Having low-quality, spam backlinks pointing to your website is not only bad from a ranking point of view but it can also be extremely detrimental to the credibility of your brand. No business should want to have external references from untrustworthy, deceitful sources and this same mentality should transpire into your online marketing efforts.
Before the introduction of Panda and more importantly Penguin, many so called “SEO Experts” were able to easily manipulate and trick Google’s algorithms by rolling out automated link building tactics where links to client websites were placed on 1000’s of directories, article websites and social bookmarking networks at the click of a button. This quantity over quality approach on some occasions achieved some form of ranking success and unfortunately deceived the client into thinking an ethical job had been done.
However, the longevity of this strategy soon caught up with most and on 25th May 2012 Google began to heavily penalize websites that had participated in these underhand strategies with the roll out of their Penguin update. This update was specifically aimed at decreasing search engine visibility of websites that had participated in what Google deemed to be black hat techniques including; cloaking, keyword stuffing and link networks to name but a few.
Back in October 2012, Google introduced it’s widely anticipated Disavow tool allowing webmasters and site owners to inform Google of the low quality links in their backlink profiles and request that these be ignored when determining the position of their website in the search index. However, Google were very quick to stress that all efforts must be carried out to first attempt to remove low quality links before using the Disavow tool.
There are a number of tools out there to help you automate the rather mundane process of identifying bad backlinks, however, to adopt a much more granular approach when evaluating a website’s backlink profile as automated tools can adopt false negative and false positive results.