Google: Spammy backlinks and negative impact on rankings

John Mueller of Google responded to a Reddit user’s question regarding how to handle an increase in backlinks that are considered to be spammy and to be hurting rankings. Mueller’s response outlined the priorities for publishers.

Noticing Spammy Backlinks

The queryer claimed to have seen a rise in spammy backlinks and to have connected this to a drop in their search engine rankings. They added that it was having an impact on their “overall credibility.”

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The term “overall credibility” was not clarified, but it’s possible that they were referring to a site metric provided by a third party, such as Domain Authority.

This is what the person asked:

“I’ve noticed a significant increase in spammy backlinks pointing to my website, and it’s negatively impacting my site’s search engine rankings and overall credibility. Despite my efforts, I’m struggling to effectively remove these spammy backlinks.

Can anyone provide guidance or suggestions on the best practices and tools for removing spammy backlinks and restoring the integrity of my website’s link profile? Any tips or suggestions will be helpful.”


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John Mueller Answers Question About Spammy Backlinks

Mueller responded that since Google ignores “spammy backlinks,” there is no need to take any action. The Disavow Tool, which instructs Google to disregard particular links that a publisher is accountable for, was not even recommended by him.

Mueller responded:

“I’d strongly recommend focusing on other things – Google’s systems are really good at dealing with random spammy links, but – like users – they do get hung up on websites that aren’t awesome. Make your site awesome instead of chasing those links.”


About “Overall Credibility”

Metrics from third parties don’t provide information about how Google views a website. They are merely a third-party assessment that can be used to compare different websites.

My experience with SEO dates back twenty-five years, to a period when Google displayed a PageRank representation in its toolbar. When it came to information regarding the number of links and whether or not a website was indexed, I was a reliable source. However, the ability of a website to rank well was not adequately indicated even by Google’s own PageRank tool.

The Topical Trust Flow scores from Majestic are helpful because they convey the types of links that flow to a website and provide insight into the message that the backlinks convey about a website.

Other than that, though, I have never used and will never use a third-party “authority” metric. Experienced SEOs frequently don’t use those metrics.


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