Spammy links are best described as links with little to no quality. In order for a link to be considered low quality and spammy, it has to be coming from a website that was either neglected throughout algorithm changes or a site that clearly manipulates Google’s system. These links are generated largely because you have no control over what other users do with their content, other times, they’re the result of shady link building. This includes pointing to links in irrelevant content, applying unnatural anchor text for keyword purposes, purchasing links, and more.
While Google understands that not every low quality link is automatically a part of a link scheme, the links are looked into to determine whether or not a penalty is necessary. Because Google wants its platform to serve up the best and most relevant search results to users, Google gives penalties to websites that do the opposite in order to make sure these websites aren’t credited over the ones following Google’s guidelines. Google penalties are mostly given to websites that are undoubtedly spammy.
For those working hard to maintain a high rank through respectable practices, don’t be alarmed if you come across a spammy backlink. In the midst of building relevant, high authority links to your website, it’s possible for spammy ones to sneak in there. Referring backlinks are recorded through Ahrefs, a resource that presents you with a complete overview of a website to determine its health. You have access to a disavow tool here.
Tip: Try to contact the webmaster of the referring website before disavowing on your own. There’s a chance they will be willing to remove it permanently.
After locating the backlinks on Ahrefs, utilize a tool such as Moz’s Open Site Explorer to further analyze the linking website’s domain authority and spam score. Once you’ve confirmed the websites that are impacting your website’s ranking, it’s time to disavow! Disavowing a link doesn’t mean it’s completely deleted, but it’s almost as good. Once disavowed, it’s disregarded by Google, therefore it won’t have a negative impact on your website’s rankings.
Tip: Look further into the other pages that the referring website links to. You may see a trend of linking to spammy sites. If there is one or two mixed in, like the example below, it’s usually normal. If there are numerous spam scores in the orange and red range, use it as an indication that it’s definitely spam.
How to Proceed on Ahrefs:
You probably still have Ahrefs open from the initial research. In the dashboard, you’ll see a list of the websites you’re currently tracking. Locate the website you’re looking to fix and click on “disavow links” on the far right. You will then be prompted to choose either “Manual Add Links” or “Upload disavowed Links.”
Tip: If you have a long list, it’s best to import them into a document and upload them in one swift step with the upload option. You can also disavow a whole domain.
How to Proceed on Google:
If not Ahrefs, Google Webmaster Tools can be used. Follow the instructions Google provides: click the appropriate website and then click “Search Traffic.” Next, click “Links to Your Site.” Under “Who Links the Most,” click “More.” Click “Download more sample links.” After, you’ll have to upload the list of links you want to disavow. Open the disavow tool, select the website, choose “disavow links,” and “choose file.”
Tip: Google notes this area of importance: “When looking at the links to your site in Search Console, you may want to verify both the www and the non-www version of your domain in your Search Console account. To Google, these are entirely different sites. Take a look at the data for both sites.”
It’s no doubt that the convenience of this feature makes SEO cleanup a cinch, but it should not be overused, especially without some minor research. Disavowing the wrong links can harm the website. Try to get professional advice if you’re not absolutely sure.
Final Tip: Don’t be discouraged. This is not uncommon, which is why such tools exist. Google understands that it’s not fair to penalize for something that is out of your control. Also, this may take some time to come into effect.
Through Always Found’s process of performing detailed site audits to reporting, our marketing team will pinpoint any threatening links and get rid of them for you.