4 Simple Steps to Remove Bad Backlinks from Your Website

When it comes to link building, there are domains you can get a backlink from that can cause your website some trouble. These are bad backlinks, and you don’t want them on your website. You have to remove bad backlinks from your website to prevent manual action from Google.

Removing bad backlinks is one way to keep a healthy backlink profile. Maintaining the quality of your backlinks is important to rank your website on SERPs.

There are simple ways to remove these potentially malicious backlinks from your link profile. To keep them under control, you have to monitor your backlinks and check which links fall short of the requirements.

The first thing to do to remove bad backlinks from your site is to check if your website is at risk from them. You have to find the backlinks and remove them asap.

Find Bad Backlinks on Your Website

What makes a backlink “bad”? Well, these websites are labeled as bad links because they don’t comply with Google’s Webmaster guidelines. And to find and remove bad backlinks from your link profile, you have to use some SEO tools.

Here are some of the tools you can use to find bad backlinks on your website:

When you find these notorious backlinks, you have to list the URLs and collate them for the Google Disavow tool (more on this later). Once you disavow a link, there’s no way to get it back (unless you build it back).

That’s why it’s important to identify which links to remove and retain. You don’t want to remove a good backlink from your link profile.

NOTE: When you search for bad links on your site, double-check the result that you get from these tools. Some websites are low-rated because they’re startups. And that does not necessarily mean that these websites don’t have quality content.

Are Bad Backlinks Negative SEO?

Yes, bad backlinks are negative SEO. But before jumping to the different ways to remove backlinks. Let us first understand negative SEO and how it affects your website.

Negative SEO, also known as “Black hat SEO,” is the process of putting anyone’s website down by tarnishing with search engine rankings and Google. Throughout the years, negative SEO has come with different techniques. Previously it was limited to just hijacking someone’s website or questionable ads. But now, negative SEOs can be creating toxic and spammy backlinks to someone’s website, website content scrapping, removing website backlinks, and fake and negative reviews.

Throughout the year, Google has improved its backend to spot negative SEO techniques. In 2012, Google rolled out the “link disavow” feature that notifies Webmasters about spammy and unnatural backlinks. The tool also allows webmasters to accept or deny the backlinks coming to their website.

The best way to save your website from negative SEO is by following these techniques:

  • Enable your notifications from Google Search Console (GSC)
  • Secure your website against malware
  • Keep a check on your backlinks
  • Always check on your social media mentions, etc.

Now that you know about Negative SEO and how bad backlinks are negative SEO for your website. Let us see the easy methods to remove these bad backlinks.

READ MORE: Backlinks Management 101

Follow These Steps to Remove Bad Backlinks

Remove Bad Backlinks
Remove Bad Backlinks

1. Find the Origin of the Bad Backlink

It’s important to identify the domains for these malicious links on your site. Using the tools mentioned earlier, you can also find the domain when trying to remove bad backlinks. You can inspect the website and see for yourself if it poses a threat to your SEO.

The data you can pull from these tools will be essential to start your investigation against these websites. All you have to do is to input the URL of your website and check your backlink profile. Any backlink that looks spammy will be put under investigation.

Investigate if the website looks spammy and check the backlink profile of the referring domain. Check for other black hat SEO techniques that can be the cause of a low-quality website. Also, check the website’s content and assess whether it looks spammy or not.

Once you’ve confirmed that these backlinks are harmful to your website, list them down and proceed to the next step of this guide.

2. Find the Contact Information on the Website

This is the easiest part to do to remove bad backlinks from your website. All you have to do is to find a way to contact the owner of the spammy backlink. From here, you can talk to the webmaster directly to voice your concerns.

There are tools online that you can use to find email addresses for different domains. One of which is Hunter.io where you can find the email addresses of your referring domains. However, it’s a paid service, but you can also use it for other outreach and link-building purposes.

You can find professional email addresses of your referring domains through this online tool.
You can find professional email addresses of your referring domains through this online tool.

Once you find the contact information, you can now politely ask them to remove the backlink you have from them. You can proceed to the next step after finding the necessary contact details from this tool.

3. Politely Ask Them to Remove bad Backlinks

Now, you have to talk to the owner of the website and let them know of the situation at hand. It’s a give-and-take matter at this point, so you don’t have to be shy about it. Approach them kindly and tell them that, during your website assessment, you’ve noticed that the backlink from one of their pages is broken.

This is also a win for them because they’ll be notified of a broken page. If they can fix it immediately, then you have no problem with the broken backlink. If they can’t, you should ask them to remove bad backlinks to your website.

Example of an email to ask the webmaster if they can remove your backlink.
Example of an email to ask the webmaster if they can remove your backlink.

Make sure to use an email address that has your domain name in it to let the webmaster know what link you’re referring to. You can experiment with the composition of your email to the webmaster, but remember to stay humble and polite with your requests. The sooner you can remove bad backlinks, the better it is for your website.

4. Create a Disavow File to Submit to Google

Usually, the webmaster will respond to your email as this problem also concerns his or her website. However, if they don’t respond, you can disavow the link directly through the Google Disavow tool from Google Search Console.

To disavow links to your site, you must:

  1. Create a .txt file of the backlinks you want to remove. You can also do this by creating a list from tools like Monitor Backlinks and Sitechecker.
  2. Go to the Google Disavow tool.
  3. Upload your list on the tool. Remember that the disavow file should be in 7-bit ASCII or UTF-8 format to be accessible to the tool.
  4. Wait for Google to respond to your request.

It takes some time before you can get a response from Google to your request. If these links get disavowed, Google will not consider these links in ranking your website.


1. How to get rid of bad backlinks on the website?

Here are 4 steps to remove bad backlinks from your website: 
1. Find the Origin of the Bad Backlink.
2. Find the Contact Information on the Website.
3. Politely Ask Them to Remove the Backlink.
4. Create a Disavow File to Submit to Google.

2. Is it important to remove backlinks?

It is crucial to identify and remove bad backlinks from your website to avoid penalties. The best to identify and remove the backlinks is to make a periodic backlink audit to remove and avoid toxic links. 

3. What is a bad backlink? 

A bad backlink is a link that comes from an unreliable website, or through a forced request instead of naturally occurring. These are the links that can harm your website and put it in trouble.

Make Your Site Free from Harmful Backlinks

Spammy backlinks are still a threat to your website and should be removed from your link profile. To remove these links, all you have to do is follow the 4 easy steps listed above.

For faster results, try to manually remove the backlink by contacting the webmaster directly. If you got a response, you can remove those notorious backlinks from your website instantly. If not, you’ll have to wait for Google’s response when disavowing links.

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