalty anymore, that doesn’t mean you should ignore bad or spammy links altogether.  If you have a lot of low-quality or spammy links pointing to your site, that could be a sign that you’re using black hat SEO tactics, and that’s something you definitely want to avoid.

    Additionally, bad links can still hurt your traffic and conversion rates.  Unless your business lives on the shady side of the internet, you probably don’t want visitors from sites known for being spammy.

    So while you don’t need to worry about a Google penalty, it’s still a good idea to clean up any bad links pointing to your site.

    How to Remove Bad Links

    If you want to remove bad links pointing to your site, there are a few different ways you can go about it.

    The first is to reach out to the site owner and ask them to remove the link.  This is usually the quickest and easiest way to get rid of a bad link.

    If the site owner doesn’t respond or refuses to remove the link, your next option is to use the Google Disavow Tool.  This tool allows you to tell Google not to consider certain links when determining your rankings.

    Of course, using the Disavow Tool should be a last resort.  You should only use it if you’ve tried everything else and you’re sure the link is bad.

    How Do you Find Bad Links?

    If you want to find bad links pointing to your site, you can use a few different tools:

    Google Search Console

    Google Search Console is a great place to start.  Just head to the “Search Traffic” section and click on “Links to Your Site.”  From there, you’ll see a list of all the sites linking to yours.

    1. Go to Google Search Console

    go to google search console

    2. Click “Start Now”

    3. Select Your Property

    select your property

    4. Click Links

    click more

    5. Click More

    there are your links

    But, if you have a lot of links pointing to your site, this process can be time-consuming.  In that case, you might want to use a tool like Moz’s Link Explorer or Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

    moz link explorer toxic backlinks
    moz link explorer toxic backlinks

    Moz’s Link Explorer

    Moz’s Link Explorer is an excellent tool for finding bad links.  Just enter your website’s URL and hit “Search.”  Moz will then give you a list of all the websites linking to yours.

    From there, you can click on each link to see more information about it.  Moz also assigns each link a “Spam Score” from 0 to 17, with 17 being the most spammy.  So if you see a link with a high spam score, that’s a good indication that it’s not a good link.

    ahrefs digital marketing tool for dentists
    ahrefs digital marketing tool for dentists

    Ahrefs’ Site Explorer

    Ahrefs’ Site Explorer is another great tool for finding bad links.  Just enter your website’s URL and hit “Search.”  Ahrefs will then give you a list of all the websites linking to yours.

    Ahrefs also assigns each link a “Quality” score from 0 to 100, with 100 being the best.  So if you see a link with a low-quality score, that’s a good indication that it’s

    These tools will give you a comprehensive overview of all the links pointing to your site.  You can then sort them by “Domain Authority” or “PageRank” to find the most toxic links.

    We’ll tell you what.  Here at BlakSheep Creative, we pay a lot for our SaaS tools.  And anyone knows that paid tools are always better than free ones, right?

    So here’s what we’ll do.  We pay for these tools so that you don’t have to.  We’re in the business of making things easy for our clients.

    If you’re serious about getting rid of your toxic links, we can help.  We’ll run a complete link audit and give you a report of all the bad links pointing to your site.  We’ll even provide you with a list of sites you can reach out to have the links removed.

    If you’re interested, just shoot us an email, and we’ll get started.  In the meantime, check out our blog for more great tips on SEO and link building.

    Just email us at seo@blaksheepcreative.com, and we’ll audit your link profile for free.  We’ll send you a report of all the bad links pointing to your site, and we’ll even tell you how to get rid of them.

    What are you waiting for?  Email us today and let us help you clean up your link profile.  After all, we’re in the business of helping our clients rank higher.

    john mueller on toxic backlinks
    john mueller on toxic backlinks

    The Bottom Line

    Bad links are no longer something you need to worry about, thanks to Google’s Penguin 4.0 update. 

    However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore them altogether.  Bad links can still hurt your traffic and conversion rates, so it’s a good idea to clean them up if you can.

    But insofar as Google, “don’t get hung up about it.”  Google no longer cares about bad links, so you can focus your energy on more productive things.

    Do you still worry about toxic links?  Let us know in the comments below!

    Clint Sanchez

    Clint Sanchez

    Clint is a man of many talents and abilities. Clint served in the Army for 6 years and has been with the Baton Rouge Fire Department for 24 years. He was serving as a volunteer guitarist at a local church when he became aware of the social media/web designer moving on from that position. After taking over the responsibility of all things marketing, Clint eventually founded BlakSheep Creative to handle website design for churches and other organizations in his area.
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