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

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Google’s John Mueller addressed a question about utilizing the link disavow tool and provided a pointer about the best method to use it, specifically discussing links flagged by tools.

Although this tool was introduced ten years ago there is still much confusion regarding the correct use 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 ushered in a duration of unmatched turmoil in the search marketing neighborhood due to the fact that so many people were buying and selling links.

This duration of openly buying and offering links pulled up on Might 2012 when the Penguin algorithm upgrade was launched and countless websites lost rankings.

Getting paid links eliminated was a big discomfort for because they needed to demand removal from every website, one by one.

There were numerous link elimination requests that some website owners started charging a charge to remove the links.

The SEO community asked Google for a simpler way to disavow links and in reaction to popular need Google released 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 actually been kicking around for many years, at least since 2007.

Google withstood launching that tool till after the Penguin upgrade.

Google’s official announcement from October 2012 discussed:

“If you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on “unnatural links” indicating your site, this tool can help you attend to the issue.

If you have not gotten this alert, this tool normally isn’t something you require to stress over.”

Google also used details of what sort of links could trigger a manual action:

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

John Mueller Guidance on Link Disavow Tool

Mueller responded to a question about disavowing links to a domain home and as a side note provided advice on the correct usage of the tool.

The concern asked was:

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

John Mueller answered:

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

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

Then Mueller added an extra comment about the appropriate method to use the link disavow tool.

Mueller continued his response:

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

It alters absolutely nothing.

Utilize the disavow tool for circumstances where you in fact paid for links and can’t get them eliminated afterwards.”

Toxic Link Tools and Random Hyperlinks

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

Those toxicity ratings may properly rank how bad certain links appear to be however they do not necessarily correlate with how Google ranks and utilizes links.

Poisonous link tool ratings are just viewpoints.

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

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

Should You Believe Anecdotal Evidence of Poisonous Links?

Lots of people experience ranking losses and when inspecting their backlinks are stunned to discover a big quantity of extremely low quality websites linking to their sites.

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

In those cases it might be useful to think about that there is some other factor for the modification 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 truly bad, exactly as described.

There were numerous adult themed spam relate to exact match anchor text on unassociated adult topics indicating 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 verified that negative SEO was not the reason why the site had actually 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 created.

I have seen this lot of times ever since, where the real issue was that the website owner was unable to objectively review their own material so they blamed links.

It’s practical to bear in mind that what appears like the obvious reason for a loss in rankings is not always the real factor, it’s just the most convenient to blame because it’s obvious.

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


Included image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero

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