Whenever another website links to your site, this creates a backlink. According to Moz, a backlink expresses confidence in your site content. In general, search engines view backlinks as proof that your site content has value. When a large number of websites link back to your site, your content will most likely appear in search results.

This enhances your ranking for the subject matter that is linked to. Earning backlinks is an important aspect of off-site SEO. As your site gains more backlinks, this is referred to as “link building.” While the majority of backlinks are good and helpful for link building, some are especially good and others may be toxic. Gaining an excess of toxic backlinks can be harmful to your SEO ranking.

What Causes a Backlink to Be Toxic?

Several qualities and aspects of site linking can cause a backlink to be toxic or increase its degree of toxicity as viewed by a search engine, including the following:

  • Low Domain Trust Score. This is calculated according to the number of backlinks that originate from trusted domains and are directed to the domain that supplies the backlink. A low rank indicates that the website domain score may be artificially boosted.
  • Mirrored Pages. If pages with similar content on various websites link to your site via identical anchor text, search engines may view this occurrence as a link-building scheme.
  • Page Layout Balances. If the ratio of visible text to HTML on a web page is low, the linking page may be deemed to be low quality.
  • Auto-Built Links. Links that are built automatically with no editorial regulation or control are bad, or poor quality, links.

Why Toxic Backlinks Can Cause Harm to Your Search Engine Ranking

According to Google, in some instances, inbound links can influence Google’s evaluation of a web page or website. You or a search engine optimiser that you are working with may have built bad links to your website using paid links or other types of link schemes that are not in compliance with Google’s quality guidelines. Google stresses the importance of removing as many poor-quality or spam-like links from the web as you possibly can.

Backlinks can cause harm to your search engine ranking for the following four major reasons:

  1. Google May Assign Site Penalties. Google initiates more than 400,000 manual reviews and penalties each month. These manual actions may be caused by the following factors:
  • A spam report may have originated from a competitor;
  • Algorithm activity by Penguin may signal a manual review of your site;
  • Your site content may be within a niche that is actively monitored by Google’s spam team.
  1. Penalties Reduce Your Page Rank or Worse. If you are assigned a penalty by Google, this reduces your SERPs ranking. This action will also reduce the possibility of your content appearing in searches. If your penalties are severe, your site may be completely removed from the search engine index.
  2. Penalties are Now Assigned by a Refined Penguin Algorithm. In 2021, Google introduced its Penguin algorithm, which easily targeted poor-quality links. Any website making use of link-building schemes experienced startling drops in rankings. Google has since revised and refined this algorithm. It is now even more expert at catching bad links and rendering site penalties.
  3. Google Now Assigns Penalties Both via Penguin and Human Activity. If Penguin identifies a toxic link, it assigns a penalty that is based on your site’s link profile. There is no human review of this action. However, Google has since added human input to their spam team so that sites can be penalised manually if any toxic backlinks are detected.