As much as we hate to say it, apparently Google likes crappy backlinks.

Google crap

We recently took on a new client.  This client had a lot of bad backlinks from whatever SEO company had previously worked on their campaign.  And we do mean A LOT of bad backlinks.  They had everything that you don’t want these days.

  • Worthless Directories
  • Garbage Bookmarks
  • Forum Spam
  • Comment Spam

Here’s a few examples of the poor backlinks.

link network


link directory

This client wasn’t suffering from any penalty and were ranking well.  They were simply being proactive about their SEO and knew the fulfillment model being used by their old seo company was outdated and they didn’t want to get a penalty down the road.  That’s when they came to us to clean up their backlink portfolio.

We spent weeks qualifying their backlinks as either good or bad.  An initial analysis by Link Research Tools software made it appear that they wouldn’t have many backlinks that were salvageable.

bad backlinks

Here’s a break down of the quantity of toxic backlinks.

deadly backlinks

We always manually review links to be safe too.  Software is software and it is a good idea to manually review data as to avoid disavowing a link that is actually good.

Disavowing Backlinks

Once we identified the backlinks that were for sure bad we began outreach to request that they be removed.  We then disavowed the bad backlinks too.

What happened next was interesting.  The non-paid traffic dropped.  Nothing horrible, but it was noticeable.

non-paid traffic

As you can see it eventually settled out after about two weeks.  Nonethelessone, it is interesting that non-paid traffic went down as a seemingly direct result of uploading a disavow file.

What does this tell us about bad backlinks?

Since all of these links were so blatantly horrible it is surprising that they weren’t previously hit by Penguin or received a Manual penalty.  Not only were they not experiencing anything negative from their poor backlinks, they actually ranked really well.  Really, really well.

top rankings

With 99% of their backlinks being so horrible AND they ranked so well makes it seem that Google’s algorithm still has a long way to go on identifying what backlinks are legit.  All but less than 10 backlinks of this client were either link directories, seo bookmark sites, or comment spam.  There’s no way that any of those links should qualify for any value.  Yet, they did.

Even thought it’s not our cup of tea and we play on the safe side of things, it appears that others can continue spamming and doing poor link building and have great success with it.  Kind of sad, don’t you think?

sad Keanu