When you love what you do, don’t you know that your links are toxic? Yes, we are punning on Britney Spears lyrics there – not that we would necessarily expect her to know what to do if she noticed that a needless surplus of toxic links were pointing to her website.

Right now, you might lack a fantastic idea of how healthy or unhealthy your backlinks – the links to your website posted on others, rather than vice versa – are. This situation would justify you embarking on a backlink audit, which you can do with a tool like Monitor Backlinks.

What would make a backlink “toxic”?

You might have been in the SEO game long enough to recall when any backlink constituted a good one. However, as this situation encouraged web marketers to amass piles of backlinks from dodgy sites, like “link farms” as well as sites of lax security, Google started penalising such practices.

Links from such sites deemed dubious by Google could count as “toxic”, as could links from sites that are overly monetised or violate Google’s guidelines. There are other, more technical indicators of toxic backlinks, and our link building experts could enlighten you about those signs.

Measures for removing backlinks – where you can

When do you spot a dodgy backlink, find the linking site’s URL and, on that site, the contact information for whoever is charge of it. Send them a short but polite message requesting the backlink’s removal. If they comply within the next week, message again to thank them.

If the webmaster resists, though, don’t “hit them, baby, one more time” with another request. As with an insect infestation, your objective is to banish the nasties where you can and then accept the ones that are left over and ultimately too much hassle to try removing.