Matt Cutts on How to Deal with Harmful Backlinks: Just Do a Disavow

Matt Cutts

In the post-Penguin world, webmasters have become hyper aware of the dangers of low-quality links pointing to their website. Many fear such links, such as those from a porn website, could hurt their Google traffic and rankings – even if they had nothing to do with obtaining them.

So if webmasters are following the proper steps on bad backlinks, can those links – especially if they were generated by competitor – still hurt your website? That is the question in the latest Google Webmaster Help video:

Recently I found two porn websites linking to my site. I disavow those links and wrote to admins asking them to remove those links but... what can I do if someone, (my competition), is trying to harm me with bad backlinks?

Google's Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts said that is precisely what webmaster should do in the situation. Try to contact the website to resolve it to get the links removed. If that doesn’t work, then submit the links for Google to disavow.

Cutts said that if the links are on sites you don’t want to be associated with whatsoever, to go and disavow the site from the domain level (e.g., example.com) rather than that the exact page the link appears on (e.g., example.com/directory/directory/spamlinkpage.html)

Once you have completed these steps, Cutts said you should no longer have to worry about those links harming your website.

About the author

Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization. She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, JenniferSlegg.com and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is also the founder and editor of The SEM Post. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.