What are Spammy Links?
Spammy links are the low-quality and bad backlinks that you get from a spam website, i.e. link farms, malicious websites, etc. These links can lower the overall authority of your website or the pages that get these backlinks.
These links mostly come from websites that have:
High spam score by Moz
Low domain authority or page authority
Having backlinks from other spammy websites
Hundreds of outgoing links
Why your website has spammy links?
There are several reasons for getting spammy links:
Buying links from spam websites
Sometimes when you are not ready to work on your website consistently and want to see the results instantly, you make use of low authority and spam websites that gives you instant backlinks without any effort.
Getting backlinks is essential to increase your website or page authority in SERPs and to improve your ranking, but keep in mind it takes time to earn quality backlinks.
Another possible reason can be you have hired a marketing company that is working on your website for link building.
In that case, some unauthorised companies do not care about their client’s websites and purchase spam links that instantly boost the ranking – these results are only short term and will ultimately result in a website penalty.
You may get them unintentionally
You may get spammy links unintentionally. Sometimes a competitor may cause damage to your website by linking your website to low-authority or spam websites.
That will result in plenty of spam backlinks from these websites to your site. You may not even know about it that someone else is putting your website at serious risk.
A website with a history of spammy links
If you have purchased a domain with a history of spammy links, you will have to pay its cost in terms of decreased visibility, low quality, and high spam scores.
The second possibility is if you have an enough old website that existed before Google Penguin Update, you may have spammy links pointing towards it.
Irrelevant guest posting websites
Another cause of spammy links is the backlinks from low-quality or irrelevant guest posting websites.
These websites are good in a link-building strategy, but sometimes, you may unknowingly get the links from low-quality guest blog sites.
Their common examples are blog networks and article websites that do not put strict restrictions on websites, and anyone can access them to write a guest post to link back to their website.
Another example is the websites that are created on WordPress subdomains. These websites are solely created for getting a backlink and contain only one to two pages.
The links from these websites may not issue you a penalty, but they will not add any value to it as well.
The links that are acquired from link farms also fall under the category of spammy links. Link farms are groups of websites that are created to link with one another to increase authority.
If you have intentionally or unintentionally obtained a link from a link farm, you are putting your website at risk of a Google penalty.
All low-quality directories that are only intended to give backlinks are recognised as sources of spammy links.
SEOs in the older days used to get backlinks from these directories. Now, if a website receives a backlink from a low authority and irrelevant directory, it will have no importance.
While getting a link from a directory, see if it allows anyone to add their link or has put certain restrictions.
If a directory allows you links without any restrictions or allows everyone to post a link, it may indicate a spam directory. A link from this directory will possibly be a spammy link.
Links from forums and comments
Links from forums and blog commenting have remained a popular practice in past, but now Google does not value these links.
The reason is these forums are irrelevant, allow anyone to add a link, and have no control over the quality.
How to check a website for spammy links?
If you are intentionally involved in any practices mentioned above to create spammy links, you should immediately stop them.
If you are not involved in any kind of spammy link-building practice and not doing it deliberately, you can find them and fix them accordingly.
You must keep an eye on your Google Search Console for any kind of manual action. Google will warn by sending you notifications.
You can manually check if your website traffic is decreasing or its ranking position is dropping. If there is a sudden increase in your backlink profile without your knowledge, it can be an indication of spammy backlinks.
Audit your website and see whether spammy links exist on your website or not. You can use these tools to look for spammy links:
This tool will help you find the spammy backlinks pointing towards your website. Moz gives spam scores to various URLs based on various factors. A score that is above 4 indicates that a website’s link can be spammy.
Google Search Console
Connect your website with GSC and get notifications on manual actions. You may also use GSC to see which sites link back to you in the Links Report section. Now you can investigate those links one by one by adding them in semrush to see their toxic score.
This also allows you to see all the websites that are linking back to you. Ahrefs shows the domain rating and URL rating of the websites in its Backlink Report.
From there, you will learn about the presence of low-quality backlinks from low-authority websites. Just enter your website in its Backlink Checker option and get a detailed report on all the low authority websites pointing towards your website.
Keep in mind a new website may also have a low DR or UR, so it does not always mean that if a website has a low score, it is spammy.
You can examine it manually or use semrush to see its toxic score. To spare a ton of tedious work, it is better to download links from Ahrefs and upload all of them to Semrush to see their “Toxic Score”.
To investigate it manually, look at the following things:
Whether it is relevant to your niche
Anchor text looks natural, relevant and in the same language
Backlinks look natural and point towards the correct page
You don’t have plenty of backlinks from a single website or a page
If all the above-mentioned cases answer “No”, chances are you have a spammy backlink.
How to remove spammy links?
Once you have identified all the spammy links on your website, your next step should be to make a list of all of them.
Now do the following things to fix this issue:
Send a request to the website owner to remove this spammy link
You can use Google Disavow Tool to disregard these spammy links to your website. Just upload the complete list of URLs that you want Google to ignore. After submitting the request, it will take a few weeks to process the request. Once these links are removed, you will see significant improvements in your website performance.
The bottom line
Spammy links belong to poor quality and spam websites that contribute to decreased visibility and ranking and even result in a manual action by Google.
You may have these links on your website even without your knowledge, so regular website monitoring is required.
Identifying them and removing them timely is recommended to avoid severe consequences.