Google: Disavowing Random Links Flagged By Tools Is A Waste Of Time

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Google’s John Mueller responded to a concern about utilizing the link disavow tool and used a suggestion about the best method to use it, specifically mentioning links flagged by tools.

Although this tool was presented ten years ago there is still much confusion as to the correct usage of it.

Connect Disavow Tool

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

The disavow tool followed in the wake of the Penguin Algorithm from May 2012, which introduced a duration of unmatched chaos in the search marketing neighborhood since so many people were buying and selling links.

This period of honestly purchasing and selling links pulled up on May 2012 when the Penguin algorithm update was launched and countless sites lost rankings.

Earning money links removed was a huge pain for since they had to request removal from every website, one by one.

There were numerous link removal demands that some site owners began charging a charge to remove the links.

The SEO community begged Google for a simpler way 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 site owner was accountable for.

The concept of a link disavow tool was something that had been kicking around for several years, at least since 2007.

Google resisted launching that tool up until after the Penguin update.

Google’s main statement from October 2012 discussed:

“If you’ve been informed of a manual spam action based on “abnormal links” pointing to your website, this tool can help you deal with the problem.

If you haven’t gotten this notice, this tool typically isn’t something you require to stress over.”

Google also used details of what type of links might set off 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 standards.”

John Mueller Recommendations on Link Disavow Tool

Mueller responded to a question about disavowing links to a domain residential or commercial property and as a side note provided advice on the proper use of the tool.

The concern asked was:

“The disavow function in Browse Console is currently not available for domain homes. What are the alternatives then?”

John Mueller responded to:

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

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

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

Mueller continued his answer:

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

It alters nothing.

Use the disavow tool for circumstances where you in fact paid for links and can’t get them gotten rid of afterwards.”

Hazardous Link Tools and Random Links

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

Those toxicity scores might precisely rank how bad certain links appear to be but they do not necessarily correlate with how Google ranks and uses links.

Toxic link tool ratings are simply viewpoints.

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

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

Should You Think Anecdotal Evidence of Poisonous Hyperlinks?

Lots of people experience ranking losses and when inspecting their backlinks are shocked to find a big amount of very low quality web pages connecting to their sites.

Naturally it’s assumed that this is the reason for the ranking drops and a nonstop cycle of link disavowing commences.

In those cases it may work to consider that there is some other reason for the change in rankings.

One case that stands apart is when somebody came to me about an unfavorable SEO attack. I had a look at the links and they were actually bad, precisely as explained.

There were hundreds of adult themed spam links with exact match anchor text on unassociated adult topics pointing to his website.

Those backlinks fit the definition of an unfavorable SEO attack.

I wondered so I privately contacted a Googler by email.They emailed me back the next day and confirmed that negative SEO was not the reason why the website had actually lost rankings.

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

What set off the Panda algorithm was poor quality material that the website owner had actually created.

I have seen this many times ever since, where the real issue was that the site owner was not able to objectively examine their own material so they blamed links.

It’s valuable to bear in mind that what looks 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 apparent.

However as John Mueller stated, disavowing links that a tool has actually flagged which aren’t paid links is not a good 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