Nikita Ovcinnikovs

Bad Backlinks And Quality Assessment On Google And Yandex

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Backlinks are an important SEO tool to improve rankings and visibility online, and having a good number of quality backlinks on your website is a sign to search engines that yours is a high-quality site. However, backlinks don’t always come from trustworthy sources, and when this happens it can lead to penalisation by search engines.

Over time, more and more people have started buying links in order to achieve better rankings and visibility. This has led to the widespread buying of low-quality links, which pushed Google to introduce the Penguin algorithm to identify any bad backlinks it comes across.

How Google penalises low-quality links

1. Personalised approach – manual penalty

A member of the Google team assesses your link profile and applies a manual penalty, which can include competitors’ spam reports and link profiles. You normally receive a notification when a penalty has been applied to your website.

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2. Algorithmic link spam penalty

This type of penalty is carried out by Google’s Penguin filter. You will see a sharp decline in your organic traffic, which will be strongly affected.

How to spot bad links

Unfortunately, there is no set method to know which links will be penalised by Google. The best method is to spot bad links and remove them manually. Some of the things to look out for are inconsistent directories, links to spammy websites (especially in blog comments), and any links to irrelevant sites or low-quality content.

A quality rating assessment of your links will help you to identify bad links, and attributing a quality score to your links and splitting them into groups will make this process easier. This, however, should be an ongoing and regular activity.

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Removing bad links

There are various ways to get rid of your bad links:

1. Wait it out

If the bad links aren’t your fault, Google will remove them once webmasters become aware of the problem.

2. Cut them off

If you don’t have much time, you should simply remove the bad links. However, if you do not have control over the sites, contacting the webmasters is your best bet.

3. Remove the pages in question

If the bad links are positioned on deep pages, you can remove those pages and return a 404 error.

4. Introduce more quality links

By adding more links of high quality and authority to your website, you will gradually degrade the bad backlinks. Collating good quality links, however, takes time, so this may not be the best option.

If, after following all the steps above, you are still getting penalised by Google, you might want to appeal for reconsideration. Google also has its own link disavowal tool, which lets you report links you would like to disavow.

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Ultimately, a good website audit will reveal any suspicious links, and doing this regularly will ensure that you limit your chances of getting penalised.

Bad backlinks on Yandex

The Russian search engine Yandex also condemns link buying practices and its machine-learning algorithm for ranking pages attributes negative scores to websites which do this. When it comes to links, Yandex doesn’t just punish sellers, but buyers too. The tips we listed above for getting rid of bad backlinks will also work with Yandex.

Yandex has no plans to introduce a link disavowal tool, and removing bad links manually is your best bet. Paying attention to your backlinks and ensuring they are of the very highest quality will help you avoid any penalisation from search engines.

Nikita Ovcinnikovs

Nikita Ovcinnikovs

Senior PPC Project Coordinator at Webcertain
Originally from Latvia, Russian-bred Nikita has lived in multiple countries across the world from Denmark to Canada, and graduated with an International Business Management degree from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, UK. He joined Webcertain just over a year ago and he is currently responsible for delivering multilingual PPC projects on time and to the highest quality. Amongst other responsibilities, Nikita takes care of processing, coordinating and delivering multiple PPC orders by working closely with account managers, junior staff and linguists to make sure everything is delivered neatly and in a timely manner. Nikita is passionate about all things tech, digital and marketing.
Nikita Ovcinnikovs

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