Having gone through the process of conducting a backlink analysis due to a client’s manual penalty, and ultimately proceeding with link removal, I have become more aware of how to quickly qualify and determine what type of websites are “bad” for linking. In the beginning process of this however, it was sometimes tough to determine if a site was actually credible or “bad”. My coworker @IvyPollock and I spent plenty of time shooting each other messages back and forth asking, “What about this site?”, “Would you remove a site that looked like this?”. Besides looking at the fundamental SEO notions of domain authority, page rank and even the type of content and anchor text that were causing “spammy links pointing back to your site” you can also focus towards specific on-page qualities that a poor quality site may have.
Below are a few quick and easy beginner examples of sites that would qualify as being “bad”. These are types of bad sites you would definitely want to reach out to for link removal or included in your disavowed list during your backlink analysis process. And obviously these are sites you would want to avoid for any type of linking opportunities. They are also overly obvious crappy sites, but they get the point across.
Malware detected on the site
The site does not exist
Advertising in the site navigation
The site is a parked domain
Spam terms can be found in the page but you cannot find them (as they have been hidden)
No content or links to content on the home page
The website is no longer updated
The homepage is a 404
The website is a directory with no specific industry
Selling links on their site
Random links to different industries
Site covered in AdSense
Over-optimized links in content
Several languages on the page that don’t make sense together
Inconsistent content with optimized anchor text
Anchor text does not match the theme of the website
(Use the Ahrefs tool to check out the anchor text of a website you are qualifying to make sure that spammy anchor text isn’t pointing back to the site and that anchor text matches the theme of the site.)
Broken images and formatting
Absence of logo
Hopefully you find these basic examples of bad sites helpful when manually reviewing those gross backlinks pointing to your site.
If you have any other techniques you use to quickly qualify bad sites during link building or the link removal process, let me know in the comments or on twitter @enre05.