Google: What to do about spammy backlinks to your site


djbaxter

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Google Advises About Spammy Backlinks
by Roger Montti,Search Engine Journal
September 20, 2018

Google’s John Mueller answered a question on the topic of what to do about spammy links to a site. The concern was that rankings might be harmed by the links.

Here is the question:

“There are tens of thousands of backlinks to our website… I heard a lot from you… that there are websites which are… spammy websites, maybe penalized by Google… What should we do about those websites? Should we just ignore and act like we don’t know anything?”


Google’s John Mueller answered:

“For the most part, unless you’re aware of kind of regular activity that… a previous SEO or like someone in the past has been doing for your website with regards to links then I wouldn’t about it.

That’s something where if a website has been around for a long time then it has links from all kinds of crazy places. …These are things we see on the web all the time.”

The important takeaway is that spammy links are a normal part of the web. If you are concerned about spammy links, perhaps it may be more useful to focus on on-page factors to understand why a is not ranking where you think it should.

John Mueller went on to reassure the publisher asking the question that spammy links are normal.

“It’s interesting to take a look from time to time and maybe you can spot things that you should have cleaned up in the past but for the most part kind of this mix of weird web pages everywhere linking to other web pages I think that’s a normal part of the web. “


Read more...
 

Phil Rozek

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A wordsmith, as always, that JohnMu.

Some questions are better saved for Danny Sullivan. His answer might be crunchier, given his longtime position that spammy links just "shouldn't count."

(Not that John Mueller's suggestion is off. Google is good at tuning out the bad links, in my experience.)
 

sjr4x4

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Hi Phil, big fan of your newsletter :)

I do get frustrated with spammy backlinks. Used to spend ages disavowing, but never made any difference and a few months later there would be a fresh block of low quality links.

I came to the opinion Google ignores them and continually disavowing is a waste of energy.

On our official trader site, only members that are vetted can join, so this cuts down the volume of links, but as tradespeople tend to have typically poor ranking or low quality sites, even these are flagged as toxic and spam as they naturally link to us. In reality they are fine, but it shows the limitations of a lot of link tools and the need to examine your link profile with sensible eyes, rather than reports of doom.
 

Phil Rozek

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Thanks for saying so, Steve!

Couldn't agree more with the "just look at your links" approach.

Every site that has been around a while has some crappy links that the owner(s) had no hand in getting. At least in my experience, that only becomes a problem if (1) the owner also hired a legitimate-looking SEO company that in turn bought a bunch of bad links, or if (2) the site doesn't have any/many good, hard-to-earn links to offset the bad links. Google seems much more forgiving of a site that has at least some good links to its name.
 

mborgelt

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This is great info for clients who are hyper-obsessed with their backlink profile and get distracted from the big picture and for sites that get links from amateur blogs/sites.
 
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Thanks for saying so, Steve!

Couldn't agree more with the "just look at your links" approach.

Every site that has been around a while has some crappy links that the owner(s) had no hand in getting. At least in my experience, that only becomes a problem if (1) the owner also hired a legitimate-looking SEO company that in turn bought a bunch of bad links, or if (2) the site doesn't have any/many good, hard-to-earn links to offset the bad links. Google seems much more forgiving of a site that has at least some good links to its name.
I've seen this as well. Almost all of my client's competitors that rank well have some element of spammy backlinks. I honestly hope Google changes this in the future since I work for a strictly white hat SEO agency.
 

Phil Rozek

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@JonClassyBrain, yeah, but in many cases those bad links are a red herring. They're not why those sites rank well, but rather they mean the owner of the site has gone to some effort to rustle up links. Most of that effort is misguided, usually, but the flipside is they've probably got at least a couple of decent links, too. Those do most or all of the work, in terms of whatever rankings you see.

Even a few half-decent links seem to make a difference. In most local markets, the bar is real low.
 
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I have found the better a site ranks, the more spam it gets. A ton of it is spammy sites pull from top ranking sites for given keywords and link back to them to look legit. Its also way to easy to try and do negative seo so im glad google just throws those links in the we dont care pile.
 

A_parisian

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Hi,

Backlinks from spammy domains aren't an issue. A low quality backlink simply doesn't pass any juice, that's it.

Disavowing is useless in most of cases and in the case you're trying to get rid of blasts purchased years ago (or bought on Fiverr recently by someone new to SEO), you're basically telling Google you're guilty.
 

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