We all know that links are the one of the basic foundations of good SEO. This has been the rule since the beginning of search engines. And this is why SEO services in the past focused on creating links or “link building”. However, as any SEO expert knows, things change quickly and things ALREADY have radically changed. What these changes mean is that links that what worked back then no longer work now. In fact, things that worked then can actually be harmful today! So if you have had your website worked on by an SEO company back then, chances are, you will have links that used to bring your site up but are now possibly bringing your site down.

So what are the guidelines for identifying which links are most likely bad for your website?

–       Look for links that are in things such as low quality directories. So how do you figure out which directories or other similar sites are low quality? Simple, if almost anyone can get a link to the site without much effort, then that is your indicator. There are so many link directories in existence that not only are useless to your site, they are also bringing down your rankings, most likely.

–       Check the anchor text and see if it actually makes sense as a phrase or in the sentence it appears in. These things may be small but having links with anchor texts that look like spam (forced, out of context, grammatically incorrect, nonsensical).

–       Check whether the place the link appears has a relevance to your website. If you own a shoe store website that has a link from a realtor website page with nothing whatsoever to do with your website, then chances are that that link is going to bring your rankings down.

–       Observe whether your website rankings increase after your link building campaign. If your rankings are still low, then that is a sure sign that the links you built are probably useless or bad for your website. Evaluate whether the websites with your backlinks have good quality using SEO tools for measuring ranking and authority.

Now, once you have identified the bad backlinks, all that’s left is for you to do an audit. Contact those websites and have your links put down. If the webmasters do now respond, you might want consider the Google Disavow Tool which as its name suggests, will make that bad link irrelevant to your site.


It is important to know just what inbound links are bad. This can help you audit them later or clean up your link present link building endeavours. SEO experts always have to be on their toes because every algorithm change is a big climate shift that changes the game entirely. And though focusing on link building alone is not all what SEO is about, it still remains as the bedrock foundation of any good website ranking. Checking your existing backlinks are always a smart idea especially if your rankings seem to have been affected by the recent Penguin update.