How to Detect and Report Spam Backlinks
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the best thing to happen to your content marketing campaigns.
The advantages of Search Engine Optimization are tremendous. However, it does have its drawbacks. There is a dark side to the Search Engine Optimization concept known as the Negative SEO campaign.
This consists of introducing spam backlinks to your website. We shall look at the effects of the Negative SEO campaign during the course of this blog. We shall see how to detect and report spam backlinks. This is necessary for maintaining and improving your SEO ranking.
The Negative SEO Campaign
We have to go back in time to somewhere around April 2012. We refer to the launch of Google Penguin Update. This update disinfected the link spam from web networks but created a Frankenstein monster in ‘Negative SEO’.
The main objective of Penguin was to penalize websites using spam for generating backlinks and manipulating search engine rankings. This was a great initiative. However, people started abusing this system. The modus operandi were to create spam links for legitimate websites. As a result, Penguin started penalizing these legitimate websites for no fault of their own. Their ranking suffered because of these bad backlinks. This is the concept of Negative SEO.
How do you overcome this problem?
The simple way to do so is to contact the webmaster and request him to remove the bad links. However, it is difficult to ensure this. You need an alternate solution.
By now, you know that spam links are bad for your backlink profile. What is the way out? The best solution is to use Google Disavow Links tool. Let us see how to use this tool to detect and report spam backlinks.
The Google Disavow Links Tool
This tool empowers the webmasters to identify spam backlinks and report them to Google. This is very useful especially if you are a victim of the Negative SEO campaigns. Google has a database of spam backlinks. It can identify them immediately and block them from affecting your SEO ranking. However, certain links do remain. You can use this tool to report the same to Google. On doing so, Google will not allow such links to hamper your SEO rankings.
#1 How do you use the tool?
Using this tool should not be a problem. However, not everyone needs to use this tool straightaway. If you are a victim of Negative SEO because of spammy backlink profiles, you should consider using it.
Using this tool might be easy but creating the database of backlinks to disavow is certainly a hard one. There are tools available that allow you to see the backlinks. Google Webmaster Tool is one such facility. Third party tools can also help you detect spam backlinks.
The next step is to make a list of such links in a text file. Sometimes, you might have to disavow an entire website domain. This tool allows you to do so. This will help you to report all the links that emanate from this particular domain.
Now, go to your Google Disavow Links page to select the domain you wish to disavow. Clicking on the Disavow Links tab should do the needful.
In order to disavow individual links you have to click the tab again. A pop-up window will open for you. Uploading the text file that you had prepared will complete the job of reporting the spam backlinks to Google.
This is quite a simple procedure, isn’t it? Now, you might have a question. How do you add new backlinks to your text file? You have the option of downloading the text file for addition or deletion of links to it. Upload the revised file by following the same procedure.
The uploaded files will take some time to take effect because Google has to re-index and re-crawl the pages. You can always expect constant updates to this tool.
#2 Precautions to take
- One should take out the backlinks reports and check each link for its authenticity before you upload the file on the Disavow links page. In case you disavow the wrong link, it can cause an adverse effect on your SEO ranking.
- It is better to have an SEO expert to do this job for you. He will be able to activate the back links audit tools. This will enable him to identify and report the spam backlinks correctly.
#3 What does the Back Link Audit tool do?
- The back links audit tool will enable you to evaluate each backlink. This will help determine the risk factor of being penalized by Google.
- You get a toxic score for each backlink. The toxic markers will help you to identify the dangerous backlinks.
- Removing these backlinks is better for your SEO ranking. Otherwise, you run the risk of being penalized.
#4 Advantages of using the Google Disavow tool
- Using this tool, you can remove the spam backlinks. This can help improve your SEO ranking. The Negative SEO effect can happen to any website. Hence, using this tool to identify and remove the spam backlinks is advisable.
- This tool is very easy to use. It does not require a person to possess a high level of computer knowledge. However, it is better to let an expert do the job. You reduce the chances of errors.
- This tool is part of Google Chrome. Anyone can use this tool for free and report the backlinks for its elimination.
#5 Disadvantages of the Google Disavow tool
One should be aware of the disadvantages of using this tool.
- You can place your request for disavowing the links. Acceding to your request is the prerogative of Google. There are chances that it might not accede to your request.
- Identifying the spam backlink is the toughest part for you. Some of the spam backlinks can be obvious but one has to exercise case. Disavowing the wrong link can cause a dent in your SEO rankings.
- It is tough to go back and reassert the incorrect spam backlink. You have the facility to do so but the disavowed backlink will not have the same effect after it returns.
Improving the SEO rankings is essential for effective content marketing. Being aware of the Negative SEO factor is very important. This will help you understand the effects of spam backlinks. Use the Google Disavow Links tool to report your spam backlinks to Google and maintain the good SEO ranking.
Arun is a Technical SEO at Hopinfirst.com who works with unique problems and advanced search situations. He helps clients improve organic traffic through a deep understanding of Google’s algorithm and Web technology.