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How to identify and remove the backlinks that hurt your rankings

Are you trying to clean the low quality backlinks to your website? Great, then this article is for you! I will show you how you can identify and remove the links that hurt your website rankings. No matter if you have received a penalty or not, you must monitor and manage your backlinks portfolio.


1. How to identify the bad links to your website

To check for your website links, login to your Monitor Backlinks account. From the left menu, click on “Backlinks”. If you haven’t added your domain yet, now it’s time to do so. Here’s a quick tutorial if you need help.

monitor backlinks dashboard

A list with all your backlinks will show up. The website I will use for this test has a total of 152 backlinks. Now, let’s sort them. On the left side of the table, Monitor Backlinks will show the number of backlinks that pass link juice and the number of links with no SEO value (nofollow, and links that Google tends to ignore).


Click on the green icon and the table will only show the links that have an “OK” status. These are the dofollow links.


Out of 152 backlinks, Google takes in consideration only 73. If you are only trying to identify the backlinks linking to your homepage or other pages, click the on “Filters” from the top right side and choose your root domain. You can also search for links to a specific page on your site.


Manually review your backlinks and create a list with the ones that don’t have any SEO value.

If you have a large backlinks profile, this is how you can do this more easily:

  1. Sort them by anchor texts and manually check only those that look suspicious to you.

  2. List the backlinks by the page they link to. If you have too many links pointing to your homepage, try to verify those first.

  3. Sort your links by social shares. 95% of the bad links have 0 shares. Start by checking those first.

What are the most common bad links

  • Social Bookmarking websites

  • Comments that are auto approved from sites that are not moderated

  • Links from pages with very little content

  • Backlinks from websites with duplicate content

  • Link directories

  • Links from irrelevant websites and content

Now, let’s move on and check what bad links I can find on my website.

Some of these backlinks are almost impossible to spot because they are hidden from users, or they come from an image. This is how you can easily find them. Check for the anchor text used on your link.

checking anchor text

Copy the anchor text (CTRL+C) and go to your browser. Hold CTRL+F and paste the keyword you are trying to look for (CTRL+V). Your browser will highlight where your link is located.

If you can’t find the anchor text using this method, you will have to look into the page source. For Chrome or Mozilla, click the right button and select “View Page Source”. If you are using Safari, right click and select “Show Source Code”.

source code

Use CTRL+F again, but this time instead of looking for your anchor text, type your website URL. The browser will highlight where your backlink is located on that page.

determine link location

Determine if the link belongs to one of the categories of bad links that I mentioned. In my case, I found a bad link, on a page that has almost zero content, it’s irrelevant and it has over 100 outbound links.

zero value backlinks

These are the links you should try to remove.

When you find a bad link, add a tag, so you can find it later. Click on “Edit”.


Add the tag “spam” to your bad links and click “Submit”.

add a tag

Now repeat the process until you have found all the links that can hurt your website rankings.

To find the links that you have tagged. Go to Filters – Tags and select “Spam”.

In my case, I have found 17 bad links that I should try to remove.

If you have more links, this process will take longer, but remember to start by checking the links that have 0 social shares. As you can see in the screenshot, only one of my links has 3 shares, all the rest have 0.

How to remove the bad links

1. To start, you can try to contact the webmasters and ask them to remove the link to your website. Be polite and ask them nicely that you need a link to be deleted.

It’s very likely that some of them will ignore your email, but don’t panic, you still have two alternatives.

2. The 2nd option is to contact their hosting company, and request them to remove the link because a website they host is spamming your website. To find who is hosting their website, use

3. As a last resort, you can use the Google Disavow Tool. Check our tutorial on how to use Monitor Backlinks for this.




Hey man,
Great article! Any ideas on how you would find out where a link is on the website that you don’t want linking to you. I know how to find the URL but is there any way to find out exactly where that link is on their page?

Felix Tarcomnicu


Click with the right button on your browser and choose “view source”. CTRL+F and search for your URL. There, look for the anchor text of your link and then simply CTRL+F again the anchor text on the website to find where the backlink is located.

Hope this helps.

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  • Discover your competitors backlinks
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  • E-mail alerts when you lose or gain new links

Use our free Backlink Checker to instantly get a list of backlinks of a website.