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Backlinks – A word of warning!

Backlinks – A word of warning!

We recently had a client who was duped in to paying for backlinks to be generated for their website. Unfortunately, this has had a devastating effective on their search engine visibility.

We thought we’d share some advice around the topic.

What are backlinks?

Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to your site. These are an important factor in improving the visibility and search engine ranking of your website.

The Danger:

In this case the client was “link farmed”. Link farms are either; networks of websites that exist solely for the purpose of creating a large number of links without regard for quality/relevance, or sites that have been accessed by companies that then upload your information on mass.

These sites/businesses often employ manipulative tactics to generate backlinks quickly, such as buying or exchanging links in bulk.

While it may seem tempting to boost your website’s visibility through such practices, search engines are highly adept at detecting this approach and penalise sites associated with them.

Engaging in link farm schemes can result in severe consequences, including a significant drop in search rankings or even in severe cases being removed from search engine results altogether!

Best practice:

It is crucial when backlinking to focus on high-quality, reputable sources that are relevant to your business.

Backlinks from relevant and authoritative sources are more valuable and have a greater impact on your website’s visibility and rankings.

Backlinks from authoritative websites in your industry can help establish your website as a trusted source of information.

It’s crucial to obtain backlinks organically rather than resorting to manipulative practices. Search engines have become sophisticated in identifying spammy or low-quality backlinks.

Aim to diversify your backlink profile by acquiring links from a variety of sources. This can include industry-specific directories, review sites, local business directories, guest blogging opportunities, social media platforms, other website owners or even the search engines themselves.

How do you fix it?

Depends, in this case we were lucky enough to be able to gain access to a large majority of the sites and have been able to manually remove many of the offending entries.

  1. If you have a login you can manually remove records.
  2. If an entry is “unclaimed” you may be able to request ownership and then remove.
  3. Contact the website owner asking for removal. They may request proof of ownership as the entry will not have been uploaded by you.
  4. If you are unable to remove or contact site owners you can “Disavow” the links by uploading a file to Google/Bing/etc…

How long it will take to repair the damage is a bit of an unknown in these situations. If things are fixed quickly and then best practice is then followed across all your digital activity, you should see a recovery within a month or two.


Using backlinks can be very beneficial for your website’s SEO and online visibility, they should be part of your strategy. However, it’s important to approach backlink building ethically, focusing on quality and relevance rather than quantity. Regularly monitoring your backlink profile and ensuring it remains diverse and authoritative is also crucial.

Philip Archbold
Phast Media