Google: Disavowing Random Links Flagged By Tools Is A Wild-goose Chase

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Google’s John Mueller responded to a question about using the link disavow tool and offered a pointer about the very best way to use it, specifically discussing links flagged by tools.

Although this tool was introduced ten years ago there is still much confusion as to the proper use of it.

Link Disavow Tool

The link disavow tool was presented by Google in October 2012.

The disavow tool followed in the wake of the Penguin Algorithm from May 2012, which ushered in a duration of unprecedented turmoil in the search marketing neighborhood due to the fact that many individuals were purchasing and selling links.

This duration of freely buying and selling links pulled up on Might 2012 when the Penguin algorithm update was launched and countless sites lost rankings.

Getting paid links removed was a substantial pain for due to the fact that they had to demand removal from every site, one by one.

There were so many link removal requests that some website owners started charging a cost to get rid of the links.

The SEO community pled Google for a much easier method to disavow links and in action to popular need Google released the Link Disavow tool on October 2012 for the express purpose of disavowing spam links that a website owner was accountable for.

The idea of a link disavow tool was something that had been subjugating for many years, a minimum of because 2007.

Google withstood releasing that tool until after the Penguin update.

Google’s main announcement from October 2012 explained:

“If you’ve been alerted of a manual spam action based upon “unnatural links” indicating your site, this tool can assist you resolve the issue.

If you haven’t gotten this alert, this tool generally isn’t something you require to fret about.”

Google likewise provided details of what sort of links might activate a manual action:

“We send you this message when we see proof of paid links, link exchanges, or other link schemes that violate our quality standards.”

John Mueller Guidance on Link Disavow Tool

Mueller addressed a concern about disavowing links to a domain property and as a side note provided recommendations on the proper usage of the tool.

The concern asked was:

“The disavow function in Search Console is currently not available for domain properties. What are the choices then?”

John Mueller addressed:

“Well, if you have domain level confirmation in location, you can confirm the prefix level without needing any extra tokens.

Confirm that host and do what you need to do.”

Then Mueller included an additional comment about the appropriate method to use the link disavow tool.

Mueller continued his answer:

“Likewise, bear in mind that disavowing random links that look strange or that some tool has actually flagged, is not a great use of your time.

It alters absolutely nothing.

Use the disavow tool for situations where you in fact spent for links and can’t get them gotten rid of later on.”

Poisonous Link Tools and Random Links

Many third party tools use proprietary algorithms to score backlinks according to how spammy or poisonous the tool company feels they are.

Those toxicity ratings might accurately rank how bad specific links seem however they do not necessarily associate with how Google ranks and utilizes links.

Harmful link tool scores are just opinions.

The tools are useful for producing an automated backlink evaluation, particularly when they highlight unfavorable links that you thought were excellent.

However, the only links one must be disavowing are the links one understands are spent for or are a part of a link scheme.

Should You Believe Anecdotal Evidence of Harmful Links?

Many people experience ranking losses and when inspecting their backlinks are surprised to find a large amount of very low quality webpages linking to their sites.

Naturally it’s presumed that this is the factor for the ranking drops and a relentless cycle of link disavowing commences.

In those cases it might be useful to think about that there is some other factor for the change in rankings.

One case that stands out is when someone came to me about a negative SEO attack. I had a look at the links and they were really bad, exactly as explained.

There were hundreds of adult themed spam relate to exact match anchor text on unrelated adult subjects indicating his website.

Those backlinks fit the definition of an unfavorable SEO attack.

I wondered so I privately got in touch with a Googler by email.They emailed me back the next day and validated that negative SEO was not the reason that the website had lost rankings.

The real cause for the loss of rankings was that the website was impacted by the Panda algorithm.

What activated the Panda algorithm was poor quality content that the website owner had developed.

I have actually seen this lot of times since then, where the genuine problem was that the website owner was unable to objectively review their own material so they blamed links.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that what appears like the obvious reason for a loss in rankings is not always the actual reason, it’s just the easiest to blame since it’s obvious.

However as John Mueller stated, disavowing links that a tool has flagged which aren’t paid links is not an excellent usage of time.

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Included image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero

Listen to the Google SEO Workplace Hours video at the 1:10 minute mark