4 Steps To Removing Spammy Backlinks from Your Website

Link building is one of the most important steps in search engine optimization (SEO). However, getting backlinks from unwanted websites and/or link building through unethical practices can do more harm than good.

Here are four reasons why you should remove spammy backlinks from your website –

  1. You will get low-quality traffic: The visitors that will come to your website through that link won’t find your content useful or relevant. Often, spammy backlinks bring traffic in large quantities, but the retention time is extremely low.
  2. Your domain authority will decrease: Associating with low-tier websites will decrease your credibility. As a result, you will show up lower on the search results for the same keywords you used to rank at the top positions.
  3. You might get penalized: Search engines take this very seriously. If you are proven guilty of violating the link-building guidelines your website might get unindexed from Google altogether!
  4. Starting from scratch: Even after you undo the damage, your authority will still be low and you will have to reinvest a lot to get it back up.

Hence, it is crucial to ensure that your backlink profile is clean and there are no toxic backlinks from your website.

In this post, we have highlighted four steps you can follow right now to remove spammy backlinks from your website.

1. Download your backlink profile

Your backlink profile contains all the details related to the sites you are getting links from. Their domain authority, the time when you got placed there, the amount of traffic, etc., are some of the details that you can find through a backlink audit.

You can use software like Ahrefs and SEMRush to conduct a backlink audit where you will have the option to download (export) your backlink profile. However, a much easier solution is to use Google Search Console (GSC), provided your website is linked to Google Analytics (GA).


By clicking on the “export external links” button at the top-right, you can download all your backlink data in the desired format.

2. Identify toxic backlinks

To remove toxic backlinks from your website, you need to understand what they are so that you can identify them. The presence of one or more attributes listed below makes a link spammy or toxic –

  1. If it comes from a website with low domain authority. Use tools such as Moz and Website SEO Checker to check a site’s domain authority. Low authority means the content quality and credibility of that site is sub-par.
  2. Do a quick Google search for the website you are getting a backlink from. If it doesn’t show up on Google, then it might be unindexed which is a massive red flag.
  3. Visit each of the pages/posts that give you a backlink and check whether the content there is relevant to your site. If not, then you should consider not getting a backlink from them.
  4. Check the quantity and quality of traffic you are getting from each of those sites through Google Analytics. If the traffic volume and/or the retention time is unimpressive, mark them as spammy backlinks.

Use the four parameters above to label links as toxic or spammy on the list you have built earlier.

3. Remove spammy backlinks from your website

After identifying the toxic backlinks to your website, it is time to reach out to the admins or the editors of those sites and request them to remove your backlink.

The easiest way is to go to the website and find out the contact details and send them an email. In some cases, you might have to fill up a contact form highlighting your query. Some websites also have pages on different social media which makes it even easier for you to reach out to them.

Keep in mind that you are requesting assistance while crafting your message. If it is unprofessional, your message will be ignored immediately.

Another crucial thing to keep in mind is to follow up on time. The websites you are going to reach out to will be getting tons of messages for many reasons. Follow up after a couple of days if you don’t hear back from them.

4. Disavow the links on GSC

The following things are not uncommon in the SaaS universe of link building –

  1. The webmasters not replying to your requests of removing your links.
  2. The webmasters demanding money to remove backlinks to you from their site.

Although the first situation is understandable, the second situation could happen for many reasons. The most common reason is when your competitors have paid back-hat link-building firms to place you in questionable sites to reduce your authority.

Also, there are many website owners who run these kinds of sites to blackmail businesses and other sites to make profits.

In either case, reaching out to them will not yield a solution. Fortunately, Google has a great solution for this. First, create a list of all the links you wish not to be associated with in the desired format.

Then, go to GSC and upload that file to disavow those links. Google will understand that these links have been built without your permission and are not approved by you. As a result, the backlinks from these websites will not be considered while evaluating the domain ranking of your website.

Keep in mind that this is the last resort. Google also recommends communicating with webmasters and getting your backlinks removed.

So, to sum things up, there are four steps to removing spammy backlinks to your website –

  1. Audit your backlink profile and download all the details.
  2. Recognize the parameters that make a backlink “toxic” to identify them.
  3. Contact the webmasters and request them to remove the backlink.
  4. If #3 doesn’t work, disavow those links in GSC.

Even though the steps are quite simple and straightforward, they will take a lot of time, money and effort on your behalf to fix the issue. But, luckily, there is a way to prevent all that.

Word to the wise

You don’t have to do any of the above if you built links by following white hat practices in the first place! If your team lacks the expertise or bandwidth, you can always reach out to an agency for high-quality link-building services.

By starting off on the right foot and building links through the right methods, you avoid any potential problem with spammy backlinks. Not to mention, white-hat link-building tactics will increase your domain authority faster helping you rank higher.

We hope that this post has helped you to take the steps to remove spammy backlinks from your website and take preventive measures to avoid their occurrence.

77 thoughts on “4 Steps To Removing Spammy Backlinks from Your Website”

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