Google answers the question about toxic link sabotage

Gary Illyes answers a question about how to notify Google about toxic link sabotage

Google’s Gary Illyes answered a question about how to notify Google that someone is poisoning their backlink profile with “toxic links”, which is a problem that many people have been talking about for at least fifteen years.

Ask about Google’s toxic link alert

Gary narrated the question:

“Anyone asking how to alert Google to sabotage via toxic links?”

And this is Gary’s response:

I know what I would do: I would ignore those links.

In general, Google is very, VERY good at ignoring links that are irrelevant to the site they point to. If you feel like it, you can always disavow these “toxic” links or file a spam report.

Disclaim links if you feel like it

Gary linked to Google explainer on link disavow where it is explained that the disallowance tool is for the site owner to inform Google of links for which they are responsible in some way, such as paid links or some other link scheme .

Here’s what he advises:

“If you have a manual action against your site for unnatural links on your site, or if you believe you are about to get such a manual action (due to paid links or other link schemes that violate our guidelines quality), you should try to remove the links from the other site to your site. If you cannot remove these links yourself, you should disavow the URLs of the questionable pages or domains that link to your website.”

Google suggests that link disavowal is only necessary when two conditions are met:

“You have a significant number of spam, artificial or low-quality links pointing to your site,
I The links have caused, or are likely to cause, a manual action on your site.”

Both of the above conditions must be met to submit a valid link disavow tool.

Origin of the phrase Toxic links

As Google got better at penalizing sites for low quality links and paid links, some in the highly competitive betting industry started creating low quality links to sabotage their competitors. The practice was called negative SEO.

The phrase toxic link is something that was never heard of until after the Penguin link updates in 2012, which forced penalized sites to remove all paid and low-quality links they created and then negate the rest. An industry grew up around link disavow and it was this industry that coined the term Toxic Links to use in their marketing.

Confirmation that Google is able to ignore links

I have shared this anecdote before and will share it again here. Someone I know contacted me and told me that their site lost rankings from negative SEO links. I had a look and his site had a bunch of really nasty links. So out of curiosity (and because I knew the site was this person’s main source of income), I emailed someone at Google’s Mountain View headquarters. This person checked and replied that the site did not lose rankings because of the links. They lost the ranking due to a content issue related to the Panda update.

It was around 2012 and it showed me how good Google was at ignoring links. Now, if Google was so good at ignoring really bad links back then, they’re probably doing better now, twelve years later, now that they have the spam brain AI.

Listen to the question and answer at minute 8:22:

Featured image by Shutterstock/New Africa


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About the Author: Ted Simmons

I follow and report the current news trends on Google news.

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