Link Types

Unnatural Links

Glossary  |  2 mins

Read the next term in our glossary

Unnatural links are links that are built intentionally to manipulate search engine rankings.

Intentionally building these links, known as “unnatural link building,” violates Google’s policies and can result in penalties and lost rankings.

Unnatural backlinks often come from low-quality or spammy websites, link farms, or paid links that are intended to artificially inflate a site’s ranking. Search engines consider these links as manipulative and deceptive, and therefore, they can have a negative impact on a website’s search engine ranking.

Dealing with Unnatural Links

If your website has been penalised by search engines due to unnatural links, it’s essential to remove them to regain your ranking position. Even before incurring any penalties, it’s a good idea to remove any unnatural links that may have been built by ill-informed SEO efforts in the past.

Sometimes, getting rid of unnatural links can be as simple as reaching out to the webmaster of the referring domain and asking them to delete the relevant link, but when you notice links coming from poor-quality, spammy sites, you may need to go a step further and disavow these links through Google.

You can use the Google Disavow Links tool to disavow unnatural links, which allows you to upload a list of URLs or domains you want to disavow. However, you should only use this tool in circumstances where you’re absolutely sure the links are harming your website’s ranking. Disavowing quality links can negatively impact your site’s link profile and potential to rank, and this damage can be very hard to reverse.

Back to glossary

EBook Icon eBook

Download a PDF version of our glossary for everything you need to know


Unnatural Links FAQs

What is an unnatural link?

An unnatural link is a link that is built intentionally to manipulate search engine rankings. This practice is a violation of search engine guidelines and can result in penalties for website owners.

Should you remove unnatural links?

Yes, you should remove unnatural links to protect your website from penalties and to maintain your online reputation. Pruning unnatural links can raise the overall strength of your site’s backlink profile and improve your chances of improving your organic search rankings. When doing this through link disavowal, it’s important to exercise caution and only disavow links that you’re 100% sure are harming your potential to rank.

Questions to ask your link builder