Google has done a lot to deal with irrelevant and toxic links, but what does that mean for SEO? Does disavowing links do anything now that Google has made these changes? These are questions that people are asking, and I’d like to spend time answering them. Hopefully, I can answer all of your questions regarding disavowing toxic and spam links and if it helps your site’s overall rankings.
What Does It Mean to Have A Spammy Or Toxic Link?
A toxic or spammy link isn’t a new concept, but it does have meaning. A spammy link is simply a bad link. It’s something like an unnatural link, a paid-for link, or maybe it is just irrelevant to your business or website. It is something that will be harmful to your website and could ultimately lead to a Google penalty if you’re not careful. At least that’s the narrative regarding such links.
Having a white label SEO company on your team could help you with another part of the process. You’ll have a source that can ensure that no links are being placed on your website’s subdomains or internal pages. White Label SEO could even check out the structure and design of your site, so if any of your pages are not following a pattern like a typical website, they might be put on the blacklist.
What Is Google’s Current Stance on The Disavow File?
In the past, the disavow file was a huge thing. You had to fill it out if you wanted any recovery from your penalty, and in many ways, it was your last resort for getting out of a penalty. However, Google has made many changes and worked hard to improve algorithms to identify spammy links without needing human interaction.
Google has changed the disavow file to “a recommendation,” and you can still take care of it, but it is no longer a requirement for recovery. Most people who have been in the game for a while know that disavow was a vital tool for getting out of a penalty, but Google has managed to find much better alternatives than just sending out an email to try and get links removed. The new tools they use are just as good at finding spammy links to detect fake or paid-for links.
Why Has Google Created These Changes in The Past Year?
Every year, Google’s algorithm changes. Most of these changes are focused on detecting spammy, paid, and toxic links. If you have links that are specified as nofollow, Google will see this as “hints” or “advice” to lower their effect or credit. However, those links may be followed and Google will still “see” them. Marking spammy or toxic links with a nofollow is insufficient. You must disavow these types of links since those links won’t help your website and can cause a penalty. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
What Is Google’s Position on Disavowing Links? What Does It Mean For SEO?
Google has changed its role from the keeper of the keys to being a gatekeeper much more significantly than most people know. They have been making proactive changes that have benefited business owners and SEOs alike. I’m not saying these changes have all been suitable for everyone, but they have helped more people than not.
Here’s A List of Some Of Google’s Recent Changes And What They Mean:
Google has changed its algorithm to be more “human.”
Now they are using the same algorithms to find spammy and paid links as humans are using. What does this mean for SEO? It means Google has become more proactive in finding spammy links and spammy actions. They won’t just wait around for you to find out about something after it’s happened. They will find it on their own and act on it.
Google Is No Longer Looking at The Disavow File As A Savior.
It’s a recommendation but not a requirement. If you want to recover from the penalty, you can fill it out, but there are newer and more efficient ways to recover now. Most of Google’s actions have been proactive, so you won’t have to wait around for something to happen with your site to find out what went wrong.Most people who have been in the game for a while know that disavow was a vital tool for getting out of a penalty, but Google has managed to find much better alternatives than just sending out an email to try and get links removed Click To Tweet
Google Has Changed How They Rank Algorithms and Has Made It More Real-Time.
This is especially true with the Google Penguin algorithm and the many other changes they have been making. They want to make sure the website rankings are accurate and that only those who deserve to rank well do it. If your website is up to par with what Google wants, you will continue to rank well, even if bad links are pointing at you.
Google can now flag suspicious links much faster than ever before.
They no longer rely on a human to look through many website forums or comment sections to find any potential issues. They count on machine learning and artificial intelligence to flag these problems. They can get suspicious links flagged in minutes, not hours or days.
Is Disavowing Links a Significant Component Of Search Engine Optimization?
It’s important, but not as important as it used to be. Disavowing links used to be a valuable tool in the SEO arsenal, but thanks to the proactive changes that Google, and other search engines have made, it has dropped down the list of SEO tasks. We always keep it on the list of tasks as we still want to make sure we cover all bases. Once we cover the more important ranking factors, we always swing by and review the backlink status of our clients.
The bigger the client, the more we want to watch them. We’ve had clients penalized by Google for backlinks that appeared to be paid for but were coming from foreign countries and were suspected of having been black hat tactics employed by competitors. Sometimes Legal actions had to be taken, to deal with these situations, so watching backlinks aren’t always about disavowal.
What About Disavowing Links? Is It Worth the Effort And Time?
Disavowing links is more than just finding links and putting them into the disavowal file. It scans sites, finds the links, identifies web admins, sends out requests for link removals, and then puts the links into the disavowal file. That’s a lot of work; however, we have a proprietary tool that does everything for us. If you don’t have a tool like that, the manual process may not be worth the effort.
Since we have the tools available, we will spend the time working through the backlinks and developing the disavowal files. Again, we don’t put this at the top of our list, but we make sure it’s on the list. We also don’t do this once and forget about it. It’s on the list of routine tasks that we review regularly. Google does a fantastic job of taking a lot of the hassle of needing to disavowal to recover from penalties, but that doesn’t mean there’s no reason to spend the time when you have more important tasks completed.
Google may still lose trust in a website if there are enough backlink issues, or their systems can’t figure it out. If that’s even a possibility for one of our clients, we will do what we can to prevent it. The fact that it’s such a slight chance is why we don’t worry about them initially. If we have enough issues to address and don’t get to disavowing links until much later, we’ll deal with them later.
If we’ve learned anything in the many years of SEO service to our clients, it’s that Google does things to benefit Google, which may benefit our clients, but it’s not always guaranteed. If we have the means to do something that “may” help a client, we are responsible for doing those things. I’d rather be safe than be sorry that I didn’t do all I could for my clients.
Written by, Doyle Clemence