Disavow Links? A Competitor Gave Me 82 Links Exact Match Anchor Text Link to My Homepage

Andrai
Disavow advice needed.
a competitor gave me a site wide (82 link) exact match anchor text link to my homepage. theirs is a decent ranking site, aged, relevant (geo + niche) in may 2020. Dec update my page is nowhere to be found from top 3. they also added 2 other competitors and theirs is nowhere to be found. on paper their link might be a good link to have with decent metrics. it definitely puts my anchor text ratio in the danger zone. they have no incentive to remove it to get their competitor back so disavow might be the only option. i would need 100s new ones to dilute theirs. which option would you do?
1. disavow entire domain
2. disavow only internal links and keep their homepage link
3. something else
(note I can always remove the disavow if it causes any more damage)
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Martinez
Don't disavow. There's nothing in what you wrote that suggests you should disavow those links. "Anchor text ratio" is nonsense.
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Sanker » Martinez
Sir, you know 95% of SEO users would disagree on this. Google recently agreed anchor text is a ranking factor. If it's a factor, don't you think there are would be catch on it too…http://seroundtable.com/anchor-text-google-ranking-factor-30513.html
Yes, Anchor Text Is A Google Ranking Factor
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Martinez » Sanker
"you know 95% of SEO users would disagree on this"
And they would be wrong.
" Google recently agreed anchor text is a ranking factor."
Google has acknowledged as much since 1998.
But "anchor text ratio" is just some made up SEO metric that has absolutely nothing to do with Google's algorithms.
Andrai » Martinez
I'm thinking this… what the worse that can happen by disavowing? the site can not drop past nowhere to be found
Martinez » Andrai
Consider that it takes weeks or months for Google to crawl pages and assess their links.
The disavow tool works very quickly – but only for disavowing.
You stand to lose a lot and to gain nothing, except maybe some peace of mind.
But your doubts about these links have been fueled by an SEO mythology that has been proven wrong many times over.
The disavow tool isn't meant to be used on links other people create without your knowledge.
It's meant to be used on links YOU create (or hire others to create for you) when those links prove harmful (resulting in a manual action – a real penalty).
I was one of the last people to beg Google to create that tool. It was needed in a very different time for real toxic links. The Peguin 4.0 algorithm changed all that.
You should ignore any SEO pundit or tool who rants on about dangerous links, anchor text ratios, and using the disavow tool.
They literally do not know what they are talking about.
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Andrai » Martinez
I hear everything you are saying and appreciate it immensely. I'm eager to learn. if its ok, i'd like you to address some issues above that make sense but are not adding up for me…
1. I stand to lose a lot – the page LOST all ranking. what more can I lose?
2. the disavow is for sites you cant get links removed ie ones other built for you. ones you built can be removed without disavow. its designed for when you cant get them removed by asking webmaster etc. no?
3. if penguin really works as designed, then no link or links can ever harm a site. it will either help if its good or do nothing if its "toxic". same with anchor text distribution. – so what exactly would cause a rank drop when adding more links?
Daniel » Andrai
I would agree with Martinez about no need to disavow Google knows what site wide links look like and ignore them just like they nor footer links. But he is dead wrong about anchor text link ratios.
And to prove it just go ahead and give yourself 100 exact match keyword anchors on your website and watch what happens. For acquire nothing but backlinks for the next 6 months totaling about a 100 with the exact anchor over and over again and see what happens. You need exact match just like you need natural just like you need generic just like you need straight URL ust like you need straight brand you need them all.
Why is this the case because this is how it works naturally online. It is absolutely unnatural to have nothing but anchors that are exact match keywords hitting your site and therefore Google can see that clearly eze gaming the system. So the disavow because it's a site wide link it should have no effect on you Google will ignore that crap. But do not listen to the nonsense about keyword anchors be a nonsense. You without question want to mix those properly so that everything is kosher and looks natural.
Martinez » Andrai
"1. I stand to lose a lot – the page LOST all ranking. what more can I lose?"
When you say it lost all ranking – are you basing that on Google Search Console or some 3rd party tool?
3rd party SEO ranking reports are not useful. You should only use Google Search Console (GSC) ranking reports for your sites.
As for what you stand to lose, as I said, it takes weeks or months for Google to crawl and assess links. If your competitor just put up these links, it's highly doubtful Google knows about them.
So while there is ZERO evidence they will hurt your site, there is good reason to leave them alone and let things fall where they will.
If you lost rankings (in GSC) in the December 2020 Core Algorithm update, many sites will recover without doing anything because it takes Google weeks or months to re-crawl and re-assess the Web.
"2. the disavow is for sites you cant get links removed ie ones other built for you. ones you built can be removed without disavow. its designed for when you cant get them removed by asking webmaster etc. no?"
It's designed to be a get-out-of-jai-free card for any small business owner who hired an SEO to build links for them, subsequently incurring a penalty.
That was the argument I and others made to Matt Cutts (then head of the Google Web spam team) in 2012, when Google began deindexing thousands of blogs from paid link networks AND imposing manual actions (penalties) on the sites that bought those links. Most of those site owners had no idea of how the links came into being – nor did they have access to the accounts that created the links.
Many of the people who sold those links simply vanished when their customers tried to get them to take the links down. And sometimes the networks refused to take down the links because they believed that would tip off Google to what they were doing. I swear – that argument was made by more than one link network owner.
"3. if penguin really works as designed, then no link or links can ever harm a site…"
That would be nice, but Penguin is just an algorithm. It uses certain signals to identify suspicious links and drop them from the link graph (they are not counted in any way).
Many links slip through – but since Penguin 4.0 doesn't punish Websites for receiving spammy links, you may benefit from them. That is, until someone on the spam team decides to penalize your site after a manual review.
Human spam team members are much better at identifying paid links than algorithms.
".. it will either help if its good or do nothing if its 'toxic'…"
No, it doesn't help in any way. Penguin is just a filtering algorithm that seeks out clear, obvious link spam that violate Google's policies.
Sitewide links in blogrolls and similar widgets do not violate those guidelines. Hence, they are not spam links. Hence, there is nothing toxic about them.
"… same with anchor text distribution."
Again, this is an SEO MYTH. It's not true. It's nonsense.
Search algorithms are not that simplistic. "Anchor text distribution" changes constantly. There is no algorithmic way to use it as a quality signal.
Andrai
very comprehensive reply. thank you. to follow…
— lost ranking noted by drop in visitor count and personally checking the rankings for the target keywords. and yes, clearing browser, different IPs etc etc. I'm telling you – they are now nowhere to be found.
– it is possible its an unrelated core update hammer.
— as far as Google crawling and finding the links, they are noting is Google Search Console (GSC) under links. so they found them.
— as far as ratio, this is a small local site acquiring links very slowly. all of a sudden a side wide exact match accounting for more than 50% of the total links. at the very top of their site, hidden on most browsers, very small text (I'm not even sure why it was placed there, seems malicious on my end or manipulative if youre from big G)
— but help me understand, if spammy links are filtered and not counted, how is it that some links can and do harm a site?
Martinez » Andrai
You know links hurt a site when it receives a manual action. If you haven't received a manual action you don't need to worry about the links.
Strauss
I agree with Martinez on this. I would leave it be. although at some point you realize people have made up their mind and won't listen. so… sure disavow – I wouldn't, I think you are overthinking it with this one.
Strauss
this one, what Martinez said, if there is no indication in search console that it's an issue I would move on to the next thing. sure sometimes a disavow is required but these links don't seem to hinder the reasonable surfers experience.

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