Google’s View on Spammy Backlinks and the Negative Impact on Your Rankings

27 Mar, 2024 Link Spam Algorithm Update Confirmed by Google

Google employee John Mueller answered a question regarding what to do about spammy backlinks that were thought to hurt search rankings.

In response to a Reddit inquiry regarding a surge in spammy backlinks potentially hampering rankings, Google’s John Mueller provided insightful guidance, redirecting attention towards the key priorities for publishers.

Observing a Surge in Spammy Backlinks

The individual raising the concern highlighted a recent uptick in spammy backlinks, correlating it with a detrimental effect on their rankings. Furthermore, they expressed concerns about its implications on their “overall credibility,” possibly alluding to external metrics such as Domain Authority.

Below is what the person asked:

spammy backlinks question

Insights from John Mueller Regarding Spammy Backlinks

Mueller clarified that addressing “spammy backlinks” isn’t imperative since Google disregards them altogether. Notably, he refrained from recommending the use of the Disavow Tool, which typically instructs Google to disregard particular links attributed to a publisher.

Here is his comment in full:

John Mueller on spammy backlinks

Regarding “Overall Credibility”

It’s essential to recognize that third-party metrics don’t necessarily reflect Google’s perception of a website. Rather, they represent the subjective evaluation of an external entity, serving primarily as comparative measures between different sites.

Drawing from 25 years of SEO expertise, we recall a time when Google displayed PageRank on its toolbar. However, even Google’s own PageRank tool often failed to accurately gauge a site’s ranking potential.

We’ve observed that Majestic’s Topical Trust Flow scores offer valuable insights by delineating the nature of links directed towards a website, shedding light on the significance of backlinks in defining a site’s profile.

However, beyond this, relying on third-party “authority” metrics isn’t a practice we endorse or employ. Throughout our extensive experience in SEO, it’s evident that many seasoned professionals steer clear of these metrics, recognizing their limited utility in the broader context of website evaluation.