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Toxic Backlinks – How They Hurt SEO, and How to Get Rid of Them

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Backlinks are important to SEO. When another site links to your site, a backlink is created. If, for example, a brand finds one of your blog posts that’s helpful for their customers, they might link to it. That backlink, as Moz puts it, is “vote of confidence” in your content. 

Backlinks are important to SEO because search engines see all of those votes of confidence as evidence that your content is valuable. If lots of sites link back to yours, search engines are more likely to surface your content in search results, improving your ranking for the topics linked to. 

Earning backlinks is an essential part of off-site SEO, and obtaining more backlinks is called link building. But like so many aspects of SEO optimization, link building is not straightforward. Most backlinks are good, some are great, and others are toxic. Too many toxic backlinks can harm your ranking. 

In this post, we’ll look at what toxic backlinks are, how they hurt your SEO efforts, and how you can get rid of them to protect your rankings.

Backlinks – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

While each backlink may theoretically be a vote of confidence in your site, links from trustworthy sites with high-authority are the best. They tell search engines that a trusted authority vouches for your content. Even a no-follow link from a strong site can give your rank a boost.

On the other end of the spectrum, links from side with low authority, or ‘spammy’ sites, may not help your rank.

Toxic backlinks may not only harm your rank, but could also lead to penalties from search engines.

Toxic Backlinks

What are toxic backlinks? Google states it like this:

HARefs has a simplified explanation of link quality:

What Makes a Backlink Toxic?

There are several things which can increase the toxicity of a backlink from a search engines perspective including:

Impact of Bad Links

If you get penalized, it reduces your page rank, decreasing the chances that your content will be found – or, if the penalties are bad enough, you can be removed from the search index altogether.

Penalties are assigned in two ways. Google introduced its Penguin algorithm in 2012 which targeted low quality links. Sites using link-building schemes saw rankings plummet. Since then Google has refined the algorithm making it better at catching and penalizing bad links.

If Penguin sees a link toxic link, it will apply a penalty based on your link profile. No human reviews this.

In addition to Penguin, Google has added more human resources to their spam team who can manually penalize sites which have toxic backlinks.

According to Search Engine Watch, Google initiates over 400,000 manual actions a month. 

Manual link reviews and penalties might be trigger by:

  • A spam report from a competitor
  • Algorithmic activity from Penguin triggers a manual review
  • You’re in a niche that Google’s spam team activity monitors

You can request reconsideration for manual penalties, but we’ll talk more about that later.

How to Determine if You Have Toxic Backlinks

There’s not much you can do about algorithmic link penalties, you just have to improve your site’s overall link profile.

Manually applied penalties will show up in Google Search Console under “Security and Manual Actions > Manual Actions”. 

If it’s a manual action, it will appear here with a generic description of the issue, a link to learn more, and a button that enables you to request a review.

It’s often easier to use an SEO site audit tool to find toxic backlinks. This is especially true if you haven’t checked for toxic links in a while (or ever). Tools like SEMRush and ahrefs can provide this information.

How to Fix Toxic Backlinks

There are many ways to address toxic backlinks. For example, you could contact the administrator of the linking site and ask that the link be removed. 

If the link is valid, and the penalty has been manually activated, you can request a review. According to Search Engine Watch, Google processes about 20,000 reconsideration requests a month, of the 400,000 manual penalties applied. It can take around 30 days to get a response.

If the backlink isn’t important to you, and you don’t want to perform the manual outreach to have links removed, you can use the Disavow Links tool. 

Follow the steps from Google Search Console Help:

Make a list of links you wish to disavow following the formatting listed in the help article. 

Tip: Your Google Search Console links report, and link reports from tools like SEMRush and ahrefs can often be exported and used to make creating this file easier.

You then launch the Disavow tool.

And Upload your file. 

Conclusion

Making sure backlinks to your site are high-quality, and follow Google’s rules, is an essential aspect of website administration for SEO. 

Have you audited your backlinks recently? If you haven’t, you should, and soon. Have you gotten a link related notice of manual action on your site in Google Search Console? If you have, follow the tips in this article to resolve the issue or disavow the link. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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4 new social media features you need to know about this week

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New social media features to know this week


Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.

LinkedIn

Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.

Instagram

After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.

 

 

First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.

Twitter

In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

Twitter’s looking to give users a broader set of emoji reactions for their DMs, while also, potentially, enabling personalization of your quick reactions display in the app.

As you can see in these mock-ups, shared by Twitter designer Andrea Conway, Twitter’s testing a new search option within the reaction pop-up in DMs which would enable you to use any other emoji as a reaction to a message.

An extension of this would also be the capacity to update the reactions that are immediately displayed to whatever you choose.

Twitter DM reactions

It’s not a game-changer by any means, but it could provide more ways to interact via DMs, and with more interactions switching to messaging, and more private exchanges, it could be a way for Twitter to better lean into this trend, and facilitate a broader array of response options in-stream.

Twitter’s working on a range of updates as it looks to drive more engagement and usage, including tweet view counts, updated Bookmarks, a new ‘For You’ algorithm, and more. Elon Musk has said that he can envision Twitter reaching a billion users per month by next year, but for that to happen, the platform needs to update its systems to show people more of what they like, and keep them coming back – which is what all of these smaller updates, ideally, build to in a broader approach.

But that’s a pretty steep hill to climb.

Last week, Twitter reported that it’s now up to 253 million daily active users, an increase on the 238 million that it reported in July last year. Daily and monthly active usage is not directly comparable, of course, but when Twitter was reporting monthly actives, its peak was around 330 million, back in 2019.

Twitter MAU chart

As noted in the chart, Twitter switched from reporting monthly active users to daily actives in 2019, but looking at the two measurements, it’s hard to imagine that Twitter’s monthly active usage is any more than 100m over its current DAU stats.

That means that Twitter has likely never reached more than 350 million active users – yet Musk believes that he can best that by close to 200% in a matter of months.

Seems unlikely – even at current growth rates since Musk took over at the app, Twitter would only be looking at around 500 million users, optimistically, by the end of 2024.

If it can maintain that. More recent insight from Twitter has suggested that user activity has declined since those early post-Musk purchase highs – but maybe, through a range of updates and tweaks, there could be a way for Musk and Co. to maximize usage growth, beyond what seems possible, based on the stats.

We’ll find out, and as it pushes for that next level, you can expect to see more updates and tweaks like this, with enhanced engagement in mind.  



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Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023

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Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023

With consumers obsessed over the price of a dozen eggs, could conspicuous consumption-driven influencer marketing falling out of favor? That is the question brands might be considering after the
backlash that cosmetics brand Tarte is receiving after a sponsored trip to Dubai. “Influencers were called out for appearing not …

Read the whole story at Marketing Brew »



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