Link Audit and Recovery FAQ

The anchor text type plays an important role in how we calculate the risk of your links. That's the reason why we want you to classify your keywords. Certain rules in our algorithm will only activate after you classify at least 80% of your keywords.

Link Detox Genesis is our data-driven organic algorithm that detects unnatural and risky links. It works with common link risk detection rules but also adds millions of extra data points we have collected for years. If you classify 80% or more keywords in your reports, you will be able to make the most of our algorithm.

If you want to look at accurate DTOXRISK data, you have to classify your keywords. We don't recommend disavowing any links before you classify at least 80% of your keywords and re-process your Link Detox (DTOX) report.

Read more about keyword classification in LinkResearchTools.

Is it good to have no Money keywords whatsoever?

You should always be very careful about your keywords and how you use them in your content, domain, description or as anchor text. Too many strong money keywords could be a sign of unnatural behavior. If the number of Money Keywords is too low, however, it could affect your rankings. In the end, it always depends on your niche. 

This is why we developed the Competitive Landscape Analyzer (CLA). Using this tool, you can take a look at your competitors and see how you blend in. The CLA will help you understand your niche and the acceptable ratios for Money/Compound/Brand/Other Keywords and much more such as Follow/NoFollow ratios too. Armed with this information you can plan to blend in and then outrank your competition.

How do you classify your brand name if it is also a money keyword?

If the money keyword is a brand name for you, then you have to classify it as brand e.g. 'nikon' for nikon.com.

But if a competitor ranks for this keyword, it would be a money keyword for them.

This is not a problem generally, but if your domain is cheap-flights-london-new-york.com you should classify 'cheap flights london new york' as a money keyphrase.

Yes, you can classify URLs as brand links in LinkResearchTools (LRT).

Can I change the classification for a bunch of keywords?

If you did a bulk keyword classification and chose the wrong option, you can always go back and change this. Tick the "only show already classified keywords" option in the keyword classification view and change the selection for the keywords you didn't classify correctly.

A certain percentage of money anchor text is normal in every industry. First you should find out if your distribution of money keywords is normal for your niche or not. 

Second, just because a link has a money keyword, it doesn't mean that it's a bad link. You always need to check if the backlinks are unnatural or if they trigger any DTOX rules. 

If it is a link with low DTOXRISK, you should probably try to change the anchor text.

After you run a Link Detox report the first time, you need to classify at least 80% of your keywords to help us calculate the DTOXRISK in an accurate way. 

The “Recalculate” function will re-calculate your DTOXRISK after you made changes to keyword classification or link rating. You must also use the Recalculate function after you disavow links.

Reprocessing does not cost any credits and you can reprocess as often as you want. The “Recalculate” button ONLY becomes active (green) if you have made changes in the report. You can reload the report by refreshing the page (F5).

Have in mind that your website can trigger a Google Penguin filter any day if you have unnatural links. That’s why you need to keep an eye on your backlink profile and run a Link Detox report at least once a week. We even recommend doing it more often if your website gets a lot of new backlinks every day.

The work you put into analyzing your bad links and cleaning up your backlink profile will not go unnoticed by Google. According to their announcement on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog, they will see your disavowed links shortly after re-crawl or re-index.

"With this change, Penguin's data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we re-crawl and re-index a page."

If you re-run or reprocess a Link Detox report, you do not lose your tags or link ratings. Re-running a report creates a new report with the same settings.

The DTOXRISK is the numeric result of the calculation by Link Detox. This numeric result is labeled with verbal interpretations, such as high DTOXRISK, average DTOXRISK, etc.

The labels we give to links and websites, such as “High DTOXRISK” are there to help you use Link Detox and make decisions about link quality.

When a Link Detox report is processed for a domain, we calculate the DTOXRISK™ score for every link. From this calculation and the weighting of various rules for the links, their domains, and their neighborhood, we derive additional technical criteria. Most of these technical criteria are shown in the application for each link.

The DTOXRISK depends on the type and quantity of rules triggered by the backlink. This signals the potential risk of a certain link for your overall backlink profile. Our opinion and estimation based on this calculation is that links with high DTOXRISK score pose a higher risk for your Google rankings than those with a lower DTOXRISK  score.

 Read the full explanation of the rule definitions.

What Domain DTOXRISK should I aim for?

Try to get it down to at around 700 or less, which will show as an average DTOXRISK. Make sure that you have the latest disavow file and all the extra backlink sources that you can upload or connect using our APIs and classify at least 80% of your keywords so that we can show you the most accurate Domain DTOXRISK possible.

Don't forget to look at your competitors It is also recommended to check out your competition using Competitive Link Detox (CDTOX) to get a better understanding of your niche.

The risky niches such as the adult niche or the betting niche are much different from other niches. A higher DTOXRISK score can be acceptable for websites in these niches. But it all depends on your competitors. That is why Link Detox allows you to select the theme of your website before starting a report. The niche you select will affect the way how Link Detox calculates the DTOXRISK. Selecting the appropriate theme will give more accurate results. If you do not select any of the suggested themes our system will try to detect your niche automatically, but you should try and help the system if you can.

It’s a common misconception that NoFollow backlinks have no effect on your backlink profile. Think of a Wikipedia link. NoFollow links from spammy/ banned/ virus sites are still links from bad sites that are potentially harmful. Take blog comments for example – they are usually NoFollow, but that doesn’t mean they are either worthless or harmless.

Many users asked us for our opinion which analysis mode to use, and we always and still believe it’s very important to include NoFollow links in the analysis. Google included NoFollow links as spam examples as part of their answers to reconsideration requests.

We used the Link Check Tool (LCT) to check a total of 4,649 spam link examples for 854 domains from the ones given as spam examples by Google. We found out that 3% of these links were NoFollow links.

If you see that a NoFollow link has a high DTOXRISK label, we recommend that you review the link first. If it does look like a bad link, you should remove it by contacting the webmaster for removal or by disavowing it.

No, you cannot disavow links directly inside Link Detox. Link Detox helps you create a Disavow file including the links you mark with disavow, but you need to upload it to your Google Search Console account for Google to take them into account.

Just like Google, we also recommended disavowing links proactively. If you cannot remove the risky links manually you should go and disavow them.

You can see the history of the disavows using the Disavow File Audit function in Link Detox. This mode allows you to check the DTOXRISK™ for your disavowed links. This feature gives you the chance to undo wrong decisions from the past, by easily un-disavowing good links, and submitting your new disavow file to Google.

Link Detox has a Disavow File Audit mode that allows you to see the DTOXRISK for each disavowed link, helping you find some great backlinks that you already had. All you need to do in order to earn them back is to un-disavow them.

Look at the links with a good LRT Power*Trust and a Very Low or Low DTOXRISK. It they are good, you can quickly undisavow them, export your new disavow file and upload it to your Google Search Console. All the backlinks that you un-disavowed will be removed from your disavow file and Google will count them in the future.

Disavow File Audit

Are some SUSP rules worst than others?

In our classification, we use general rules. Depending on the niche, country, and language there are different factors for a bad link. Therefore, it is not possible to generalize which of our rules are the most dangerous ones. It depends on your website, your niche, your competitors, etc. 

If you are in the gambling industry, for instance, links from gambling sites will be considered normal, whereas such links could be considered risky if your site had nothing to do with gambling.

We recommend filtering out all backlinks according to their DTOXRISK. But keep in mind – always double-check the links you’d like to disavow because if you ignore good links, it might also hurt your site's rankings.

If Link Detox triggers SUSP22, it means that the Link Detox Genesis footprint detection found this domain to be closely related to other domains that link to you. All of the above-mentioned rules are triggered when link networks are suspected. However, the footprint rule is different in each case. For competitive reasons, we cannot disclose more details here.

You can run a Link Detox report for a page or a sub-folder on your website.

Now that Penguin 4.0 is part of Google's core algorithm and works in real-time, we recommend that you check certain parts of your website more often than the others.

Here are some examples on where you can use the subfolder analysis to avoid triggering a Google Penguin filter:

  • Monitor subfolders that contain User Generated Content (UGC), as they can contain spammy comments or posts.
  • Blog vs. product: if you have a blog subfolder on your product website, you need to make a separate risk assessment for the blog, since links to the blog are likely to come from other sources than for general product pages.
  • E-commerce: if you run a typical e-commerce website you will have various subfolders for each product category. You can assess individual categories for their DTOXRISK.

From our experience bad links do not help you, they only harm your link profile. You still need to review all links carefully before you remove them. We never advice disavowing all the links besides the ones with low DTOXRISK. A highly optimized link profile looks suspicious and unnatural to Google.  We don't recommend that you only keep the "prettiest" links. 

It also depends on your niche.  We recommend aiming for a link profile which is similar to your competition. To achieve this goal you can start a Competitive Landscape Analyzer (CLA) or Competitive Link Detox (CDTOX) report to make comparisons.

We aggregate backlinks from 24 different sources, re-crawl and verify them to see if they still exist or if they got deleted. If you see the label [LinkNotFound] instead of anchor text, it means that link is not that location anymore.

What is the Thumbs Up/ Thumbs Down function for?

By using the Thumbs Up/ Thumbs Down function, you tell us if you think the link is good or bad. So if you think a link is bad, then give it a Thumbs down. These decisions are taken into account for risk scoring in the re-process step. Your decisions count 100% for you.

In short:
If you think that a link is GOOD- Thumbs UP
If you think that a link is BAD- Thumbs DOWN

Don’t forget to re-process your report.

In the results table, you can tag each link that you are working on. If you have already contacted some webmasters for link removal, you can tag these as “mail sent” for example. This will help you keep track of all the webmasters that you contacted so far. 

Also, you can add the tag “review” for all the links that you wish to review in detail. You can filter for a tag or even use a complex combination of tags. This feature makes it easier to keep track of what you have done with your links, e.g. mailed, removed, disavowed, reviewed, etc.

Is adding a comment to a disavow file mandatory?

You don't have to add comments to your disavow file, it's optional. These comments are only meant to help you remember the reason behind disavowing some domains. Matt Cutts confirmed that those comments are never seen by a human. However, we know that some webmasters like to include comments to their Disavow file anyways. This is why Link Detox supports a comment function.

Comments are not used by Google. They do not help as part of a Reconsideration Request either. A quote from John Mueller in a hangout said: "The disavow file is something that is processed completely automatically. If you put a lot of text in those comments in the disavow file, then nobody will be looking at them. Those comments are essentially for you, to help you understand the file a little bit better.

Should I disavow the page or the whole domain?

It depends on the individual backlink. If you only have one backlink from a certain domain and no other backlinks, then you can disavow the page only. If you have many bad backlinks from the same domain, then it might be better to disavow the entire domain. If you really don't want to be associated with a domain, you should disavow the domain. 

Be careful not to disavow the entire domain when you have a spammy link from a blog hosted on WordPress, for example. You don't want to disavow the wordpress.org domain, which has a LRT Power*Trust of 100 according to our Link Research SEO Toolbar.

Google only accepts one Disavow file. If you wish to add new links, you have to create and upload a new Disavow file to the Google Disavow Tool. 

Make sure that the disavow file you have in your LinkResearchTools account is the same one you last uploaded to the Google Disavow Tool. We will already label the links that are already in your disavow file with "Disavowed". You can analyze the rest of your links

Whenever you create a new Disavow file in Link Detox, the old files will be overwritten. Link Detox will combine all previous files to one. This way you make sure you always work with the most current file and disavow the links you actually wish to disavow.

In Link Detox, you can upload exported files from various other tools like the Google Search Console, Sistrix, SEMrush, Moz or Majestic. If you would like to merge different data sources and import them into LinkResearchTools, you can create your custom backlink file.

The first line of the file has to be "URL", and it has to be saved as a .CSV-file. If you want to upload large files, you need to save them as .GZ or .ZIP and we will unpack it. 

Here are a few examples for backlink files that you can download from other sources and then upload to LinkResearchTools:

A disavow file that you download from Google looks like this:

In Link Detox (DTOX) you have the option to upload a file and mark these links as disavowed or ignored. There is a difference between those two options.

Disavowed: this option is for links you have disavowed in your disavow file. These URLs will be shown as disavowed in the Results Table and will get automatically included in your disavow file export.

Ignored: This option is for links which you want to have ignored, but have not disavowed. 

Both will get ignored by the tool. The difference is that you see the disavowed links with the link status “disavowed” in the report and your ignored links with the status “ignored”. 

Disavowed backlinks will automatically be included in the export of your disavow file, while ignored backlinks will not be included in the export of your Disavow file.

LinkResearchTools (LRT) aggregates link data from various data sources. However, nobody has a 100% index of the Web. For this reason, we recommend gathering as many link data sources as possible, such as old SEO company reports or link lists and uploading it to LinkResearchTools. 

Remember to also upload the Disavow files in order to receive a correctly calculated Domain DTOXRISK.

We also highly recommend connecting your Google Search Console account with the toolkit. This will add yet another important backlink source to your reports. Find out more about the benefits of link data aggregation in LinkResearchTools (LRT).

If Link Detox can find an email address of the owner or webmaster it will be listed in the results. We display email information by default in the Details Table of Link Detox:

You may need to contact the owner or webmaster of a site that is linking to you because:

  • You want a harmful link removed
  • You want to restore a link that has disappeared
  • You want a link changed to improve it
  • You want to discuss other linking opportunities

Is there a built in function to e-mail multiple webmasters?

Right from LinkResearchTools and Link Detox, you can use Pitchbox to easily contact webmasters for either link removal or to pitch your product, publication, or website to link to.

LRT provides all the link intelligence and market-leading technology with Link Detox, Link Detox Genesis® (our data-driven, organic algorithm), and the invaluable Link Detox Boost® technology to speed up recovery.

By re-running a Link Detox report on a weekly basis, you will be able to notice an increase in your domain's DTOXRISK. The DTOXRISK value will change if more spammy links with a high DTOXRISK are pointing to your website. 

Make sure you run a Link Detox report on a regular basis so that you are always aware of the risk of the new backlinks that your website gets.

You can also use the Link Alerts (LA) tool to get notified when someone links to your website. This way you can review new incoming backlinks immediately and react quickly in case of a negative SEO attack.