You’ll come across two opinions on backlinks. Ignore them. Watch every backlink carefully and disavow as soon as you think a backlink is bad. You should certainly not ignore backlinks – they are important for SEO. But you don’t have to immediately disavow backlink you think is shady. In this post, our SEO experts from Perth tell why you need to disavow some backlinks and when to do it.
To understand disavowal, let us first look at what bad backlinks are and how they hurt your site.
What is a Backlink?
As the name suggests, a backlink is when a website is linked to by another website. Example – Website A mentions Website B in a post and links to it. For A it is an external link. For B it is an inbound link or backlink.
Backlinks are important for SEO – they are a sign of authority. Backlinks mean that others find your site trustworthy enough to link to your site. If your webpage is linked back to, by a lot of other sites, search engines will consider it as an authority site. It will be easier for you to gain a higher rank in SERPs.
So, does a high number of backlinks mean that your site will top the results? Not always. It depends on the quality of the sites linking to you.
What are Bad Backlinks and Where do they Come from?
Google considers a backlink as bad when it violates link quality guidelines. Bad backlinks hurt your ranking, as well as may attract penalties.
Links from low quality or spammy sites
A large number of links from one site is a sure-shot way of attracting Google’s attention – that the links are spammy. It doesn’t have to be always from one site. A large number of no-follow links from multiple sites will be considered as spammy by search engines. Similarly, links from pages that have non-relevant content will raise Google’s suspicions
Private Blog Networks
Private Blog Networks (PBNs) were used to build a high quantity link profile. But now they are considered as spammy by Google.
Links from well-known and established discussion forums are good as long as the comments are relevant. Links from spammy comments or low-quality discussion forums are considered as bad backlinks.
Link directories provide no useful content; links from them are considered as unnatural and spammy.
Any purchased links from link schemes will be seen as manipulative; steer clear of link schemes.
Getting backlinks from press distribution sites are outdated. Google considers it a manipulative tactic. If you really need to use a press release, use naked URLs instead of exact match anchor texts.
Any unnatural linking tactic that is not ‘earned’ will always be suspicious in a search engines’ eyes. You should disavow such linkselse they can harm your SEO.
How do Bad Backlinks Harm Your Website?
A few years back Google ignored low-quality links; they would not affect your ranking positively or negatively. But as link-building got exploited, Google introduced Penguin to catch bad links. Now with the Penguin algorithm, low-quality links are caught and sites are penalised. A penalty can cause rankings to plummet, and if it’s bad enough, the site can be completely de-indexed.
Your site can be penalised in two ways – manually and algorithmically (by Penguin)
Even with Penguin’s introduction, Google continues to have a strong team that reviews websites, catch spammy links and assign penalties manually.
The Penguin algorithm continues to be refined and become better at sniffing out bad backlinks. No human review is done, and the algorithm assigns penalties based on your link profile.
Another way bad links harm your site is through ‘Negative SEO’. It is a black hat SEO technique, where somebody buys thousands of spammy links and points it to a competitor’s websites. This causes search engines to penalise the competitor site and the rankings go down. This is why you should disavow backlinks.
What Does Disavow Backlinks Mean?
In simple terms, it means you are asking Google to ignore some backlinks to your site because they are affecting your site’s rankings. If your request is accepted, these links will not be considered for or against you. Disregarding links can affect your search rankings, so you must be sure that those links are hurting your SEO and rankings. Remember, that a link from a low traffic website doesn’t necessarily mean it is spammy or the link is bad.
A disavowal file submission doesn’t mean that Google will immediately accept your request. You can also request for deletion of disavowal submissions. It is not necessary that Google should honour your requests immediately. It is, therefore, necessary to be sure that you really want a backlink to be disavowed, as links will affect your search results ranking.
Link building is an important SEO strategy. If not done properly it can hurt your site rankings and need a long-time to recover from. That is why you should be careful with disavowing some links. Codesquad SEO experts can help your site build organic links with white hat strategies. To see how you can get help, contact us or email us at email@example.com.
No follow – Links with no-follow tags is a way to tell search engines to ignore that link. Google Penguin? – It is an algorithm developed by Google to identify and penalise spammy backlinks. Private blog network – PBN is a network of websites that place a large number of links to another website with a purpose to manipulate link building for SERP rankings.
Tim Reynolds is the Chief Solutions Consultant and SEO specialist at Codesquad. Talking SEO strategies, analysing client business needs and managing projects – all in a day’s work for Tim. He loves a challenge and when he isn’t engaged with a project or developing SEO strategies, you can find him with soldering iron in hand “making stuff.” If you are looking for 100% SEO compliance, Tim and his team won’t rest until you get there.