Google’s John Mueller said in a webmaster hangout on Tuesday at the 16:44 mark that in some cases, disavowing or cleaning up bad links to your site may help Google’s algorithm trust other links to your site. Let me quote what the question was and how John responded, plus you can watch it yourself below.
Marie Haynes asked John Mueller:
Is there any way that looks so to say that we didn’t get a manual action or they didn’t get a manual action can those links hurt them algorithmically? Because we feel like we’re seeing some improvements in some sites you know after disavowing so. And again like I know it’s it’s always it’s never black and white.
John Mueller responded:
That can definitely be the case. So it’s something where our algorithms when they look at it and they see oh there’s a bunch of really bad links here, then maybe they’ll be a bit more cautious with regards to links in general from the website. So if you clean that up then the algorithms look at it and say oh there’s kind of it’s okay, it’s not that bad.
I think if you’re in the case where it’s really clear that the web spam team you would give you a manual action, then based on the current situation then that’s what I would disavow.
Here you see John said “our algorithms when they look at it and they see oh there’s a bunch of really bad links here, then maybe they’ll be a bit more cautious with regards to links in general from the website.”
The next question from Marie was:
My main concern is there’s people spending tons of money on link audits that I think are not worth it. On the other hand we may be not doing link audits and disavowing for some sites that could benefit from it. So I’d love to you know. I think what you’ve said is helped a lot, so that will you know that’s good now.
I think for the vast majority of sites I kind of have that normal mix of things where like you followed some bad advice in the past and like you moved on and things are a pretty natural now then they would be okay (I think he said).
That’s kind of the goal with with all of this and that’s why the disavow tool isn’t like a main feature in Search Console. You kind of look for it explicitly, that’s that’s all done on purpose. Because for most sites you really don’t need to focus on things that much.
What I do kind of like about the disavow tool though is that if you’re worried about this you can still go there and look they okay I I know there’s like these these handful of things that that we did a couple years ago and I’m really worried about that then like disavowing them from my point of view is not a problem. I wouldn’t go out and it’s just like search for all of that stuff. But if you know about it and you’re really worried about it then you can kind of take care of it.
Here is the video embed at the start of the question:
Lots of discussion on this topic today. It’s important to note that spammy links & cruft every site gets are not *likely* to hurt a site. Rather, if you are making links just for the purpose of improving rankings, and on a large scale, the algos may distrust many of your links. https://t.co/NhArh3tsq6
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) January 24, 2019
Forum discussion at Twitter.