Not All Bad Links Hurt You, Google Ignores Links Also

Google doesn’t always penalize you for bad links, they sometimes and very often, will ignore links completely that they find to be against their guidelines. Back in 2007, Google started penalizing sites for selling paid links and over the years they have penalized many sites for buying links. Recently, Google has stepped up their notifications […]

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IgnoredGoogle doesn’t always penalize you for bad links, they sometimes and very often, will ignore links completely that they find to be against their guidelines.

Back in 2007, Google started penalizing sites for selling paid links and over the years they have penalized many sites for buying links. Recently, Google has stepped up their notifications of unnatural link warnings and with the Penguin update many webmasters have been obsessed with cleaning up their external link profiles.

Ignoring Links

But you need to know, not all links that may look bad or even be really bad actually harm your site. Google does in fact completely ignore links. A video of Google’s Matt Cutts from 2007 explains how link sellers can lose their ability to pass any PageRank. This is a tactic Google has used for a long time. Ignoring the link can often be very effective method for Google to ensure their search results stay relevant.

Google has told webmasters years ago not to worry about bad links but with the recent changes mentioned above, Webmasters are worrying about it.

Google Goes On Record

Today, Google went on record that they ignore links on Updowner.com. For many webmasters, one of the most popular links that show up in their Google Webmaster Tools external link report is from Updowner.com. So when a webmaster received an unnatural link warning or was hit by Penguin, they might assume it has to do with Updowner.com. Google’s John Mueller said, not in this case. He said, “we do ignore the links from updowner.com.”

I’ve never seen Google publicly say they ignore a link from a specific site.

Many webmasters feel Google had to in this case because of the growing concern over link penalties and Updowner.com showing in so many link profiles.

Note, there is a way to prevent Updowner.com from linking to your site. It is written up in the FAQs on their web site.

Disavow Links

The search engines are and have created tools to disavow links. Bing launched a disavow link tool last night and Google is actively working on the tool.

This tool will help the nerves and anxiety of webmasters concerned over bad links hurting the ranking of their web sites.

Overall, Google does ignore many links that can potentially be seen to hurt a web site in the search results. And so does Bing, as Vanessa explained previously. This was the first time Google publicly said they are ignoring a link on a specific site. Finally, we have tools from search engines to help webmasters disavow links.

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About the author

Barry Schwartz
Staff
Barry Schwartz is a technologist and a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics.

In 2019, Barry was awarded the Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land, in 2018 he was awarded the US Search Awards the "US Search Personality Of The Year," you can learn more over here and in 2023 he was listed as a top 50 most influential PPCer by Marketing O'Clock.

Barry can be followed on X here and you can learn more about Barry Schwartz over here or on her personal site.

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