Website Bombed With Spam Backlinks – What To Do?

Article updated: 16 Mar 2019

Update Note (December 2018): Google is gradually shutting down good-old Google Webmasters Tools (GWT) console, and replacing it with a shiny new Google Search Console (GSC) tool. Everything in this article essentially stays the same, except to reach new report you must now visit a different URL:

After you verify (select) your PROPERTY (“website” or domain in layman terms), in the center section select Top linking sites report (equivalent of old Links to your site section).

Google Search Console - New! - Replacing Google Webmasters Tools

Google Search Console – New! – Replacing Google Webmasters Tools

More information here in Frequently Asked Questions section.

Recently, our website became a victim of what is known as “backlink bombing“. In SEO terms, this is known as negative blackhat SEO technique aimed to discredit or demote Google PageRank value and credibility of a certain targeted domain.

Google Webmaster Tools – My Website Is Bombed With Backlinks – What To Do?

You can perform regular checks of websites that link to your(s) in your backlinks report with Google Webmasters Tools:

Google Webmasters Tools Search Console > Search Traffic > Links to Your Site

or in new Google Search Console:

Google Search Console > Links > Top linking sites

If you suddenly notice a huge increase in amount of links, usually accompanied with inappropriate anchor text, then your website is definitely a victim of backlink dirty campaign.

What is the best protection to apply in such case? What solution(s) can you implement to protect your asset(s)? Finally, should you be worried? Read to find out.

Google Webmaster Tools - Website Bombed With Backlinks

Google Webmaster Tools – Website Bombed With Backlinks

According to Matthew “Matt” Cutts, software engineer and a prominent former Google employee greatly involved in web spam and linking issues, you have several options at your hand:



Ignore the ‘dirty’ links and simply let Google deal with them. Most of the time, they will not do you any harm at all, as Google engineers give their best to determine a detrimental influence of backlinks. Algorithms behind the scene are continuosly evolving and improving, trying to determine which links seems to be genuine, and which ones are artificial, inorganic, paid, promotional, or aimed to destroy competition. And, especially, those links with abnormal counts, as it is often the case with spam links bombing techniques.


If you have a reasonably small amount of links that you find offensive, inappropriate or unacceptable in any way, you can try to contact problematic website owners and kindly ask them to remove those links from their website(s). In case that this strategy fails, you have one final option to force link removals from your Google Webmaster console.


  1. Go to your Google Webmaster Tools console and open the following link: webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main
  2. Select your domain from the drop-down list and click on red DISAVOW LINKS button:

    Google Webmaster Tools - How To Disavow Backlinks 1

    Google Webmaster Tools – How To Disavow Backlinks 1

  3. Click on another Disavow Links button to acknowledge warning message:
    Google Webmaster Tools - How To Disavow Backlinks 2

    Google Webmaster Tools – How To Disavow Backlinks 2

    A new popup (modal) window will appear asking you to upload a new file. It must be with a .txt extension, containing one URL or domain syntax per line!

    Google Webmaster Tools - How To Disavow Backlinks 3

    Google Webmaster Tools – How To Disavow Backlinks 3

    Click Choose File button to select a file from your computer and click Submit to finish upload procedure. Disavowing links is completely automated procedure, and from this point your job is done.

  4. You can always remove the uploaded file or replace it with an updated version later.


If you see a detrimental influence to your site’s traffic, you should create a report to Google staff and hope for the best.

In (now abandoned) Google Webmaster Tools:
  1. Open your GWT console > Select Asset (website) > go to Search Traffic > Links To Your Site
  2. From there, you should see a HELP drop-down menu, click on it and at the bottom you will see a SEND FEEDBACK menu item. Click on it.
  3. Automatic screenshot will be generated and you can send a message to Google about spam backlinks and keywords issue.
  4. After couple of days/weeks, they should be removed. Your website should be back to normal again.
Google Webmaster Tools - How To Send Feedback Report

Google Webmaster Tools – How To Send Feedback Report

In updated Google Search Console procedure is very similar:
  1. Open your GSC console > Select Property (website) > go to Links > Top linking sites
  2. From there, you should see Submit feedback in the left panel menu. Click on it.
  3. Automatic screenshot will be generated and you can send a message to Google about spam backlinks and keywords issue. Try to position your links so that most offending ones are visible in the generated screenshot, and you should highlight them with yellow-colored select tool.
  4. After couple of days/weeks, they should be removed. Your website should be back to normal again.
Google Search Console - How To Send Feedback Report

Google Search Console – How To Send Feedback Report


Google Webmaster Tools allows you to download DOMAINS and LINKS lists in a .csv (comma-separated values) format or store them on your Google Drive.

Google Webmaster Tools - How To Download Backlinks And Domain Lists In Text CSV File Format

Google Webmaster Tools – How To Download Backlinks And Domain Lists In Text CSV File Format

However, you should be careful here – downloading a complete list of backlinks and going through 50,000+ thousand (update: now it’s over 70,000 – seems to be growing each day!) LINKS manually in our case was a nightmare! Helpful fact is that they are sorted in a natural numeric/alphabetical order (thank goodness!), but it is still very painful (to say at least) to manually revisit each and every one of them!

Google Webmaster Tools - Website Bombed With Backlinks 2

Google Webmaster Tools – Website Bombed With Backlinks 2 – Above links from various domains usually link to a single URL!

More efficient way is to simply download or directly copy/paste selection of top DOMAINS who link the most of your content, and simply disavow them instead.

Remember earlier that your disavow file must be an ordinary text file (with a common .txt extension)? Now, you can either enter a single URL address per line to be disavowed from your backlinks, or more efficiently – you can disavow entire domains simply by putting this:

(there is no need to enter http:// or https:// in front)

Here is an example of a valid domain-based disavow file that will block all the links (both old and new links in the future, like some sort of a regex filter):


The main source of confusion and fear that arises in regard to problem with spam backlinks and disavow links tool are kind of a “mixed signals” users / webmasters receive from Google. As you can see in the above YouTube video (now over 3+ years old), there was no penalty if you don’t take manual actions against those websites and kindly ask them to remove your links from them. However, this looks like an impossible effort in case of massive scale campaigns. There is just no way a single-person (administrator or website owner) can go through and sort it out. It’s just pointless.

But, as you can see from the presented screenshots, Google does kind of insist that you first try manual methods:

(FROM GOOGLE) If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site. You should still make every effort to clean up unnatural links pointing to your site. Simply disavowing them isn’t enough.

Read more here:

Hopefully, our short guide will help you make best decisions and deal with the nasty backlinks and dirty campaigns against your website(s) and assets. Sometimes, they may temporarily have a negative impact, bombing you with dirty unrelated words and what not, but in a long run their effect is fairly limited. Nevertheless, they are taking precious space in your GWT console, being listed on the top, you find it very hard to make sense of the vast amount of data and figure what’s real and what’s not. Usually, those are not hard to recognize, as the amount of links are abnormally high and definitely look unnatural, so you can easily disavow them. They will be listed in the console for some time, though.




    Add Your Comment
  2. 1. Saloni

    Great post. Very helpful.

    Keep up with the work. Cheers

  3. 2. UJjwal

    Thanks. Thanks a lot man, for this post. Mostly same domains also links to my website on a single page i.e. homepage of my site. But the amount of links on my side are very much, around 8,00,000.

    I have a question, should i also disavow intermediate links??

  4. 3. TehnoBlog

    You’re welcome :)

    Sorry, I do not understand what do you mean by ‘intermediate links’. If you disavow entire domain (e.g., then all subdomains will be disavowed, too, and all variants that originate from it.

    It’s been 6+ months and the list is ever growing, strange Google didn’t fix it already, as all GWT Search Consoles are filled with noise.

  5. 4. Ujjwal

    I mean this by intermediate links:

  6. 5. TehnoBlog (In reply to Ujjwal)

    No, as explained in the article, there’s no need to disavow individual links if you simply disavow entire domain.

  7. 6. Ujjwal

    I think you are not understanding what i am trying to say. if you dont mind then can we discuss more on social media or on your email id or over skype. If you will allow me so then please do not publish this comment. simply send me an e-mail on my id with your website’s name.

  8. 7. TehnoBlog (In reply to Ujjwal)

    Hi, I have already answered you to the best of my knowledge. Subdomains are part of domain. Once you block domain, all subdomains (as in your screenshot) should be disavowed, too.

  9. 8. UJjwal

    Ok, just last thing. Suppose my webiste is and is a domain link to my site (or spamming my site) & this link: ( is a subdomin of that domain.

    So the link is connected with my site via the intermediate link which is:

    So my question is should i disavow or ???
    or both these?

  10. 9. TehnoBlog (In reply to UJjwal)

    If you do not see that second domain listed in your Google Webmasters Tools > Links To Your Site console, then my answer is: NO

    Because, Google is not crawled/indexed that second domain and has no knowledge of it (yet) that it links back to your site.

    And, from what I see, it links to a removed YouTube video, not your domain (unless, that was just a random example).

  11. 10. Div


    Recently my website also started getting backlinks from several spam websites such as:

    It seems someone is trying negative SEO on my website intentionally.

    Is disavowing these URLs sufficient? How can we protect such things from happening in future? Are you using any wordpress plug-in or .htaccess trick to stop these spam/referral links, bots, etc?

    I’m getting lots of invalid activity issues in my Adsense account due to these links.

    Any kind of help will be highly appreciated.


  12. 11. TehnoBlog (In reply to Div)

    Hi, yes, this massive campaign is ongoing for over a half a year now, and strangely enough, Google hasn’t taken absolutely nothing so far to remove them, at least from our GWTs.

    I don’t think those are capable of any negative SEO anymore, Google has probably figured that out long time ago and now ignores their “values”, but the fact they are still present in GWT with all the spammy keywords is annoying, to say at least.

    But, disavowing them is a good insurance step, just in case. You should be fine afterwards, but keep monitoring the list, as it seems to grow over time with new domains.

    Not sure about AdSense, but as long as they are properly identified and not counted, you should be fine. You may report them, just in case you clear yourself. But, as I say, they are most probably (99,999%) already aware of this issue (check Google Product forums, for example).

  13. 12. TehnoBlog

    About WordPress security, you can try CIDRAM, it will block most of the automated traffic from cloud networks, hosting companies and alike and should secure your website from spammers up to a point:

    We do not use any particular WordPress security/anti-spam plugin and cannot make any particular recommendations, but you can search WordPress Plugins database and find something suitable. You can even put a captcha wall to suspicious traffic sources, and minimize impact on your AdSense pages. That should greatly help prevent invalid activity warnings.

  14. 13. Div


    Thanks for your reply. Last month Google deducted more than 50% from my earning due to “Invalid activity/traffic”. After that when I investigated, I found these links in GWT.

    I have also received an email from Google regarding significant amount of invalid activity on my site.

    That’s why I’m worried. Can you suggest any plug-in or .htaccess trick to stop/block/prevent such kind of spam/referral sites and bots?

  15. 14. TehnoBlog (In reply to Div)

    Well, that sucks :(

    Check above follow-up answer about WP security and how you can filter unwanted traffic with CIDRAM. ZB Block was also a great script once, but unfortunately, it is no longer maintained and we can only recommend it to users with PHP knowledge, so that they can update it manually and keep it up in shape. There are at least several WP plugins that can help you with spammers and bots, but we don’t have any first-hand experience, so won’t comment or suggest anything in particular.

  16. 15. Ujjwal

    Hey Div, the links you mentioned here:

    are the same domains which also shown in my GWT and its been 6 months. I had disavowed some links but that didn’t work for me. And it lead to 80% search traffic drop of my website.

  17. 16. Ujjwal

    Hey Bro, on more question Should i disavow all the links coming to my site or only those which I think are spamming my site???

  18. 17. TehnoBlog (In reply to Ujjwal)

    Ujjwal, you should be careful NOT to disavow links which are from normal websites, with real/good content. If you go back to the link that is linking to you (you have that in GWT) and you find nothing but ads or blank page, or a non-existing fresh domain, of course you should disavow it.

    About traffic drop – how do you monitor your traffic/search? It is possible that for new websites that huge amount of links has a temporary boost effect, then the opposite. But, I highly doubt that traffic is “real” (comming from real visitors), but instead from automated bots, probes, vulnerability testers, spiders, scrappers etc. Because, if you visit above quoted domains, you will not find any normal content page.

  19. 18. Ujjwal

    Ok Bro, Understood. Thanks for helping me.

  20. 19. kanuj

    Hi bro we are facing a similar situation like you faced and we are bombed with 1000s of .tk and .ml domains – what should we do to get our ranking back we have lost 70% of our traffic due to this – we are planning to disavow all those bad links after careful inspection.

    and how to harden the website security – was your site hacked , have the bad backlinks stopped now?

    Please answer as soon as possible thanks….

  21. 20. TehnoBlog (In reply to kanuj)

    Disavowing bad links seems to be the only viable solution for now. Also, for keywords – create a feedback inside your GWT console and after couple of days you should see most of bad words removed. Creating a feedback report back to Google seems to be the only way to remove them.

    No, our site is not hacked, creating backlink spam does not require any access to the hosting/server. Our traffic was not affected that much, maybe up to 30% max, but it is getting back to normal now.

    About their count, it went to 100 000+ at one point, now it is back to around 70 000.

  22. 21. TehnoBlog

    Google finally removed above spam links from our GWT console. There are few leftovers, though, but most of them are now finally gone.

  23. 22. TehnoBlog

    Update: apparently, new spam campaign is ongoing right now with .ru domains targeting website(s):

  24. 23. Garry

    A bit late to the party but chances are they don’t care about your site and are not trying to hurt you. I just spent a few hours going through a lot of these sites and they all seem to be similar. They will all link to what I would regard as normal sites, a few govt sites and maybe a university site as well as a few random twitter people. Look carefully through the site and you will be bound to find a link that links to a insurance site/hotel site in other words their affiliate site. All they are trying to do is make their site look legit so they can pass on some pr to their affiliate site. They no doubt have hundreds if not 1000’s of sites doing this. Oh and they seem to be using some sort of sentence/word generator.

  25. 24. Rochelle

    Is it possible to disavow an entire extension? In my case almost all the spam links are from sites with .ru domains. Can I disavow *.ru? I’m confident that I’ll never get a quality backlink from a .ru website so don’t mind disavowing any with that extension.

  26. 25. TehnoBlog (In reply to Rochelle)

    No, I’m afraid Google does not offer that possibility right now. You cannot block/disavow entire country TLDs.

    While true that currently RU spam backlink campaign is going on targeting tech websites for whatever reason, in the end that action would most likely hurt your PR value, if number of valid links outnumbers and outweighs bad ones.

  27. 26. Rochelle (In reply to TehnoBlog)

    Now I’m a bit confused. Based on your response (which was very quick – thank you!), should I leave some of the .ru domain backlinks?

  28. 27. TehnoBlog (In reply to Rochelle)

    If they are legit, valid, with related / connected content, absolutely yes. But if domain(s) itself is spammy or unrelated, disavow is one way to deal with it.

  29. 28. Rochelle (In reply to TehnoBlog)

    Thank you for the clarification. It looks like all the .ru domains are spam so I’ll disavow them.

  30. 29. Zeeshan Arain

    Thank you so much sir , such a helpful Article.
    my site is having bombed with bad backlinks and its quantity is now almost 1400000,
    i am using disvow tool,

    If there is any recommendation please give me ,

    Thanks very much

    Best Regards,
    Zeeshan Arain

  31. 30. Monika

    Wow! Very good article, very good information, you have made all my doubts become clear. Thank you very much.

  32. 31. SM


  33. 32. alister

    Very nice post I am also going to remove bad & spam backlinks from my website.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

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