John Mueller recently made strong statements against SEO companies that provide negative SEO and other agencies that provide link disavowal services outside of the tool’s intended purpose, claiming that they “profit” customers who don’t know any better.
While many often say that Mueller and other Googlers are ambiguous, even on the subject of link disavowals.
The fact is, however, that Mueller and other Googlers have always recommended against using the link disavow tool.
This may be the first time that Mueller has actually portrayed SEOs who generously recommend link disavowals in a negative light.
What led to John Mueller being reprimanded
The context for Mueller’s comments about negative SEO and link disavowal companies began with a tweet from Ryan Jones (@RyanJones)
Ryan tweeted that he was shocked by the number of SEOs regularly offering disavow links.
“I’m still shocked at how many SEOs regularly disavow links. Why? Unless you’ve spammed them or done some manual action, you’re probably doing more harm than good.
The reason Ryan is shocked is that Google has always recommended the tool to disavow paid/spam links that sites (or their SEOs) are responsible for.
And yet here we are, eleven years later, and SEOs are still abusing the tool to suppress other kinds of tools.
Here is the basic information about it.
Link Disavow Tool
In the mid-2000s, there was a thriving open market for paid links before the Penguin update in April 2012. The trade in paid links was staggering.
I knew of a publisher with about 50 websites who received a monthly check for $30,000 for hosting paid links on his site.
Even though I advised my clients against doing so, some of them still bought links because they saw that everyone was buying them and getting away with it.
The Penguin update caused the collapse of the link selling boom.
Thousands of websites have lost their rankings.
SEOs and affected websites were forced to contact all sites from which they purchased paid links to request their removal.
So some members of the SEO community have asked Google for a more convenient way to disavow links.
Months passed and after resisting the demands, Google relented and released a disavow tool.
Google warned from the start not to use the link disavowal tool for which site publishers (or their SEOs) are responsible.
The first paragraph of Google’s October 2012 link disavowal tool announcement leaves no doubt about when to use the tool:
“Today we are introducing a tool that allows you to disavow links to your site.
If you’ve been notified of a spam manual action based on “unnatural links” pointing to your site, this tool may help you resolve the issue.
If you did not receive this notification, you generally do not need to worry about this tool. »
The message couldn’t be clearer.
But at some point, link disavow became a service applied to random and “spamish looking” links, which is not the tool’s purpose.
Link disavow takes months to work
There are many anecdotes about link disavowals that have helped sites regain their rankings.
They are not lying, I know credible and honest people who have made this claim.
But here’s the thing, John Mueller has confirmed that the link disavow process takes months to work its way through Google’s algorithm.
Sometimes things happen that are unrelated, unrelated. It looks like this.
John explained how long it takes for a link disavow to work in a Webmaster Hangout:
“As for this particular case, where you say you submitted a disavow case and the rankings dropped or the visibility dropped, especially a few days later, I guess that’s unrelated.
So specifically with the disavow file, what happens is that we take that file into account when we reprocess the type of links pointing to your website.
And it’s a process that happens gradually over a period of time that I would expect it to have an effect over… I don’t know… maybe three, four, five, six months… a sort of step by step. this direction.
So if you say you saw an effect within days and it was a very strong effect, I guess that effect has nothing to do with the disavowal record. … looks like you still haven’t figured out what could be causing it.
John Mueller: Negative SEO and Link Disavowal Companies Are Fabricating Stuff
Context is important to understand what was said.
So here is the context of John Mueller’s remark.
An SEO responded to Ryan’s tweet that he was shocked at the number of SEOs who routinely disavow links.
The person who replied to Ryan tweeted that link disavowal is still important, that agencies provide negative SEO services to take down websites, and that link disavowal is a way to combat negative links.
The SEO (SEOGuruJaipur) tweeted:
“Google still imposes penalties for backlinks (e.g. the December 14 update, so it’s still important to disavow links.”
SEOGuruJaipur then started tweeting about negative SEO companies.
Negative SEO companies are those that will build spammy links to a client’s competitor in order to cause the competitor’s ranking to drop.
“There are so many agencies providing services to declining competitors; they create backlinks for competitors such as comments, bookmarks, directory and article submission on low quality sites.
SEOGuruJaipur continued to discuss negative SEO link builders, saying that only high trust sites are safe from negative SEO links.
“Agencies know what kind of links are hurting the website because they’ve been doing it for a long time.
It is only difficult to come across very reliable sites. Even some agencies also offer a money back guarantee.
They will also provide you with examples with relevant information.
John Müller tweeted his response to the tweets above:
“It’s all made up and irrelevant.
These agencies (both those who create and those who disavow) just make things up and cash in on those who don’t know better.
Then someone else joined in the discussion:
(I am the owner of the site haha)
It’s just crazy to me, and extremely annoying, that one site grabs the code for our entire website and duplicates our pages.
I disavowed it just because it’s not links I want, but it’s still annoying haha.
— Rutledge Daugette (@TheRealRutledge) January 31, 2023
Muller tweeted a reply:
“Don’t waste your time on this; do things that build your site instead.
Unambiguous Statement on Negative SEO and Link Disavowal Services
A statement by John Mueller (or anyone else) may appear to conflict with prior statements when taken out of context.
That’s why I’ve not only placed his statements in their original context, but also the eleven-year-old story that’s part of this discussion.
Clearly John Mueller feels that those who sell negative SEO services and those who provide disavow services outside of the intended use are “making things up” and “cashing in” on customers who might not “know better” .
Featured image by Shutterstock/Asier Romero
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