In 2020, the main ranking factors in Western SEO remained content and links. This year will be no exception. When it comes to content, it’s easy enough to distinguish obvious spam. The situation with links is much more difficult: antispam works less obviously, there are many more link factors and it is more difficult to influence them. As a result, any content, even the most expert content, can be killed with toxic links.
First of all, let’s clarify that if you find “bad” links to your site, which are discussed in the article, do not rush to delete or reject them through Google Search Console. Perhaps a poor-quality link can be reanimated by correcting the anchor or re-posting it on the same donor, only on a different page and in a different place.
When a backlink can harm your resource?
The link is surrounded by irrelevant text and placed on a non-thematic page
Search engines are sensitive to the relevance of the results, this principle also applies to the placement of links. It is no longer enough to place a link “just wherever” – it must correspond to the text with which it is surrounded. Otherwise, the page to which the links from non-thematic resources may be pessimistic.
A large number of links with direct commercial anchors
Commercial anchors are considered spam if they are placed on a page without dilution. Aggressive link building using only direct commercial anchors or with a large predominance of them threatens the site with manual or automatic penalties. In most topics, except for the gray hat and black hat niches, as a rule, a large number of direct anchors are not necessary. You can reach the TOP with the help of several direct and diluted commercial anchors with a predominance of non-anchor links.
Broken links are pages with a 404 error. An error occurs if the server cannot find the data requested by the user. For example, the page was deleted or its URL was changed. Try to make sure that the pages on your site to which the links are put, give the code 200. Otherwise, it will be a pity if your expensive outreach does not work because of a simple technical error. You can check your site for pages with 404 errors using Google Search Console, Serpstat, Netpeak Spider, and other services.
Link from the hacked site
Such a link is usually placed on WordPress sites with an insufficiently strong admin password, which is easy to guess. There are hundreds of thousands of sites like this on the Internet. Modern methods of hacking sites allow you to put the desired link on them in such a way that the owner of the resource will never find it. Nevertheless, it is not recommended to order the promotion of such links for your resource, especially in the white hat niche. In the worst case, it can even turn into criminal prosecution.
Link from the site under sanctions
A link from a donor that has received sanctions from a search engine harms your resource. Especially if the sanctions were imposed precisely for links. It is impossible to recognize a donor site that has been filtered without access to Google Search Console. But you can understand this by indirect signs, for example, by a sharp drop in traffic and keys in the TOP by Ahrefs (the “Organic search” tab).
Link from a site that links to gray hat or black hat niches
It is advisable to check the potential donor not only its external links – the sources of its Page Rank, but also internal ones – those to which the site links. It is possible that inside the site you can find links to porn resources, online games, betting. Check the site for such links is easy enough. You can do this in Ahrefs in the Outgoing Links – Anchors. To do this, type a spam key, such as “casino” into the search bar and see what comes up.
Link from a site with a bad link profile
It is very important to evaluate the SEO parameters of a future donor through the prism of its external links, from where it gets Page Rank and Trust Rank. If it has a growing number of domains donors, it means that the project is developing and can share its Page Rank with others.
Now you know which links are unnecessary for your resource. Try to avoid them and build high-quality backlinks: from thematic, growing blogs, submissions, crowd links. Don’t forget about the dynamics of placing and the variety of the anchor list.