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

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

Although this tool was presented 10 years ago there is still much confusion as to the appropriate use of it.

Connect 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 Might 2012, which introduced a period of unmatched turmoil in the search marketing community since many people were purchasing and selling links.

This duration of openly purchasing and selling links pulled up on May 2012 when the Penguin algorithm update was released and countless websites lost rankings.

Getting paid links eliminated was a big pain for because they needed to request removal from every site, one by one.

There were so many link removal demands that some website owners began charging a cost to eliminate the links.

The SEO neighborhood pled Google for a simpler way to disavow links and in action to popular demand Google launched the Link Disavow tool on October 2012 for the express function of disavowing spam links that a website owner was responsible for.

The concept of a link disavow tool was something that had been kicking around for many years, a minimum of because 2007.

Google withstood releasing that tool till after the Penguin update.

Google’s main statement from October 2012 explained:

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

If you have not gotten this notification, this tool typically isn’t something you need to fret about.”

Google also provided information of what type of links could activate a manual action:

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

John Mueller Guidance on Link Disavow Tool

Mueller answered a question about disavowing links to a domain residential or commercial property and as a side note used suggestions on the proper usage of the tool.

The question asked was:

“The disavow feature in Browse Console is presently unavailable for domain residential or commercial properties. What are the choices then?”

John Mueller answered:

“Well, if you have domain level confirmation in place, you can confirm the prefix level without requiring any additional tokens.

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

Then Mueller included an extra remark about the correct way to utilize the link disavow tool.

Mueller continued his response:

“Likewise, keep in mind that disavowing random links that look odd or that some tool has actually flagged, is not an excellent usage of your time.

It changes nothing.

Utilize the disavow tool for scenarios where you actually paid for links and can’t get them removed later on.”

Hazardous Link Tools and Random Hyperlinks

Numerous third party tools utilize exclusive algorithms to score backlinks according to how spammy or harmful the tool business feels they are.

Those toxicity scores might properly rank how bad particular links appear to be but they do not necessarily correlate with how Google ranks and utilizes links.

Hazardous link tool ratings are just opinions.

The tools work for generating an automated backlink review, particularly when they highlight negative links that you thought were excellent.

However, the only links one need to be disavowing are the links one knows are paid for or belong of a link plan.

Should You Think Anecdotal Evidence of Hazardous Hyperlinks?

Many individuals experience ranking losses and when examining their backlinks are shocked to find a large amount of very poor quality web pages connecting to their websites.

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

In those cases it might work to think about that there is some other reason for the change in rankings.

One case that stands out is when somebody came to me about an unfavorable SEO attack. I took a look at the links and they were truly bad, precisely as described.

There were hundreds of adult themed spam relate to exact match anchor text on unassociated adult subjects pointing to his site.

Those backlinks fit the definition of an unfavorable SEO attack.

I was curious so I independently got in touch with a Googler by email.They emailed me back the next day and verified that unfavorable SEO was not the reason why the website had actually lost rankings.

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

What set off the Panda algorithm was poor quality content that the website owner had actually developed.

I have seen this often times since then, where the genuine issue was that the website owner was unable to objectively review their own content so they blamed links.

It’s helpful to keep in mind that what appears like the apparent reason for a loss in rankings is not necessarily the real factor, it’s just the simplest to blame due to the fact that it’s obvious.

But as John Mueller said, disavowing links that a tool has flagged and that aren’t paid links is not a great usage of time.


Featured image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero

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