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

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Google’s John Mueller answered a question about utilizing the link disavow tool and used a pointer about the very best way to use it, specifically pointing out links flagged by tools.

Although this tool was introduced ten years ago there is still much confusion regarding the appropriate usage 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 ushered in a period of extraordinary turmoil in the search marketing community due to the fact that numerous people were purchasing and offering links.

This period of honestly purchasing and selling links came to a stop on Might 2012 when the Penguin algorithm update was released and thousands of websites lost rankings.

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

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

The SEO community asked Google for a much easier way to disavow links and in response 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 idea of a link disavow tool was something that had been kicking around for several years, a minimum of since 2007.

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

Google’s official statement from October 2012 discussed:

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

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

Google likewise used information of what kinds of links could activate a manual action:

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

John Mueller Recommendations on Link Disavow Tool

Mueller responded to a question about disavowing links to a domain property and as a side note provided suggestions on the correct use of the tool.

The concern asked was:

“The disavow function in Search Console is presently unavailable for domain properties. What are the options then?”

John Mueller addressed:

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

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

Then Mueller included an extra comment about the correct way to use the link disavow tool.

Mueller continued his answer:

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

It alters absolutely nothing.

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

Toxic Link Tools and Random Links

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

Those toxicity ratings may accurately rank how bad particular links appear to be however they don’t necessarily correlate with how Google ranks and uses links.

Toxic link tool scores are simply opinions.

The tools are useful for producing an automated backlink evaluation, especially when they highlight unfavorable links that you believed were great.

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

Should You Think Anecdotal Evidence of Poisonous Hyperlinks?

Many people experience ranking losses and when examining their backlinks are shocked to find a large quantity of exceptionally low quality websites connecting to their sites.

Naturally it’s assumed that this is the reason for the ranking drops and a perpetual 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 concerned me about an unfavorable SEO attack. I had a look at the links and they were really bad, precisely as explained.

There were hundreds of adult themed spam links with precise match anchor text on unrelated adult subjects indicating his site.

Those backlinks fit the meaning of a negative SEO attack.

I wondered so I independently called a Googler by email.They emailed me back the next day and verified that negative SEO was not the reason that the website had actually lost rankings.

The genuine cause for the loss of rankings was that the site was impacted by the Panda algorithm.

What triggered the Panda algorithm was poor quality material that the website owner had actually produced.

I have actually seen this sometimes ever since, where the real problem was that the website owner was unable to objectively evaluate their own content so they blamed links.

It’s handy to keep in mind that what appears like the obvious reason for a loss in rankings is not always the actual reason, it’s simply the simplest to blame due to the fact that it’s apparent.

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


Featured image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero

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