What is a Link Disavow and Why is It Important?

Links are an integral part of any digital marketing strategy; by growing your overall link profile you not only prove to Google that you are an authoritative vendor but you also greatly increase your chances of garnering additional traffic through third party sources. While you may be led to believe that more is always better when it comes to links, this isn’t actually the case and an association with harmful or spammy domains is just as likely to result in Google punishing your domain. When you find an abundance of these low-quality websites linking to your own, you may begin to consider strategies for removing that association – this is where a link disavow comes in.

The Weight of Poor-Quality Links

Since the majority of processes are run through its algorithm, Google can’t always tell whether a website is spammy or not. To compensate for the abundance of a real person actually looking through the site, the algorithm looks into the referring domains of the suspected website to see if it harbours links to locations already identified as being poor. This approach is very much reminiscent of – you’re friends with someone dodgy, therefore, you must also be dodgy – of course, this isn’t always the case and you may simply not have been able to, or not have known to, carry out a sitewide link disavow.

Breaking the Chain

The way a link disavow works is – at its core – incredibly simple: you go through a list of all the referring domains coming into your website, identify the ones that are harmful or not relevant to your industry, and submit a list of the aforementioned to Google. While this doesn’t always remove all of the harmful links, or may take months at a time to actually be carried out, you are still likely to see a sizeable drop in the spammy links pointed your way.

Let’s talk about identifying spammy domains; since even the Google algorithm struggles to do so sometimes, spotting which links may have negative connotations can be a challenge to most users. Of course, there are sites that are very, very clearly spammy (it’s not all that rare to be shamelessly advert bombed when visiting a random domain) but even sites that appear far more taciturn may have something insidious lurking underneath a pretty UI.

While the link disavow process is free to carry out and can be done completely DYI, not every user is going to have access to the tools required to truly discern a harmless website from a harmful one. Thereby, its always recommended that you seek the assistance of a professional when carrying out the link disavow process; at Odyssey New Media we boast a plethora of experience in providing link building and link disavow solutions across a multitude of industries and briefs.

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