Google's Stance on Spammy Backlinks and Their Adverse Effects on Rankings

Tech News March 20, 2024

John Mueller from Google responded to a Reddit query regarding the management of a surge in spammy backlinks, which could potentially harm rankings. His insightful response shed light on the key areas publishers should prioritize.

Observing spam-like backlinks

The individual who raised the query mentioned observing a rise in spammy backlinks, correlating it with a decline in their rankings and expressing concerns about their "overall credibility." Although they didn't specify the exact meaning of "overall credibility," it could pertain to metrics like Domain Authority from third-party sites.

Mueller responded that addressing "spammy backlinks" isn't essential as Google disregards them. He didn't recommend utilizing the Disavow Tool, which instructs Google to overlook particular links associated with a publisher.

“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.”

Regarding the "Overall Credibility" aspect

Third-party metrics provide limited insights into Google's perspective on a website, serving as subjective evaluations for comparing sites. My SEO expertise spans 25 years, back to the era of Google's PageRank display on the toolbar. Despite its link quantity insights, PageRank didn't always correlate with ranking success accurately.

Majestic's Topical Trust Flow scores stand out for revealing link profiles and backlink insights. However, I refrain from relying on external "authority" metrics, a sentiment shared by many seasoned SEO professionals.