Unnatural Links: The Silent Killer of Your SEO

Last Updated: September 12, 2023
Unnatural Links

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

๐Ÿ’ก Unnatural links are links obtained through manipulative tactics and are not earned organically.

๐Ÿšซ Search engines like Google penalize websites with unnatural links, leading to lower rankings and potential damage to the site’s reputation.

๐Ÿ“Š Natural links, earned through valuable content and a strong online presence, are favored by search engines.

๐Ÿงฐ Tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and Moz can help identify unnatural links in your backlink profile.

๐Ÿ™…โ€โ™‚๏ธ Avoid automated link building tools, paid link schemes, and link exchanges to prevent unnatural links.

๐Ÿ”„ You can try to remove unnatural links by reaching out to webmasters or using Google’s disavow tool.

๐Ÿ“ When submitting a reconsideration request to Google after a penalty, be concise and clear about your actions.

๐Ÿฆ„ Building natural links through high-quality, valuable content and relationships with other website owners is key.

๐Ÿง™โ€โ™‚๏ธ Common myths about unnatural links include quick ranking boosts, only shady websites getting penalized, and disavowing as the best solution.

โณ Recovery from an unnatural link penalty varies but requires effort and a commitment to ethical SEO practices.

Unnatural links can harm your website's SEO. Avoid these shady tactics like the plague! Instead, focus on creating valuable content and building natural, high-quality links for long-term success. ๐ŸŒ๐Ÿšซ #SEO #LinkBuilding #DigitalMarketing Click To Tweet


Welcome to the wild and wacky world of unnatural links, where websites try to cheat their way to the top of search engine rankings with shady backlinks and black hat SEO tactics. In this complete guide, we’ll explore what unnatural links are, why they matter, and how to avoid the pitfalls of this risky SEO strategy.

So, what are unnatural links, you ask? Well, to put it simply, they are links that are not earned naturally or organically. Instead, they are often purchased, exchanged, or otherwise manipulated in an attempt to boost a website’s search engine rankings.

Why do unnatural links matter? For starters, search engines like Google are wise to these tricks and actively penalize websites that engage in them. This can result in lower search rankings, reduced traffic, and lost revenue.

But the consequences of having unnatural links go beyond just search engine penalties. In some cases, they can also damage a website’s reputation, causing potential customers to lose trust in the site and its offerings.

Despite the risks, some website owners still engage in unnatural link building. Why, you ask? Well, perhaps they enjoy living life on the edge. Or maybe they think they can outsmart the search engines with their clever schemes.

But the truth is, the risks of unnatural link building far outweigh any potential benefits. So, if you want to stay on the right side of search engines and build a successful, sustainable website, it’s time to ditch the shady tactics and embrace ethical, white hat SEO practices.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive deeper into the world of unnatural links and explore what makes them so harmful to your website’s SEO.

What Are Unnatural Links?

Unnatural links – they’re like the black sheep of the SEO family. You know they exist, you know they’re bad, but sometimes you just can’t resist their dark allure. So, what are unnatural links exactly?

Unnatural links are links that are obtained through manipulative tactics rather than earned through genuine, organic means. These tactics can include buying links, participating in link schemes, or creating low-quality content solely for the purpose of generating backlinks.

But wait, you may be thinking, aren’t all links good links? Not so fast, my friend. Not all links are created equal. In fact, unnatural links can do more harm than good to your website’s SEO.

Examples of unnatural links include links from link farms, paid links, and excessive reciprocal linking. Basically, any link that is not earned naturally through high-quality content and a solid online reputation can be considered unnatural.

So, what’s the difference between natural and unnatural links? Well, natural links are links that are earned through valuable, informative content and a strong online presence. These links come from other websites who find your content useful and want to share it with their own audience.

Unnatural links, on the other hand, are obtained through manipulative tactics and often have little to do with the quality of your content. They can be purchased, exchanged, or artificially generated, and are typically created solely for the purpose of improving search engine rankings.

So, why are unnatural links such a big deal? The answer lies in their impact on search engine rankings. Search engines like Google prioritize websites with high-quality, organic backlinks, and actively penalize websites that engage in unnatural link building tactics.

In short, if you want to stay on the good side of search engines and build a sustainable, successful website, it’s best to steer clear of unnatural links and focus on creating valuable, engaging content that earns links naturally.

Why Are Unnatural Links Bad for SEO?

Search engines – the gatekeepers of the internet. They hold the keys to your website’s success, and they can be ruthless when it comes to enforcing their rules. So, how do search engines like Google work, and why are unnatural links such a big no-no?

Well, search engines use complex algorithms to crawl and index websites, determining which ones are most relevant and authoritative for any given search query. One of the key factors that search engines consider when ranking websites is the quality and quantity of their backlinks.

When a website has a large number of high-quality backlinks from reputable sources, it signals to search engines that the website is trustworthy and valuable. However, when a website has a large number of unnatural backlinks, it can signal to search engines that the website is engaging in manipulative tactics and does not deserve to rank highly in search results.

So, how do unnatural links affect search engine rankings? In short, they can do serious damage. Search engines like Google actively penalize websites that engage in unnatural link building tactics, often by decreasing their search engine rankings or even removing them from search results altogether.

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The penalties associated with unnatural links can be severe, and the long-term consequences can be even more damaging. Even if a website is able to recover from a penalty, the damage to its online reputation can be difficult to undo. Additionally, websites that continue to engage in unnatural link building tactics are at risk of even more severe penalties in the future.

So, why are unnatural links so tempting? Well, in the short-term, they can seem like an easy way to boost search engine rankings and drive more traffic to a website. However, in the long-term, the risks far outweigh the rewards.

In conclusion, if you want to build a successful, sustainable website that ranks highly in search engine results, it’s crucial to avoid unnatural link building tactics and focus on creating high-quality content that earns backlinks naturally. Remember, search engines may be tough, but they’re fair, and they reward websites that play by the rules.

How Do Unnatural Links Get Created?

The dark arts of unnatural link building – It’s a shady world out there, full of black hat SEOs and sketchy tactics. So, how do these unnatural links get created in the first place? Let’s take a closer look.

There are a variety of methods that people use to create unnatural links, some more nefarious than others. One popular method is to create fake websites or web pages solely for the purpose of linking back to your website. This is known as a link farm, and it’s about as shady as it sounds.

Link farms are basically networks of websites that exist solely for the purpose of building backlinks. They often use automated software to create large numbers of low-quality websites and pages, all of which link back to a handful of target websites. This can create the illusion of popularity and authority, but in reality, it’s a quick and dirty way to manipulate search engine rankings.

Another popular method of creating unnatural links is through paid link schemes. Basically, you pay another website to link back to your site, usually with the promise of higher search engine rankings. However, this is a huge no-no in the eyes of search engines, and it can lead to severe penalties.

Why are paid links such a bad idea? Well, for one thing, they’re easy for search engines to detect. If a website suddenly has a large number of paid backlinks, it’s pretty clear that something fishy is going on. Additionally, paid links often come from low-quality or irrelevant websites, which can do serious damage to your online reputation.

Finally, there’s the issue of link exchanges. This is where two websites agree to link to each other, usually in an attempt to boost search engine rankings. While this might seem like a harmless tactic, it’s actually considered an unnatural link building tactic, and it can lead to penalties.

So, what’s the bottom line here? If you want to build high-quality backlinks that won’t get you penalized by search engines, it’s crucial to focus on creating valuable, shareable content that other websites will naturally want to link to. Unnatural link building tactics might seem like a shortcut to success, but in reality, they’re just a one-way ticket to the bottom of search engine rankings.

In conclusion, if you’re thinking about engaging in unnatural link building tactics, just remember: the dark side of SEO leads to penalties, and penalties lead to suffering. Stick to the light side, young Padawan.

How to Identify Unnatural Links

Identifying unnatural links ? the digital equivalent of playing detective. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you crack the case.

First things first, it’s crucial to check your backlink profile regularly. I mean, you wouldn’t just let a creepy stranger into your house, so why would you let unnatural links infiltrate your website?

Thankfully, there are a variety of tools available to help you identify these pesky links. Some popular ones include Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and Moz. Just like Batman has his trusty gadgets, you too have access to these powerful tools to aid you in your mission.

Now, to the analysis part. You’ll want to take a closer look at your backlink profile and check for any red flags that suggest unnatural links. Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Links from irrelevant or low-quality sites: If your website is all about dog grooming and you have links coming in from sites about car parts, then something fishy is definitely going on.
  • A sudden influx of links: Did you wake up to find 10,000 new links pointing to your site? Unless you’re a celebrity or just went viral, chances are these links are not natural.
  • Links with exact match anchor text: If every link pointing to your site uses the exact same anchor text, it’s a clear sign that someone is trying to manipulate your rankings.
  • Links from link networks or farms: Just like how you should avoid the bad part of town, you should also avoid link networks and farms. These are areas where unnatural links are bred and thrive.

How to Remove Unnatural Links

Now, the fun part! Removing unnatural links. It’s like pulling weeds from your garden, but instead of a shovel, you need your persuasive skills. Let’s dive into it.

Identifying and removing unnatural links may take some time and effort, but trust me, it’s worth it in the end. After all, you wouldn’t want your website to be associated with shady, unnatural practices.

So, you’ve identified that you have unnatural links, and now you’re panicking. Don’t worry; we got you covered. Here’s how you can get rid of them:

How to contact webmasters and request link removal

The first thing you should do is reach out to the webmasters and ask them nicely to remove the links. It’s like politely asking your neighbor to turn down their music at 2 AM. Here are some tips on how to do it right:

  • Be polite: It’s not their fault that you engaged in unnatural link building. So, be nice and respectful in your outreach.
  • Be specific: Let them know exactly which link you want them to remove and where it is on their website.
  • Provide context: Explain why you’re asking for the link to be removed and the consequences of having it.
  • Offer something in return: If you can, offer them something in return, like a backlink from a different website or a shoutout on social media.
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The dos and don’ts of link removal outreach

While reaching out to webmasters, there are some dos and don’ts that you should keep in mind:


  • Do personalize your outreach email: Show them that you’re not a bot and that you’ve done your research.
  • Do follow up: If they don’t respond, send a follow-up email after a week or so.
  • Do be persistent: Some webmasters might ignore your requests or refuse to remove the link. Keep trying and don’t give up.


  • Don’t threaten legal action: It’s not a good look, and it’s unlikely to make them comply.
  • Don’t spam them: Sending multiple emails a day won’t make them more likely to remove the link.
  • Don’t offer money: It’s against Google’s guidelines and might get you in more trouble.

What to do if webmasters don’t respond to your requests

If you’ve tried reaching out to the webmasters but they’re not responding, there are still some options left:

  • Try a different outreach method: If you’ve been sending emails, try reaching out to them on social media or through their contact form.
  • Use Google’s disavow tool: If all else fails, you can disavow the link using Google’s disavow tool. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s better than nothing.

How to use the disavow tool

The disavow tool is like the ultimate weapon in your link removal arsenal. Here’s how to use it:

  • Create a list of links you want to disavow: Make sure you only include the unnatural links you want to remove.
  • Submit the list to Google: Go to Google’s disavow tool page and upload your list. Make sure to read the instructions carefully before submitting.
  • Wait for Google to process the list: It might take a few weeks for Google to process your list and for the changes to take effect.

And that’s it! Removing unnatural links might take some time and effort, but it’s worth it to avoid those pesky penalties.

How to Prevent Unnatural Link Building

Ah, so you’ve learned all about the dark side of unnatural link building, and you’re ready to turn over a new leaf? Good for you, young padawan. In this chapter, we’ll talk about the importance of building natural links, how to create content that naturally attracts links, the benefits of building relationships with other website owners, and the dangers of automated link building tools. Let’s dive in!

The Importance of Building Natural Links

Natural links are like the unicorns of the SEO world. They’re rare, but when you find one, they can do wonders for your search engine rankings. Unlike unnatural links, natural links are earned, not bought or traded. So, how can you build natural links?

How to Create Content That Naturally Attracts Links

The key to building natural links is creating high-quality, valuable content that people actually want to link to. This could be in the form of blog posts, infographics, videos, or other types of content that resonate with your target audience. The idea is to create something so good that people can’t help but link to it.

The Benefits of Building Relationships with Other Website Owners

Another way to build natural links is to build relationships with other website owners in your industry. This could involve guest posting on their blog, collaborating on a project together, or simply reaching out and connecting on social media. By building these relationships, you’ll increase the likelihood that they’ll link to your content.

The Dangers of Automated Link Building Tools

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But, isn’t there a tool or service for everything these days? Surely there’s a way to automate natural link building, right?” Wrong. Automated link building tools are like the junk food of SEO. Sure, they might give you a quick fix, but in the long run, they’ll only hurt your site’s health.

How to Recover From Unnatural Link Penalties

Congratulations, you’ve received a penalty for your unnatural links! Wait, what? That’s not something to celebrate? Well, not exactly, but it’s not the end of the world either. Here’s what you need to know to get back on track.

What to do if you’ve received a manual penalty

If you’ve received a manual penalty for unnatural links, don’t panic! Take a deep breath, pour yourself a stiff drink, and read on. The first step is to identify the unnatural links that led to the penalty. Use the same tools we talked about earlier to find and analyze your backlink profile. Once you’ve identified the offending links, take action to remove them.

How to submit a reconsideration request

Once you’ve removed as many unnatural links as possible, it’s time to submit a reconsideration request to Google. This is your chance to explain what you’ve done to address the issue and show that you’re committed to following Google’s guidelines in the future.

But beware! Writing a reconsideration request is not a time for humor or sarcasm. Save your wit for another time and write a concise, clear request that outlines what you’ve done to address the problem and what you plan to do to prevent it from happening again.

The importance of creating a plan for future link building

Once you’ve recovered from your unnatural link penalty, don’t make the same mistake again. Take the time to create a plan for future link building that emphasizes natural, high-quality links. Don’t be tempted by quick fixes or automated link building tools.

Remember, building a solid link profile takes time and effort. But with the right strategy and a commitment to following Google’s guidelines, you can create a backlink profile that helps your website rank well and keeps you out of trouble with the search engines.

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Common Myths About Unnatural Links

Unnatural links are shrouded in mystery, which has led to a number of myths surrounding them. In this chapter, we’ll debunk some of the most common myths and misconceptions about unnatural links.

Myth #1: Unnatural links can boost your rankings overnight

Ah, the elusive quick fix. People have been searching for a shortcut to success since the beginning of time. But the truth is, there are no shortcuts in SEO. Sure, you might see a temporary boost in your rankings from unnatural links, but it won’t last long. In fact, it might end up hurting you in the long run.

Myth #2: Only shady websites get penalized for unnatural links

This is a dangerous myth that could land you in hot water. Just because a website looks legitimate doesn’t mean it’s not engaging in unnatural link building. Anyone can fall prey to the temptation of quick and easy link building. Even the most reputable websites have been penalized for unnatural links.

Myth #3: You can’t control who links to you

While it’s true that you can’t control who links to you, you can control who you link to. By only linking to high-quality, reputable websites, you’re less likely to attract unnatural links. And if you do get an unnatural link, you can take steps to remove it.

Myth #4: Disavowing links is always the best solution

The disavow tool can be a helpful tool in removing unnatural links, but it’s not always the best solution. In fact, disavowing links should be a last resort. Before you disavow any links, try to get them removed manually. And if that fails, then consider using the disavow tool.

Myth #5: Natural links are always better than unnatural links

While natural links are definitely preferable, it’s not always possible to get them. Sometimes, you have to engage in a bit of link building to get the ball rolling. The key is to do it in a natural way that doesn’t raise any red flags.

Myth #6: Unnatural links are the only thing you need to worry about

Unnatural links are just one factor in SEO. There are many other factors that can impact your search engine rankings, such as content quality, site structure, and user experience. Focusing solely on unnatural links is a mistake.

So there you have it. Don’t believe everything you hear about unnatural links. By understanding the truth behind these common myths, you can avoid making costly mistakes in your SEO strategy.

FAQ’s about Unnatural Links

How do I know if I have unnatural links?

Well, do you have any links that seem fishy? You know, like the ones you got from a shady Russian website promising to boost your rankings overnight? Yeah, those are unnatural links. You can also check your backlink profile with tools like Google Search Console or Ahrefs to identify any suspicious links.

Can I use the disavow tool to avoid penalties?

Absolutely! The disavow tool is like the Magic Eraser of SEO. It tells Google to ignore any spammy links pointing to your site, so you won’t get penalized for them. However, don’t abuse the tool by disavowing every link under the sun. Only use it for links that are genuinely harmful to your site.

Is it ever okay to buy links?

Sorry, cowboy, but buying links is like buying a fake Rolex from a street vendor. It might look shiny and impressive, but it’s still a cheap knockoff that’ll fall apart in no time. Not to mention, it’s against Google’s guidelines, and you risk getting penalized for it.

How long does it take to recover from a penalty?

Ah, the million-dollar question. Unfortunately, there’s no set timeline for penalty recovery. It depends on the severity of the penalty, the number of links you need to disavow, and how quickly you can make changes to your site. But with some hard work and determination, you can bounce back stronger than ever.

Can I still rank in search engines if I have unnatural links?

Well, you could try to rank with unnatural links, but it’s like trying to win a marathon with a broken leg. It’s just not gonna happen. Unnatural links can harm your rankings and make it harder for you to compete in search results. It’s always better to play by the rules and build natural links that’ll stand the test of time.


Alright, let’s wrap up this guide on unnatural links! It’s been a wild ride, but hopefully, you’re now an expert in all things link-related.

So, let’s recap why unnatural links are bad. They can result in your website getting penalized or even removed from search engine results pages. And let’s face it, no one wants to be left out in the cold while their competitors are basking in the warm glow of the top search engine rankings.

It’s tempting to take shortcuts and engage in unnatural link building, but the risks just aren’t worth it. Trust me, you don’t want to wake up one morning and see that all your hard work has gone down the drain because of some sketchy links.

So, here’s my final plea to you: build natural links! Creating high-quality content that people naturally want to link to is the way to go. And hey, if you can’t seem to get any traction, try building relationships with other website owners in your industry.

And with that, we come to the end of our guide. But before we go, let me leave you with a humorous thought: if you engage in unnatural link building, you might as well be playing a game of Jenga. And trust me, when those links come crashing down, it won’t be pretty.

Stay safe out there, folks, and happy link building (the natural way, of course!).

About the Author

Shounak Gupte
Shounak Gupte

I am a Digital Marketing Consultant who can help you and your business increase your visibility on the internet by finding the right online marketing solution.

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