How to Remove Bad Backlinks

NOTE: This is an old post. The guide is kind out of date and I do not recommend you follow it in 2015. I will be revamping this guide soon.

The video above explains how to remove bad backlinks from your Google link profile. Transcript is coming.

Here are the steps:

Step1: Sign up for a free trial at SEOmoz and use the Open Site Explorer tool. Enter your website address (choose All Links-Only External-To all pages on this root domain) and export the excel file.

Step 2: Upload this excel file to Link Detective. After Link Detective does its scan, export the file and do some cleanup by removing duplicate links, duplicate sidebar and footer links, etc.

Step 3: Use Backlink Inventory to scan all these links for a live/dead status. Upload the links, wait for the crawl, and export an excel doc with the results.

Step 4: Combine the two excel doc from Step 2 and Step 3 by sorting both alphabetically and pasting in the status from the Backlink Inventory file. This will now give you a list of all links pointing to your website, what type of links they are, and if they are currently live or dead.

Step 5: Decide what links need to go. Create another sheet from this file for only links you want to remove. If they are spam, profile links, unrelated comments, paid links, etc . . . they need to go.

Step 6: Go to and hire a worker to go to each url and find the email address of the site owner. If there is no contact email, find the conjtact form on the website. If there is no contact form, find the registered email on the whois reciord for the website.

Step 7: Hire the same or another worker to email each website owner and politely ask that they remoce the link. Keep track of this buy uploaded a file to Backlink Invetory every week or so and checking to see how many links get removed. Mark the date contacted, and if the link was removed or not in your excel file. Keep good track of all steps you took.

Step 8: Contact Google. Once you have removed about 75% of the links you chose to remove, go to your Google Webmaster Account and submit a reconsideration request. Include a url to your excel doc and explain to them what you have done. Once they see that you went that far to remove these links, and see the excel file that you kept strict records with, there is a 99.9% chance they will lift the ban and you will regain your ranking!

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Dan Henry is a professional Internet Marketer that made over $500,000 to date by blogging. He regularly speaks at seminars and holds webinars on his methods. Learn more about

26 thoughts on “How to Remove Bad Backlinks

  1. What if you didn’t get a notice but dropped off the serps? I had that happen to one of my sites where I did not receive the google notice but what was once a number 1 position, suddenly vanished after panda update. Should we still follow this same procedure or is that a different penalty altogether?

    Thanks Dan!

    1. Well it depends. Did you not get a notice because you did not have that site connected to a Google Webmaster account? Or was it connected, and you just noticed a big drop? How far did it drop? If it vaished completely, then it is definetly a manual penalty. How long was the site #1? If it was the top spot for only a couple weeks, that could have been a temporary spike from “Google dancing”. Let me know a little more and I will answer your question and tell you what you can do to fix it. Websites can **always** be fixed!

      1. Hi Dan, I see that Carole never responded but I actually have the same question as she did.

        I have a Google Webmaster account connected to my website and didn’t receive a notice. However my site dropped from rankings 1-8 for a bunch of keywords to vanished completely. It is a fairly new website, but it has been increasing rankings slowly for the past few months and has been on page 1 for at least a month.

        Thanks for any advice you can give me on this.

        1. I would say you are being affected by an algorithmic update, not a manual penalty. You would be off the map if it was manual!

  2. Hi Dan,

    We did not receive a notice either on one of our sites. Beginning on January of 2012, we started seeing a constant decrease in traffic. We went from having 450 hits/day to now averaging 239 hits/day (a steady decrease of 40-50 hits/day for every month starting January of 2012). The weird thing is that we have not really dropped in the terms of keyword ranking for most of our terms, so we are really not sure as to what is going on with all of this. We do have a google webmaster tools account, so we know for a fact that there is no actual penalty. Our page rank has not changed as far as we know. We are just seeing a constant decline in traffic. I can give you more personalized details if you need them.

    I would really appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Thanks ahead,


    1. Yes it does not sound like a penalty, it simply sounds like you may not be updating your site enough. Google recently has given alot more preference to sites that constantly add fresh content. Do you have a blog? If not, you need to start one!!!!

  3. I create websites for clients and typically leave a footer note: website created by Results Marketing which I hyperlink to my website. Should I remove the hyperlink?

    1. I would change the anchor text every website, so they don’t all say the same thing. But no, I would not remove them!

  4. Hi, Dan thanks for the great post, these days we are totally clueless after trying all of ways to get back on the rankings through hundreds of onpage and offpage edits, no notice at webmaster tools, one things that links are automatically being lost on daily basis…!!

  5. Hi Dan, so I’m in the process of pruning low quality backlinks in an attempt to recover some of my sites rankings. Like Carole, I didn’t receive a notice of a penalty. Webmaster tools and Analytics were both up and running way before Panda or Penguin went through. Along with pruning backlinks, I’m working on improving the quality of my content as well, but was wondering what other recommendations you might have.

    1. Post content regularly. Make sure your content gives something away of value for free. In other words, good advice/tutorials/how to’s/case studies/etc. Build trust with your readers, and you will build trust with Google!

  6. Hey Dan, great post… Straight forward unlike many I have found when looking for this info!

    I have received the “Unnatural inbound links” notice in my webmaster tools. Just a few questions!

    Is this an algorithmic penalty or manual?

    Is it always necessary to submit a request when links have been cleaned up as much as possible if there is no manual penalty in place?

    Also Dan, getting links going forward what are your thoughts on guest posts on ‘real’ websites/blogs and infographics?


    1. If you got a notice, then it’s manual. At this point, you need to remove links, use the disavow tool for the remaining, and submit a reconsideration request. As far as getting links moving forward, you need to create content that is awesome, linkworthy, *easy* to link to, and then perform outreach to get the ball rolling. I will be posting a new blog post today or tomorrow with an infographic on “The perfect outreach email”. If you aren’t on my email list, opt in so you can get a notification when I post it. This infographic will help you with your outreach, it’s very to the point!

  7. Dan, we’re a small e-commerce marketing management company. We have a client that got hit with a manual penalty for backlinks. They used a tool to remove links and submitted a bunch more using the disavow tool. Google denied the request saying they still have too many. They do zero backlink building campaigns, never have. The site has been around since 1996. It almost seems like there’s new links daily being added. How can we tell if they are being targeted by a competitor or something along those lines? Also how can we stop it and let Google know what’s happening?

  8. Hi Dan,
    Just watched you on YouTube and a really fantastic video. I have a site since 1998 when reciprocal links were encouraged and Yahoo not Google was the number one search engine. I never received any warning but traffic and Google ranking has completely disappeared due to 1000’s of bad back links (none were paid for). Should I start again or is there hope?

    Keep up the great work and greeting from Dublin Ireland.

    1. If your site is very large and you have put a lot of work into it, I would say yes of course there is hope! However, sometimes it is better to just start fresh with a new website. If you give me some more info I can guide you better 😉

      Btw I’m Irish!

  9. Hi Dan,

    I was following through your steps only to find the has closed! Aaargh – what do you advise I do? Is there an alternative? Can you bring your tool back from the dead? Would be much appreciated.


    1. Hey sorry for the late response! Things have changed alot and I closed that site due to the fact that I just don’t find the tool relevant anymore. The Google disavow tool has proven to be pretty damn good, just dont over do it!

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