Identify Spam Links

How to identify Spam Links with Screaming Frog after a hack.

Spam Links Audit

With a progression in the use of CMS such as WordPress; Joomla, Drupal etc. so-called Spam attacks have also increased with millions of links invading forums, blogs or websites. This increasingly pressing problem is common knowledge and grips large percentages of sites even in Italy compromising website security and organic ranking.

Let’s see together a simple process to find every spam link on the website thanks to Screaming Frog.

Seo Analysis

  • Configure crawler settings: the first task is to configure the Seo Spider to search for Spam Links by enabling it to crawl only the following items:
    • Check external links.
    • Check links Outside of Start Folder.
    • Canonical Crawl.
    • Extract Hreflang.
  • Disable > Follow External “Nofollow”
  • Configure an “Exclusion” filter (Config > Exclude): in this list we can include a whole range of websites for which it is normal to have outbound links. For example, we may include Twitter, Wikipedia, Facebook or other sites legitimized by us to have a link. Through this filter we will be able to lighten the scan and not have to check an endless list of External Links.
  • Start the scan.

Case Study: Spam Link Analysis

To try this simple tutorial, we typed the query “Comune Italiano sex, viagra” into Google and found among the results the institutional website:

Considering it as a potential “case study” we crawled it by setting the Seo Spider as mentioned earlier in the article and the results were as follows:

As you can see record 2 and 5 refer to adult sites.

At this point by selecting these spam links and checking the Inlinks, in the lower window of the Seo Spider, we have isolated the link sources.

We then moved to the right of the “Inlinks” tab of the Seo Spider to check the position of the link in the Html.

With these few steps, it was really easy to discover some spam links in the analyzed site. Of course in sites with thousands of pages there could be dozens of thousands of malicious or spammy URLs but by understanding the “Link Position” and exporting the “Inlinks” we will always have everything under control.

This process allows controlling the presence of these unwanted guests but, at the same time, is not the solution to eradicating them. It will then be necessary to patch the CMS or suitable firewalls for the cause.

A final tip for a consistently safe and link spam-free site is to crawl the site cleanly and without unwanted links, set up a periodic automated crawl, and compare weekly or every fortnight the “illiquid” crawl with the live crawl through the “Compare” function.

Helpful Guides: Scheduled Scan | Compare Two Scans

Seo Spider Tab