How Much Should I Worry About Toxic Links?
 by Kristi Hagen

How Much Should I Worry About Toxic Links?

  • My new client owns 4 separate businesses all under one roof. They each have their own Tax ID#s and each has its own website. I have tried everything to convince them to consolidate into one website but they flatly refuse and it doesn't seem negotiable.

    The main website has a shopping cart where, after a purchase, there's a link to one of the "other" websites, much like there might be a link to a manufacturer. However, this linking practice has lead to some 12,000 "toxic" backlinks from the other site.

    My question is: Should those be removed? Will they get penalized?


Short answer: most likely not.

Since about the time of the Penguin 4 update, Google has made it clear they almost always ignore what they consider to be suspicious links. In your case, Google knows who owns all of these sites. And yes, it's okay to interlink them to some extent.

But if the anchor text is too rich or the interlinks are excessive and clearly show a low user-intent, then Google will most likely just ignore them; something we'd expect in the situation you've outlined. So, you probably shouldn't worry about it too much.

Btw, if you're an SEN ProTool Member and are using the WebCEO tool to scan for toxic links, you should account for the fact that the tool uses a very rigid set of parameters to determine if a link is toxic.

And, as is the case with all link toxicity tools, you shouldn't expect an absolutely definitive assessment but you can expect a relative assessment. In other words, how does the toxicity report compare to a report on another, perhaps similar, site you're pretty sure should rank low? The relative comparison will likely give you the feedback you need to make an informed decision regarding what action, if any, to take.

We recommend reviewing our guidelines on: How To Evaluate Link QualitySEN article end