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Best SEO Tools for finding bad links to Disavow?

     
11:45 pm on Oct 23, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Site owner wants to remove any bad spammy links to his site. What's the best tool (paid or free) out there for finding these potentially bad links? I don't want to waste money on a tool that's inaccurate.

MOZ tools? Majestic? Ahref?


Mods Note: We normally don't allow mentioning specific SEO tools because of spam/self-promotion issues but we are going to make an exception in this particular thread. When sharing your input remember to be fair and mention the good & bad aspects of the link tool. If we suspect spam or self-promotional posting we are going to err on the side of caution and delete first. Make sure you post valuable insights that don't look anything close to spam. Thanks!

[edited by: goodroi at 4:48 pm (utc) on Oct 24, 2016]

6:27 pm on Oct 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools provide useful lists of backlinks for free.

But as for identifying potentially "harmful" backlinks, your own judgement is probably better than any tool. Also, keep in mind that Google's new version of Penguin is apparently much more lenient, so it might be best to only disavow the most obvious cases of spam.
7:02 pm on Oct 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Personally I feel the best defense to Penguin is a good offense to develop quality backlinks. Here are some simple ideas for how to build good quality links that might even drive real traffic...

- Use Xenu to scan sites for broken links on relevant third party content sites, then contact that webmaster as a helpful person who just happened to discover the broken link and can offer a new relevant place to redirect that link.

- Keep an eye on your competition gaining new links by regular checking out the Majestic/Moz/Ahrefs data. This isn't the best method because you are always arriving late to the party but at least you won't be ignorant or ignoring the progress your competition is making.

- Set up alerts on social media for specific keyword phrases so you can immediately suggest your website whenever someone posts on social media asking a question about "widgets" or whatever else you might be selling.
7:26 pm on Oct 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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>identifying potentially "harmful" backlinks
>your own judgement
This is where I don't have a lot of confidences or the experience. I see in seo tools (like moz) that shows 'spam scores". I have bunch of links with high spam scores, do I disavow them or not disavow them? Some of the high "spam score" links are organic links from good DA sites, some are obvious lower quality scraper" sites. Do I disavow them all? I don't want to lose SERP ranking by disavow good links.

Is there a guide line on what is consider obvious "harmful backlinks"?
7:32 pm on Oct 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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what I assume is these SEO tools know more than I about which links are "spam".. but do they? How do a newbie SEO webmaster like myself make that judgement to disavow a link?
7:51 pm on Oct 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Blindly following Moz data is a quick way to get into trouble. You should remember that Moz's self created DA metric is not used by Google. Google has their own private link scores and no free or paid service can give you access to the real Google link data.

So how does a newbie SEO figure it out? Start by looking for patterns. Does Moz & Majestic both flag it as a poor link? Has the link never referred real traffic to your site? When you visit the linking page does it have a spammy feel? If you kept saying yes to those questions then it is likely the link should be disavowed. If you come across a questionable link and Moz says it spammy but it refers real traffic and looks legit when you manually review it, then keep it.
8:54 pm on Oct 24, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Spend more time promoting your content and less time worrying about strange links. Scraper and crap links have always existed. In many cases they're simply trying to rank for oddball longtail phrases. The more successful a site is the more of those links they'll attract. However the algorithms are created in a way that discounts those links. So don't worry about it and most certainly don't spend money chasing down links that don't harm you in any way.
5:39 am on Oct 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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what I assume is these SEO tools know more than I about which links are "spam".. but do they? How do a newbie SEO webmaster like myself make that judgement to disavow a link?


I have a site that is getting bombarded with links from crappy directory sites right now. Honestly, Google can see what they are doing, so there is very little risk for me not doing a disavow. The links won't get counted, one way or the other.

SEO tools can, at best, give you some information about your site and the sites linking to it. If they actually knew which sites were spam and which were high quality resources then they'd probably develop a search application and make incredibly more amounts of money rather than selling you some P.O.S. SEO tools.
7:43 pm on Oct 25, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Hi Maha,

We have used Moz and Ahrefs for a long time but I recently signed up for an account with cognitiveseo.com and have found their backlink analysis tool/navigator to be really helpful for us. They ask you to review the anchor text found for your backlinks and categorize as "brand" or "commercial". Then they flag any links that they deem "unnatural" or "suspect". They have a navigation tool which allows you to go through those link by link without having to copy and paste each one into a browser. I realize this makes me REALLY sound like I'm pushing this product but they do offer a 2 week trial if you want to try it out and see what my horrible explanation of this product really looks like.

The cons would be that the dashboard moves really slowly which can be frustrating if you are an agency and you're trying to switch from client to client/site to site. Another negative factor is that they definitely do not pick up all the links that Google Search Console reports. They should allow you to import additional links from Google but that's feedback I'll send to them, ha. More info here - [cognitiveseo.com...]

Oh and lastly, Marie Haynes has her own blacklist of "bad" URLs, so if you're not sure if you should disavow a link you can at least compare it against hers - [mariehaynes.com...]

Hope this was helpful!
11:15 am on Oct 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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One of the tools I use is provided here at Webmaster World under the tools menu and "All SEO Tools" called "Google Backlink Checker Tool for Penguin & Disavow Analysis" (a nice keyword rich title :-). You need to provide it your list of links from the Google Search Console and the tool will go ahead and organize your links and figure out which ones:

- which ones are still found
- urls group by IP Address
- sites providing more than X number of links
- Blog links
- Forum Links
- Common Anchor text
- Most linked pages

and many other patterns which makes it much easier to determine spam links. With my disavow file I tend to only disavow links that are obvious spam. The others I let Google deal with since I worry about disavowing links Google may not see as spam.

Remember with Penguin now, Google discards links it doesn't like instead of demoting pages (in most cases).
12:41 pm on Oct 26, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm very comfortable with LinkResearchTools, it's not the cheapest one and it doesn't spider all your links, but there's a nice tool called "link detox" which helps a lot evaluating suspicious or bad links. If you add your disavow file you can also filter disavowed links to have a better view of your link profile.
2:48 am on Oct 27, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I second LinkResearchTools .. but honestly, they are unbelievably expensive - Way beyond reasonable for a small or medium sized business website.

Fortunately with Penguin 4.0 being the way it is, and inbound links no longer being penalised, just ignored, it means there is a lot less to worry about. So .. unless you have a manual penalty, there is little need to worry.

+ There is no longer any market for LRT.