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When you use SEMrush for Backlink audits, you are essentially doing a quick health check on the backlink profile of your website.

Who’s linking to you? Are those links genuine and healthy or are you being bombarded with all sorts of shady links to your site?

When you have too many shady links pointing to your website (it happens without you knowing about it), your overall “toxic score” increases. That’s when you get into dangerous territory.

High toxic link scores ruin your chances of doing better with your SEO and to rank well on Google.  

Backlink audit might sound fancy to you (it does to me).

As your website gains traffic and gets even slightly popular, you get good things happening to your site. Like, other bloggers will start linking to your content. People will mention your brand.

All that’s good.

Using SEMrush, you can quickly do a backlink audit and take the necessary steps to decrease your overall toxicity score. Here’s how to do it:

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Sign up for SEMrush for Free

First, go ahead and sign up for your SEMrush account for free (you don’t need to upgrade just yet).

Create a project

SEMrush has a lot to offer inside, but we are on the clock here so we’ll head straight to the backlink audit tool.

However, before you do that, just create a project for your own site (or for a client if that’s what you want to do).

With the options you’ll be presented, pick the backlink audit option.

Click on Backlink audit and you’ll be presented with a dashboard with all the links pointing to your website, your overall toxic score, referring domains, the number of backlinks analyzed, and domains by toxic score.

Each backlink is awarded a “toxic score”. You can choose to keep (whitelist) the links pointing to your website or delete the links.

When it comes to deleting links with SEMrush, you’ll have two options:

  • Disavow
  • Remove

If you choose to click on delete and disavow, the link in question is added to your “disavow list” (seen in a separate tab in your backlink audit dashboard).

You can later upload your list of disavowed links to the Google Disavow tool manually or through the Google Search Console.

Note: You can also integrate Google Search Console with SEMrush (need to add SEMrush as a user within your Google Search Console account) to allow SEMrush to do it automatically for you.

Check all the links (one by one, if you are the devil with an absolute love for detail like me) one-by-one and take necessary action (keep or delete).

With delete, I find it easier to “disavow” and add the list to Google’s disavow tool.

With “remove” option, you’ll be given a way to reach webmasters to request them to remove links. I don’t want to spend time writing to site owners to remove links. I just don’t have the time for that.

Let’s assume you are with me and you’ll use the “disavow” option.

  • Keep links that have low toxic score and are genuine. Check every link and choose links you want to disavow (the shady ones).
  • Your “disavow” list automatically populates (check the tab that says Disavow).
  • Once you are done, click on “Import Disavow links” as shown below

You’ll download a .txt file (notepad?).

Click on the link for Google Disawow tool, follow the instructions, and upload your .txt disavow file to Google.


If you are connected, this is how it’ll look like:

That’s it.


Once you are done, you can even re-run your backlink audit again inside SEMrush. If you do, this is how your backlink profile should look like:

Keeping your backlink profile is imperative (whether or not you do SEO).

Heck, you might even think that SEO is overrated (like I do). Yet, you owe it your business to do regular backlink audits for your sanity (and maybe success).

Go ahead and clean your backlink profile with SEMrush for free.

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Hey! Just want to get this out of the way. Some of the links in the blog post (and/or videos) are affiliate links. This means that I’d earn beer money if you ever decide to purchase any of the tools, products, services, plugins, or anything else I could be linking to. For more details, please do read my affiliate disclosure policy. 

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