How to Find Bad Links in your Link Profile?

Link building, an essential component of SEO, has changed rapidly over the years owing to the Panda and Penguin updates. Since the first Google Panda update, Google killed many websites for several different reasons and one of the most common reason were the low quality links (shitty links) pointing to the website.


Link Disavow Tool

In Oct 2012 Google launched its most awaited tool called Google Link Disavow tool through which you could exactly notify Google regarding the unwanted links in your link profile confirming that you actually didn’t want Google to crawl or pass the link juice of those links.

The moment this tool was launched webmasters in the SEO industry considered it to be a relief and started to add bad links to links Disavow tool but this happiness didn’t last for long as only a few out of many were able to use this tool successfully!

The major problem was the bad link; there is no straight definition of bad/toxic links in the link profile. People  who aggressively used disavow tool actually added some of the links which were working for them and as a result of this rankings dropped even more instead of getting a positive turn.

How to find a Bad Link?

In a website’s link profile, not all the links are providing the essential link juice that helps to bump up the rankings similarly when a website hits due to penguin penalty, it is almost impossible to know what links are causing this problem!

There is no guide on earth which can catch what links are causing the real problem, so in that case you have to find the bad links in your link profile on basis of some parameters or tools.

Toxic Link Finding Tools!

Bad Links


There are several tools available in the market designed to help you find bad links in your link profile; few that really caught my attention are Link Detox and Link Risk. These are pretty decent tools and I actually thought these would make a webmasters life more easy but while I was working with one of my clients who was undergoing the same issue I found something really weird but interesting!

I used Link Risk for link audits and at the same time my client was using Link Detox; I had no problem mainly because I thought the results of both the tools will be more or less same but the results simply amazed me!

According to link risk the link profile had around 175 bad links whereas Link Detox detected around 1300 bad links in the very same link profile.

This huge difference brought me to the conclusion that toxic link detecting tools are very good indicators but believing that using these tools would make you a victor is almost impossible.

What’s next?

Probably, in order to find corrupt links one should manually audit the link profile keeping some parameters in mind. Here are few of the constraints that I consider as important.

  • Low Quality Links

Low quality link


There are some links in the link profile that descend from appalling link tactics like forum commenting, blog commenting and more. The idea is to find such links pointing to your website with similar anchor texts again and again.

Google gives low priority to links that come through forum signatures and blog comments but on the other hand Google also doesn’t like links that are pointing again and again with exact match anchor text. If you find both or any of these problems available in any link then you probably should consider it a toxic link.

  • Domain MozTrust
Domain Moz Trust


According to, MozTrust measures link trust, receiving links from trustworthy sources, such as the homepages of major university websites or certain government web pages is a strong trust endorsement.

If a website has strong MozTrust, then the link profile of the website is probably powerful and they are getting links from authorized sources. But if you are getting links from a website that has a really low MozTrust then there is a chance that the link is toxic.

  • Low quality Link profile
Low Quality link Profile


Simple, if the link that points to your website has a good profile then no aggressive action is needed but if the website that points to you is itself linked with a bad neighbourhood, in that case you should probably consider adding it in the toxic link section.

  • Irrelevant Links
relevancy of link


Read any blog post or article based on link building guide and it will recommend you to build links keeping the relevancy in mind. Similarly, when searching for toxic links in your link profile always consider links coming from completely irrelevant websites.

Truly speaking, irrelevant links are not really toxic links but they still can hurt your link profile mainly because irrelevant links usually are results of some unnatural tactic which might be a violation to Google quality guidelines.

Whenever searching for toxic links it is important to consider irrelevant links in your link profile.

  • Paid Links
Paid Links


Again, link purchasing violates Google guidelines and Google can take strong action against it. When searching for harmful links in your link profile, it is good to monitor and consider those links that look majorly paid in nature.

The mainly paid links in nature can be the ones that are causing problems in your link profile.

There can be many other parameters like links coming from blog networks and more… but I believe above given are the most important points and if we find those links from the link profile and Disavow them I believe there is a big chance of improvement in terms of getting out of penalty and rank back for the desired keywords in search engine.

Want us to Audit your link profile? Contact us!


About the author


By profession and by hobby I am a SEO Consultant, a search blogger and a link builder, all in one. I am writing across websites all the time, I love working with people from all over the world.


Leave a comment
  • I never jumped on that “disavow tool” train. I don’t have the need to tell Google that “I am or either was bad” :-).
    But most of all it is, and was best practice, to make great content (“Real company shit” – to cite Wil Reynolds).
    Concerning that item I am really on Google’s side and in my opinion they should put more and more effort to show really useful serps to their users.
    But I kind of digress if I talk about that theme….
    I am a big fan of the LinkResearchTools so Link Detox will certainly be a powerful tool / help. Opensiteexplorer is doing a good job, too.

  • Hi Moosa,

    Sorry for this long overdue comment. But here it is.

    It is a fact that I rely on LinkDetox as one of my best buddies doing link cleansing including OSE and Ahrefs data. However; all the metrics we gather to evaluate links are just guides and trends. They are just used for categorization to spot links that do really need to be disavowed and all. Manual link audit still tops our process with metrics and standards set in mind. You are right, nothing beats human enabled audit. Tools are just tools but it is the only user that can actually tell, a suspected link is really bad. I actually blogged about this issue too, It may interests you to read.

  • Hi – I agree you need to use the tool and not rely on it. I would be very interested in working with you through the profile you added and looking at the reasons why we marked what we did.

    We try to ensure that we dont just rely on the metrics and the algo version that you used during beta has been adapted greatly for the live version

    Happy to work with you to look through what you have run though


  • Hello again – I have looked into the profile you ran.

    It was during our beta period and we had turned the metrics off for a specific test process we were doing.

    I have therefore run the profile again with our current scoring and it looks quite different.

    Here is a screengrab of the LinkRisk donut for the profile run now: –

  • Hi moosa. I am penalized by penguin 2.1 i think. because my blog’s traffic went down on 3rd oct 2013. Its the arrival time of penguin 2.1. Please check my blog: and tell me that how can i get its rank back. and how much time will it take?

    • Hello Ben.

      I am not sure what exactly is the problem with your blog but after looking in to your blog an link profile here are some suggestions for you!

      – Remove the Ads from above the fold
      – Build some quality links to your blog. Currently you have all the links coming from blog comments with person’s name.
      – Build some quality links with anchor text on your brand name.
      – Do some work on Google+ and other social networks..

      hope this will help!

      • But I have received notifications many times from adsense to place ads above the fold to increase revenue by 30%. Can you show me any example of placing ads on right place? Also are you talking about guest post submission?

  • Hi Moosa, I am very glad that you have shared with us the different tools on how to find bad links in a link profile and these are Link Detox and Link Risk.

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