Find Bad Backlinks and Remove Them

Find bad backlinks and remove themI am going to show you a real quick way to find bad backlinks pointing to your site. Then I will show you how to remove them in order to push your site up Google SERPs.

So who is this tutorial for;

  • Anyone that hasΒ seen a recent rank drop
  • If your site has been penalised and removed from Google index
  • Anyone that wants to check the quality of their backlinks

It’s really good practice to do a backlink audit on a regular basis. This way you can identify low quality links early and have them removed.

By removed I mean “Disavow” them. This is your chance to ask Google bot to ignore certain backlinks pointing to your site.

The links are not removed, they are simply ignored by Google bot.

After you submit these links to Google it can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks before you see any rank change.

You are going to use one tool; SEO SpyGlass, it is free to use, so there is no reason not to have it.

The quality of the backlinks that point to your site play a very big part in your rank. We are going to locate the low quality backlinks, then remove them.

This in turn will push your site up the SERPs to where it deserves to be.

I am going to use my Amazon affiliate site as an example for this tutorial. I took the lazy route when ranking this particular site, so it certainly has some backlinks that need to be removed.

I am going to use SEO SpyGlass to locate the poor low quality backlinks.

This is very easy to do, you can have this done in 5 minutes.

Find Bad Backlinks with SEO SpyGlass

First of all, get yourself a copy of SEO SpyGlass.

Now go ahead and power up the software.

Enter Website URL to analyse

Enter the website URL for SEO SpyGlass to analyze. Then hit the “Next” button and wait for the software to do its thing.

Backlink Data Collected Successfully

You will then see the total number of backlinks found. Hit the “Finish” button.

Backlink Profile

Now you will see a page that displays your total backlinks, the number of domains that those backlinks come from and also your C-BLOCK IPs.

select the backlinks tab

Now select the “Backlinks” tab (circled red).

Link Penalty Risk

Now select the “Link penalty risk” tab (circled red).

If you look down the “Penalty Risk” column you will notice that they all have a penalty risk of 0%. We need to update the factors to have the software asses the links.

To do this we simply select the top backlink on the list, hold down your “SHIFT” button and hit the down arrow key on your keyword. We want to select all the links on the list to have them analysed.

Update Link Factors

Make sure that you have all the backlinks selected.

Now hit the “Update Factors” button (circled in red).

Choose Backlink Factors

You can now choose the backlink factors that you want the software to asses. I make sure everything is selected, which is the default option.

Then hit the “Next” button.

Backlink Factors Have Been Updated

Now hit the “Finish” button. This might take some time to complete, depending on how many backlinks you have to analyse. It took SEO SpyGlass six and a half minutes to analyse 121 backlinks for me. Of course this will also depend on the speed of your internet connection.

View Penalty Risk Backlinks

Now toggle the “Penalty Risk” tab to get the high risk domains at the top of your list.

All backlinks with a penalty risk of 30% or above are going to be removed. These are considered to be low quality links.

All backlinks with a penalty risk of 60% and over will be marked as red and require immediate action, these links are going to seriously hurt your rank.

As you can see from the image above, my Amazon affiliate site has 5 backlinks with a penalty risk of 30% or more.

Removing these five backlinks will give my site a little jump up the SERPs.

If you have a few low quality backlinks the first step that you should take is to contact the website owner and ask them to remove the backlink.

I can see clearly that someone has tried to destroy the rank of my Amazon affiliate site by dropping some very low quality Russian backlinks to it. I most certainly did not purchase or build those backlinks, so let’s get them removed and push the site up the SERPs.

To do this I am going to Disavow the links, which I will show you next. You need to create a Disavow file to submit to Google, the good news is that SEO SpyGlass will do this for you πŸ™‚

Select The Bad Backlinks

First of all you need to select the backlinks that you want to remove. Simply hold down the “SHIFT” key and scroll down with the “DOWN ARROW” key.

The backlinks that you want to remove should be highlighted, as shown in the image above.

Right Click Over Bad Backlinks

Now right click on your mouse button over the links that you want to Disavow. Then select the “Disavow backlink(s)” option.

Disavow Entire Domain

I have selected “Entire Domain”. I do not want any backlinks from these domains associated with my Amazon affiliate site. You can select “Backlink” to Disavow that particular URL. I prefer to Disavow the entire domain.

You can also add a comment, this will also be added to the disavow file. This is optional, so I will leave it blank.

Now hit the “OK” button.

Select Preferences

Now select “Preferences” from the top menu. Then select “Disavow/Blacklist backlinks…” from the drop down menu list.

Export Backlinks to Disavow

You should now see the backlinks that you have selected to disavow.

Click on the “Export” tab. This will allow you to save the Disavow file to your PC. Then you can upload it to Google search console.

Save File

Name your file and hit the “Save” button. Make sure you save as a .txt file.

Now we need to upload the file to Google Console.

Go ahead and log into Google via the disavow links tool page.

Make sure you sign into the Google account that has your website logged in the Webmaster Tools section.

Select Site to Disavow Links

Now select the website that you want to Disavow links for. Then hit the “DISAVOW LINKS” button.

Hit Disavow links button

Read through the words of warning, then hit the “Disavow Links” button if you wish to continue.

Choose Disavow File

Now hit the “Choose File” button and locate the file that we saved from SEO SpyGlass earlier.

Open Disavow File

Now hit the “Open” button.

Submit Disavow File

Now you need to hit the “Submit” button.

Success Message

Wait a few seconds, then you will be presented with a submission message.

I have successfully uploaded a disavow links file containing 5 domains.

Then hit the “Done” button and you are all set to rank up.

It’s very easy to find bad backlinks pointing to your site.

This is a nice easy way to find low quality backlinks that are hurting your rank.

Another little trick for you to perform to help you rank up πŸ™‚

Watch the video for more information on how to Disavow links:

92 thoughts on “Find Bad Backlinks and Remove Them”

  1. Just what I needed, I used your web 2.0 backlinks post to rank my website top for my keywords and then a competitor hit my site with what looks like GSA backlinks, thousands of them. I removed them using this walkthrough guide and my ranking came back to top. Thank you for all your work done.

    • That happens quite a lot actually, a lot more than it should. It’s a shame competitors can’t concentrate on building or earning quality backlinks to their own website rather than wasting time to destroy someone else’s hard work.

  2. My site got hit with GSA and it bombed down the SERPs. I found your post and it gave me hope to get my ranking back, I thought all was lost. I did the disavow links method and my site ranking came back to where it was. It took 3 weeks to return after I submitted the disavow file to Google console.

    • Yes it’s good to know that there is a way to make Google bot ignore links. Good to hear your ranking came back up, it does take a little time after the disavow file is submitted, but as everyone knows seo requires a lot of patience.

  3. My website got a lot of spam links recently and I used this method to get them removed and get my ranking back. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes sometimes our sites will get spammed with poor backlinks and we will need to disavow them to get our rankings back. Glad you found the post useful.

  4. Thanks Nick,
    Can you make a new details post about new proven usage of web 2.0 which you use recently because I need to follow it. Your all posts are so much good and also your comments and replies are so much helpful to me. Keep it up. I have one more question that I have 6 pages on my money site may I use same web 2.0 backlinks on each url and bought same seoclerk gigs or change the algo. please advice. thanks

    • I have a few new strategies in the making, I will reveal all soon in a new post πŸ™‚ You can use the same web 2s to rank different pages on the same money site yes.

  5. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for such gr8 post i just order 50 tumblr seoclerk gig on directly on my money site which you share in the post. is it good idea or bad please help me thanks

  6. Hi Nick,

    I have send you an email about 1 or 2 question that I can’t share in public.

    Please check it whenever you get the time.

    Will wait for reply.

  7. there is no update factors on seo spyglass. i have tried it severally and i need your help ranking one of my site as we said earlier. but it seems is not possible with you now.

    • Hi Jerome, I have been very busy with another project…writing content etc….I am going to take a look through my emails now…it’s possible I have missed it. Send me what you need to know and I will get back to you πŸ™‚

  8. Nick, I saw comments for all articles but this one are closed, is there a reason for that ? Maybe the blogs take too much of your time as it has grown considerably.

    • Hi Rinti, comments are not closed for any post…I am still taking and replying to them…as the blog has grown it is taking up a lot of my time…I hope to drop some new content soon for you guys to read…

  9. Hey Nick, I need a quick help here.

    I indexed 2 web2.0 posts using google url submit but they drop off the index after a few days. I checked them by putting the posts urls in the search bar. These 2 posts have unique handwritten content.

    So, do I need to index them again with url submit for them to stick or do tier 2 backlinks (wiki links) to help them index again?


  10. Hey Nick, I’ve got a little off topic question from this post, but I’ve wrote you an email almost a week ago and didn’t get a reply. So I will ask here if that is not a problem..

    I’m using the fresh web 2.0 strategy.

    1. Can I add expired tumblrs with high PA as Tier 3 linking to the tier 2 blogger post and if yes what anchors should I use?
    2. For the third month I post the third tier 1 article on the same websites that I’ve made on the first month or I go and create new websites on other web2 platforms?

    Thank you for your time!

  11. Hello Nick,

    I have heard that Google has made a recent update and is now focusing on backlinks from PBN sites. Have you had any drops because of this?


  12. I have send you email since 24hrs as you asked me to and waiting to move on from there. Am the guy that mistakingly used Brad as name here

  13. Hi Nick,

    I am looking for something like “White hat SEO technique”. I just have to know what kind of ‘White hat SEO technique you use personally’ to rank keywords and also what would be best way to get backlinks from guest posting.

  14. So Nick.

    Can we consider this as a black hat backlinks strategy that we build with expired tumblr and web 2.0 etc to rank our sites.

    I mean is it safe or harm or what.

    • All web 2 are safe if you have the login details, you can remove the links with ease, it is safe for that reason. Any backlink that you build yourself is blackhat, you are not supposed to do it…however the alternative….sit and wait for the links to come is not an option…in most cases it will never happen, especially with affiliate sites..

  15. Hi,
    Good information. Pitty SEOspyglass only gets a tiny fraction of all back-links. How do you add back-links you get from other databases like AHREFS and Majestic SEO.
    You should probably add some section in this article on how to add other back-links into spyglass for analysis. Otherwise good job.
    By the way your site is popular now, you need a search box to help your readers easily find things they may want to cross-reference…

  16. Hi Nick,

    I often heard using ‘white hat SEO strategy” helps to maintain ranking even after algorithm changes and ranking stays for long and all those sorts of things but I did not understood the actual meaning of it. What does it mean ‘White hat SEO strategy”. Is it mean playing safe to google when it comes to ranking. I know that I have asked you dumb question but this thing is really going straight over my head.

    • White hat seo is more than likely “Guest Posts” for backlinks, every backlink you build yourself is black hat, paid backlinks are black hat too of course. I suppose White Hat is promoting your content to other webmasters in your niche and asking for a backlink…either by finding broken links and asking the website to replace the broken link with yours or by simply asking if you can guest post for a backlink….still not to big G guidelines…but it’s as white hat as you are going to get πŸ™‚

  17. am very very sad with my rankings, i have 18 websites, and this is my 4th month. and i cant even seem to get closer to 1st page ranks. very very sad. my competitions range from 1-7 using keywordreaveler. help me out this annoying. when am i going to make it in life? over 2 years i have been trying to get my sites to no 1 but i cant. am using tumblrs and blogspot accounts.

    • Hi Brad, keep your chin up. I set Rankers up to help people and that is what I hope I am doing. I have very little time, but I am devoting as much as I can to you guys. Brad, if you need my help we can focus on pushing one of your sites to the top….drop me an email and we will take it from there. When we get one of your site top you will know how to move from there….drop me an email…I will check and get back to you tomorrow πŸ™‚

    • Ummm…. not sure what happened here – but that comment – not from me lol

      I have no idea why it has my account on it, but that’s not a comment from me.

  18. Hello Nick,

    If your hovering around 2nd – 3rd rank for a keyword on Google, what is the best method for a little boost to first?

    Would it be some more social media mentions, or blast more GSA links to Tier 2 site? I don’t want to over do it.

    Thank you

    • You need to be very patient when you get to rank 2 or 3, patience will most definitely be your best asset. Don’t do firing a whole load of backlinks at your site, that will only hurt your rank at that point.

      The safe option is most definitely to juice up your Tier 1 backlinks. Find some quality Tumblr blogs and fire them at your Tier 1, this service works a treat for that πŸ™‚

  19. Hi Nick .This is a timely post as I have problems with expired tumblrs seoclerks.i mean the backlinks.

    I learnt a lesson is that to play safe,i ts better to point all exp tumblrs even pbn to a buffer.

    Like I currently redirect all tumblr pbn to a domain or URL shortener and point to my money site and I blasted gsa to boost up tumblr and pbn.

    Tier 1 be safe than sorry.tier 2 I don’t care the quality.
    After I switch to tgis method,i found the backlinkk profile of my site much cleaner rather than pointing exp tumblr pbn to money site.

    I dont spam my tier 1 but tier 2 yes I do.
    Of course,the seller is important in this case but if I am buying(testing) for first time,i will NEver use it as tier 1 links.W by?

    Because of the backlinks qualities issue as mentioned in the above comments.

    It’s not that all seo clerks seller are bad quality but at times one just can’t help to think if it’s good ,it shouldn’t be that cheap.

    But Nick I take your recommendation for gsa links from seoclerks.Actuaaly we don give a damn about gsa quality here.only Indexation is the key here.

    My 2 cents.

    • Hi Jeff, If you don’t have the time to check the backlinks to your expired Tumblrs then it is safe to use a fresh web 2 buffer. However if you come across a Tumblr with a particularly high PA then I would check the backlinks pointing to it, it’s possible there is a high authority site linking to that Tumblr and you want that direct at your money site.

      That’s true about Tier 2, pretty much any links will do within reason. Good to hear your thoughts on this.

      Like you say, it is also good to test seo clerk services on a buffer site first…stay safe πŸ™‚

  20. Hi Nick!

    When I analyse the page on SEO Spyglass it shows me 276 backlinks and in the bottom left it says and 1774 backlinks. Is there a way to see the rest of the links somehow? I am sure there is lots of spam in there.

    • Hi Dean, you only get a certain set number of backlinks shown in the free version…you need to upgrade to find unlimited backlinks per site. You will need to use ahrefs and export them into Bad Link Buster at SupaGrowth for a completely free analysis.

  21. Thanks for the info nick.
    I realize that seo spy glass don’t show web 2.0 backlinks so is there any other way to check if you got low quality web 2 tumblrs or any other web 2.0?

  22. And another add to my last comments. Is it possible to buy quality links to make those tumblers better because when I check those with Moz site explorer some of those expired has low spam score and high PA.

    • Like I say, most Tumblrs are good. Just make sure that they have high PA, don’t worry about any other metrics. Be concerned about putting quality content on your Tier 1 Tumblrs. If you want to be 100% safe use fresh Web 2s on Tier 1 as a buffer, then fire all your high PA Tumblrs to the Tier 1 sites…then all Tumblrs are good no matter what their backlink profile is like πŸ™‚

      • Thank you Nick, I will try to build buffer and hit’em hard with expired ones. Is it okay to just build 5 fresh web 2.0/money site with 300-500 word Hand written content and can I hit those buffer sites like 100-150 hand written expired Tumblrs?

        • No problem at all πŸ™‚ It’s the safest option to use a buffer, if you find some expired Tumblrs with strong backlinks from authority sites like huffingtonpost, wikipedia or wikihow and such then use them at your money site. You can blast away at your buffers, any will do. It is a good idea to build 5 quality fresh web 2 on tier 2, add unique hand written content and you are good to rank up. You can use unique spun articles on Tier 2, I’m having some good results with seo content machine, it drops readable content and uses their in-built spinner called soft spin, which is exactly what it does, and it produces unique yet readable content, perfect for Tier 1. You can also use seo content machine for Tier 1, takes a bit longer to do, but it works…you can build up a decent 500 word article in 10 to 20 minutes.

          • Okay, thank you for your answer. Is it okay to use Finnish language fresh web 2.00 buffers and hit them with English spun content in Tier 2?

            • I would translate spun content on Tier 2 from English into Finnish if you can, if not you will be okay. Will be better if it is in Finnish.

  23. Add to last comment. So it would is basically bad for my site to build any of those tumblr links because even the fresh Tumblr-blogs seems to have high penalty risk. I mean do I really have to disallow them all and basically I have done hours of work for nothing.

    • Fresh Tumblrs should not have high penalty risk, if the content is good then you will be okay. You don’t have to disavow any of them.

      0 to 30% Links on seo spyglass are classed as little risk detected, they are safe.
      30 to 70% Links have only potential harm. This means they don’t have to be removed. It means they could be harmful to your site and they need to be looked into. Then you should look at the links yourself, do they come from spam Chinese sites or something bad like that. You need to decide if action is to be taken, most Tumblrs will be okay.
      70 to 100% Links do need immediate action, these links really do need to be removed ASAP.

  24. Hi, and thanks for the article. It was surprising that many of the expired tumblrs bought from Seoclerks have penalty risk above 30% or equal. So, how I am able to spot good ones for actual use if I buy those from seoclerks? I think that is one serious question, because you are kind of advertising those gigs here and I am looking for your answer ASAP.

    • If the Tumblrs are indexed then you can pretty much be certain that they are okay to use. You just need to check their backlink profile, any porn or Chinese backlinks pointing to them then do not use.

      All high PA Tumblrs are good, it all depends how you use them. If you use them to power up another Tier 1 web 2 site then any can be used. I don’t advertise anything here that I would not use myself.

      Quality unique content on Tier 1 on good spam free domains and you will be okay. Tier 2 you can let the quality slip a little, drop any Tumblr to your Tier 1 web 2s.

      All Tumblrs will be of use, just be clever in the way you use them.

  25. Hi thanks for this information and but i have a problem whit spyglass because dont detect all backlink, i see i ahrefs my profile backlinks and this tool show me 600+ backlinks and spyglass only show 3 πŸ™ backlinksSwhat happens here ? thank for your sopport.

  26. Hi Nick,

    Greta post about how these bad backlinks can hurt our website in the long run specially if we don’t take any action. Also I had a question regarding backlinks. After submitting backlinks to index. I found out that some of the backlinks I can’t see in google but they are showing in “Site Linking” section of “Google search console” so what does it mean.They are indexed or not.

    • Hi Tushar, If the backlinks are not in the SERPs they are not indexed. If they are showing in the site linking section of your Webmaster Tools then big G knows about the links. If they do not hit the index it means that you have duplicate content or you have a spam domain. It’s bad news, because big G now knows about your spam backlinks, although you can remove them with ease πŸ™‚

  27. Hi Nick, loved your article…used the tool on my money site and found that most of my expired tumblr links are showing as Penalty Link, some upto the extent of 70….BTW I connected my google account and found more backlinks…..Any recommendation what should I do for these links?

    • Thanks David, those Tumblrs will probably have low quality porn backlinks pointing to them. SEO SpyGlass will not find all backlinks, which is a shame. You will need to do a manual audit of all other backlinks, make sure that they are;

      relevant to your site (if they are un related ask for them to be removed)
      not poor Chinese and Russian links
      not article directories
      not from a penalised site (pop the domain into Google search, if the site is not indexed then it has been Penalised by big G)

      You can add poor backlinks to the Disavow file that you created with SEO Spyglass.

      If you don’t have time you can try

  28. Good stuff to know. Cheers, Nick.

    I’ve always read conflicting opinions about whether or not you should disavow links. A lot of the SEO guys I’ve spoken to say that if it’s not a massive amount of spam that you should just focus on building new, high quality links to offset the bad ones.

    That only applies when you’re talking about small volumes, though. Obviously if you’ve created or been hit with 100s or 1000s of bad links you’re not really going to be able to outmatch those.

    • No problem Brad. It’s a good idea to do a link audit, if you have some really low quality links in there above 60% you really should ask the webmaster to remove them…if all else fails you do need to disavow them.

    • That made me smile πŸ™‚ It’s been a while, just had no time to write a new one….got loads planned…just no time. I will get them all out eventually. Hope this post helps you rank up.


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