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When another site links to a page on your website, that’s called a backlink. In general, backlinks are an important component of being successful with SEO because it signals to Google that other people find your site’s content valuable.

But what happens when a non-trustworthy source links to your site?

What Are the Impacts of Toxic Backlinks?

Toxic backlinks can have a negative impact on your site’s rankings.

For example, one of my full-service clients who is an orthopedic surgeon had received a large number of toxic backlinks from spammy stem cell sites before we had taken him on as a client. We discovered these on an initial website audit when we first took over and quickly disavowed them. Within ten days, the site began to see rankings increase.

toxic backlinks orthopedic

It was a good thing we discovered and corrected those links when we did. If lower rankings weren’t enough of a problem, toxic backlinks that are left unfixed could result in long-term penalties from Google.

How To Monitor Backlinks

The most common way to monitor backlinks is through Google’s Search Console. The advantage of using the Search Console is that it’s free, but it takes quite a bit of time and manual effort.

I recommend and use SEMRush, which is a comprehensive SEO tool used for keywords, site health, and much more. Through their Backlink Audit tool, you can set up SEMRush to automatically check your site for toxic backlinks.

toxic backlinks tool

If they’re found, SEMRush will send you an email notifying you.

How To Get Rid of Toxic Backlinks

SEMRush gives you a very easy way to get rid of any toxic links tied to your site. When they send you a report, you can review and select the toxic links.

Then you mark them To Disavow, export the txt file of those toxic links, and upload to Google’s Disavow Tool.

how to disavow toxic backlinks

It’s important to keep a close eye on toxic backlinks if you want to be successful with your practice’s SEO and digital marketing. If you haven’t reviewed your backlinks in a while, I recommend doing so quickly.