4 Types of Harmful Backlinks You Need to Avoid

Who said backlinking is a definite advantage for all websites?

Poor quality backlinks can cause more harm than good. Irrespective of the strength of your SEO game, if your backlinks are damaged, broken, or irrelevant, Google’s algorithm will push you to the lower end of SERPs.

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Freepik.com image adapted by Market Business News.

The core purpose of backlinks is to establish a better authority score and increase site rankings. If your backlinks are not of high authority sites and are flagged for poor user intent satisfaction, all your SEO efforts are in vain.

As a website owner who is attempting to drive more traffic organically, you need to master the art of identifying low-quality backlinks. Begin by studying your backlink profile, which can be accessed via SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush.

In order to avoid placing backlinks with a high toxic score, consider taking the help of a link building service to minimize the possibility of risks.

Here are common website types that are assured to lower your ranking:

Penalized Websites

How is one supposed to identify websites that are penalized?

You can either use SEO tools for a detailed report of link quality or look at the number of indexed results on SERPs. This data will be visible right above the first suggestion of your search query. If the value for indexed results shows as zero (or a minimal number), then the website has been penalized by Google for inappropriate practices.

Google needs to satisfy its audience. The Google PageRank algorithm will put a penalty on the website if any website uploads erroneous, plagiarized, misinformed, or any type of spammy content.

If your website receives plenty of irrelevant links, you can find yourself with a ridiculously low indexed score.

Google’s algorithms are flawless and would not fail to judge content quality based on user intent satisfaction. Placing even one link from such penalized websites will lead to negative effects on your domain authority too.

In the rare event, you do manage to get past the algorithm; the webspam team will ensure your website is filtered out and penalized.

Websites With No Relevant Niche As You

Getting a link from a website that carries no relevance to your niche is also damaging to your domain score. Google has implemented a high-end Artificial Intelligence algorithm to study the content on a page by calculating the number of relevant keywords, data, image relevance, link quality, etc.

Placing a food recipe website’s link on a video game website will affect the latter and lead to a drop in domain authority. This is because you are misleading Google’s users by sending them to inconsequential webpages.

There are two ways to filter out highly off-topic links from your website:

  • Google Search Console allows website owners to monitor alternative links that are placing links to the owner’s website.

There are indicators that denote how relevant is a link to your core niche.

  • SEO tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, Yoast SEO, etc. have a feature that automatically red flags links that are of no consequence to your website. This makes it easier to filter out the noise and keep only relevant link-building schemes active.

Low Domain & Page Authority Websites

  • Domain authority (DA) comes in the score range of 0 to 100 and is an indicator of a website’s ability to rank higher on SERPs. The score is determined based on several factors, such as link origins, individual DAs of links, content relevance, etc. Higher the score, the better the link. Typically, links with a DA above 60 are considered good.

Any website with a DA of below 60 will not be really effective in helping you rank higher. On the contrary, low DA links could have negative links on your websites DA.

  • Page authority (PA) is also stated in a score range of 0 to 100. The key difference is that this score states the authority level or relevance of an individual webpage. It is determined by calculating over 40 factors such as alt tags, images, external links, quality and updated content, page length, etc.

If you recently got into the website ranking race, then it is fine to have low DA and PA pages. But make sure to include your DA and PA score to your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Doing guest posting, paid posting, and increased engagement with websites within your niche would increase the score.

Make a goal to increase your DA and PA every month and keep a constant track of websites that are ranking consistently well.

Ubersuggest is a free and easy-to-use tool (simply copy-paste the URL) to check DA of websites.

Low Traffic & Engagement Websites

There are two reasons that getting links from low traffic websites is not a good decision:

  • The fact that these websites fail to divert a significant amount of traffic is reason enough to believe that users are not likely to access these links.
  • Due to the poor traffic, these links do not contribute to your website’s SEO game. On the contrary, it deteriorates the quality of your SEO campaign.

Each link that is diverted to your website must have a fairly decent amount of traffic to help you to be even considered to appear higher in SERPs.

Keeping an eye on the engagement statistics of your referring domain can lead to quicker and more effective linking strategies. As content gets uploaded and new competitors enter the market, traffic metrics start to fluctuate big time.

Consider using Alexa’s or Ahrefs data traffic tools to track such metrics.

If you’re in the game of affiliate marketing and are having a tough time generating consistent revenue, then click here to find out more about established SEO and linking processes.


Now that you’re aware of the kind of backlinks that harm your website, you can focus your energies on collecting quality backlinks. Besides, even simply removing these harmful backlinks will relieve you of a possible penalty by Google’s algorithm.

Finally, the worst would be when a competitor points out your poor backlinks in a desperate attempt to lower your ranking. Make sure to periodically monitor your backlinks to avoid such occurrences.

Interesting related article: “What is SEO?