When was the last time you audited backlinks for your blog or website? And how can you tell whether or not a backlink needs to be disavowed? You need to have a basic understanding of when and how to disavow bad backlinks because Google might penalize you if you do it wrong.
Relevant sites linking to your domain play a vital role in improving your Google rankings. But non-relevant ones may end up pulling down your rankings and Google will penalize you for it. We consulted SEO experts regarding the appropriate time to disavow bad backlinks and here’s a roundup of their advice. Here is a tutorial, as well on how to disavow backlinks.
According to SEO experts, the following signs are a clear indication that it’s time to disavow bad backlinks:
1. When Links Have a Malicious Code
When you’re investigating links to determine if they need to be disavowed, you’ll want to visit them. Exercise absolute caution when doing this because spam sites can as well have a malicious code that could infect your PC. That means having an ad blocker is important before you visit any shady link.
You will also want to install and turn on a non-script plugin along with a good antivirus program before you visit malicious sites. One of the high priority red flags determining bad backlinks is a malicious code. No matter how good the site looks, you should disavow a bad backlink immediately if it prompts the site to execute malicious scripts.
2. When the Linking Site Has No Google Indexing
Google might not index a site for the following reasons:
- The site intentionally uses a no-index tag to block Google
- The site is too new and Google is yet to locate it
- Google has flagged it as spam and has been delisted
Generally, you should perform a basic search to determine if a site linking to you is indexed and shows up in Google. Plug in a site into Google and see what comes up. If Google has delisted it, it’ll not show up and that’s a worthy indication of a bad backlink that should be disavowed.
3. The Link Has Little or No Domain Authority
One of the ideal link metrics determining the power and value of a whole domain is the domain authority. Google algorithms rank the DA on a scale of 0-100. Anything below a score of 10 is likely to be spam.
You should also understand that the DA scores for certain good-but-small sites can be low. For that reason, a low DA score alone isn’t quite adequate to blacklist a domain. You should combine the DA score with other metrics before you decide to disavow a backlink.
4. The Linking Page Features Stolen Content
You may find a link that looks fine, but certain elements like the URL, the construction of the page, or the branding make you a little skeptical. Google will punish you if the content on the linking page is plagiarized or stolen. One test to perform is to run the content through Copyscape.
You can also Google part of the content to determine whether or not the content is stolen. Copyscape or Google can easily show you the identity of the original source of the content. You should disavow bad backlinks that steal content to avoid penalty from Google.
5. The Link Infringes on Google’s Linking Guidelines
Google has set aside clear guidelines and practices for linking. There are several of them, and you must adhere to all of them to stay safe. You should go ahead and disavow any bad backlinks that go against one or more of Google guidelines and rules regarding linking.