Best Ways to Identify Bad Backlinks That Kill Your Rankings

We are all aware of the importance of quality backlinks, but do you know that it is equally important to identify bad backlinks. You would have often heard that good quality backlink play a major role in enhancing your search engine rankings. Thus, they have become one of the major building blocks of good SEO. When the search engine calculates the relevance and authority of a particular site to the keyword, they give preference to the sites that have higher quality inbound links.

The problem arises when the backlinks you get are not of good quality but toxic. They have an adverse effect on your website – not only by biting and scratching it but also by eating it alive and burying it in the last pages of SERP.

They can be created out of ignorance or with the intent to destroy your eCommerce SEO, but the fact is that they are bad for you. You need to identify bad backlinks and remove them to save your rankings. Here are some of the best ways to do so.

Carry Out Backlinks Audit

It is important to carry out backlink audits at a regular frequency to identify the toxic links that are proving to be detrimental to your website. If you have a small website, then a manual assessment is very much possible but for bigger sites, manual assessment is impossible as they can have thousands of backlinks. For such sites, you can make use of various SEO tools or standalone free applications. They help in providing a variety of information required like domain and PageRank, OSE data, SEO data, number of indexed pages in Google, server responses etc. Once you receive the entire set of data that you need, you can then analyze it by exporting it in Excel.

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To carry out the audit to identify bad backlinks, you need to identify the linking root domains. The idea is to identify the maximum number possible. Next, you need to check the TBPR (ToolBar PageRank) for all those linking root domains. There are a number of pages indexed and deindexed by Google. You require the percentage of all those linking root domains that Google has deindexed. You can also check the social metrics distribution. You need to perform these tasks periodically – say on a weekly or fortnightly frequency.

These will help you in figuring out if the deindexed linking root domains are increasing or if there is a spike at the low end of the TBPR distribution. If the social metrics number is also less and remaining more or less the same, then all these indicate that bad backlinks have crept in. Let us see how to proceed with it in detail.

Identify the Maximum Linking Root Domains

This is the fundamental step. The more the data you have from various tools, the better it is. This is because none of the third party tools that you would be using is as efficient or has the depth of data that Google has. So, combining data from a few of the best tools available in the market will ensure that you get almost all the linking root domains. Once you collect the data, remove the backlinks from the same linking root domain. This ensures that you have unique linking root domains. At times, you may also get an error ‘Page Not Found’ or ‘Error 404’. This linking root domain also needs to be removed.

Check Page Rank Distribution

You can make use of pivot charts in Excel to find these. Now that you have already identified your unique linking root domains, move to scrap the Toolbar Pagerank and it needs to be done for each of them. Making a pivot chart will enable you to figure out if the current PageRank distribution for a particular root domain is a matter of concern or not. If you find a spike at the lower end values, then it is negative and vice versa.

Check for Deindexed Root Domains

Google keeps deindexing root domains for various reasons like duplicate or poor quality content, excessive affiliate links, broken links, frequent server crashing etc. You need to find the percentage of linking root domains that are either deindexed or not yet indexed by Google.

Good backlinks help you in improving your search engine rankings, thus driving the targeted organic traffic to your website. On the contrary, bad links will lead you to trouble adversely affecting your rankings and ultimately your business. Therefore, it is important to identify bad backlinks on a regular basis and take corrective actions.

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The measures discussed above will help you in identifying quickly and timely if your website ranking is getting impacted due to bad backlinks. If you find that both the deindexation rates and the PageRank distribution are deteriorating, it means bad backlinks have started biting and scratching. If you are late to identify bad backlinks, they will eventually bury your website in the last pages of SERP.