How malicious backlinks hurt SEO and get rid of them

Backlinks are very important to SEO. When another site links to your site, a backlink is created. For example, if a brand finds one of your blog posts useful to their customers, they may link to it.


Backlinks are very important for SEO because search engines see all the votes that are proof that your content is valuable. If multiple websites link back to you, search engines are more likely to display your content in search results, improving your rankings for the topics that are linked to.

Earning backlinks is an essential part of off-site SEO and getting more backlinks is called link building. But like many aspects of SEO optimization, link building is not that simple. Most backlinks are good, some are awesome, and others are malicious. Too many malicious backlinks can harm your rankings.

In this article, we look at what malicious backlinks are, how they affect your SEO, and how you can get rid of them to protect your search rankings.

While each backlink may be a vote of confidence in your site, links from trusted, highly authority sites are best. They tell the search engines that a authority is reliable for your content. Even an unfollowing link from a strong website can boost your rankings.

On the other side of the spectrum, links from low authority or 'spam' sites may not help your rankings. Malicious backlinks can not only harm your rankings, but can also lead to penalties from search engines.

What is malicious backlinks? Google Statement like this:


HARefs There is a simple explanation of link quality:

harefs quote.jpg

There are several things that increase the backlink's toxicity from a search engine perspective:

  • Low domain trust score. This is based on the number of backlinks from trusted domains to the domains that provide the backlinks. Low rankings mean the site's domain score can be artificially inflated.
  • Page duplicated. If similar pages on multiple websites are linking to you from the same anchor text, search engines may see this as a link building scheme.
  • Page layout. If the ratio of text displayed on the HTML is low, the linked page may be considered poor quality.

The impact of bad links

If you are penalized, it will reduce your page rank, reduce the likelihood that your content will be found or, if the penalty is bad enough, you will be completely removed from the search index.

Punishment is assigned in two ways. Google introduced the Penguin algorithm in 2012 aimed at low quality links. Websites that use link building programs have seen their rankings drop. Since then, Google has tweaked the algorithm to make it better at capturing and penalizing bad links.

If Penguin sees a malicious link, it will impose penalties based on your link profile. There are no people evaluating this.

In addition to Penguin, Google has added human resources to their spam team, who can penalize malicious backlink sites themselves. According to one article on Search Engine Watch , Google initiates more than 400,000 manual actions each month.

Manual link review and penalties can be triggered by:

  • Report spam from competitors
  • Operational algorithms from Penguin trigger manual reviews.
  • You are in a segment that is monitored by Google's spam group activity.

You can request a review of manual penalties, but we'll talk more about that later.

How to determine if you have malicious backlinks

You can't do much about algorithmic link penalties, you just need to improve your site's overall link profile. Penalties applied manually will display in Google Search Console in the section Privacy and manual action> Manual action .


If a manual action, it will appear here with a general description of the problem, a link to learn more and a button that allows you to request a review.

Using an SEO website audit tool to find malicious backlinks is often easier. This may be especially true if you haven't checked for malicious links in a while (or ever). Tools like SEMRush , HARefs can provide this information. The following screenshot is from the SEMRush website audit report:

High toxicity SEMRush.png

You can drill down into each of the links listed as malicious for more information:


There are many ways to deal with malicious backlinks. You can contact the administrator of the affiliate page and request removal.

If the link is valid and the penalty has been manually activated, you can request a review. Follow article by Search Engine Watch , Google processed approximately 20,000 reconsideration requests a month out of the 400,000 manual penalties imposed. It takes about 30 days to get a response.

If backlinks are not important to you and you don't want to take a manual approach to remove links, you can use the The link declined .

Follow the steps from Google Search Console Help :


Create a list of links you want to reject in the format listed in the help article.


Tip: Your Google Search Console link reports and link reports from tools like SEMRush and HARefs can often be exported and used to make creating this file easier.

Then you launch the Disavow tool.


And upload your file.



Ensuring that backlinks to your site are high quality and following Google's rules is an essential aspect of webmaster for SEO.

Have you checked your backlinks lately? If you haven't, you should. Soon. Have you received a notice regarding manual action on your site in Google Search Console? If you have, follow the tips in this article to resolve the issue or disavow links.

About My name is Nguyen Manh Cuong. I was born in a poor village in Ba Vi district, HA NOI province - windy and sunny land. Currently. Mr Cuong.
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