A backlink cleanup removes black hat and poor-quality links from being associated with your website. This can improve your search engine rankings and is especially relevant if a Google manual penalty has been applied for spammy link-building practices.
Typically, it will result in disavowing links or requesting that links be removed from offending websites, but this must be handled carefully. It is too easy to go overboard and end up causing more problems than you originally began with.
You can read about some of the backlink disavowing guidelines here, which will help explain when it is sensible to look at this as a service or if there are other possibilities.
If you think you might need a technical SEO consultant to help with this, please reach out to me, and we can discuss the first steps.
A backlink cleanup is needed when a site is impacted by toxic backlinks. But where do low quality links come from?
A spammy backlink is often the result of a poor quality link building technique. Maybe there are paid links from PBNs or other places where you can get harmful backlinks. If these are combined with “money term” anchor text, they can be particular suspicious to Google.
Too many links from link directories can cause Google to consider that you have an unnatural link profile, with all of your link placed rather than being from an editorial process.
Some SEOs offer negative SEO services, where they will send hundreds or thousands of poor quality toxic links from all sorts of sites – often the kind you wouldn’t want your site associated with!
Link networks are sites where you create a group of sites which all link to each other. Google considers this to be a very spammy link building practice.
A backlink analysis can identify bad backlinks and create a list of links that will help your SEO efforts. However, they still need to be removed or disavowed.
Google likes sites to attempt to clean up some of the backlinks they’ve had created using various link schemes.
For this, after the link audit there would be an attempt made to contact websites linking to you in an attempt to remove or turn them into nofollow links.
Once as many had been contacted as possible, the remaining harmful links would be removed using the disavow tool.