Should you disavow links from spammy but high authority sites?

Today’s Ask an SEO question comes from David in Craughwell, Ireland, who asks:

“When checking my backlink profiles and those of my competitors, I come across many links from the and domains.

These domains have a high DA but the pages are very often spammy and of poor quality. It’s my instinct to disavow these links but due to the high DA I don’t know how to proceed.

Do you have any advice please when an SEO encounters horrible links from high DA domains? »

Hi David,

Big question! The first thing to think about is that Domain Authority (DA) does not come from Google and is not a credible metric.

How is domain authority factored into your link disavowal strategy?

DA is a calculation designed by a popular SEO tool and used only by that tool (not Google) to rate a website.

If you trust this tool, you can use the metric as a way to start looking at a specific domain or webpage and if a backlink might have some value.

But personally, I wouldn’t let a high DA sway me one way or another. There are a ton of high authority domains you probably don’t want a backlink from.

Porn sites and gambling sites can have a ton of domain authority and content that gets a lot of engagement, but that doesn’t mean a backlink might be good for you (unless you’re in these niches).

I found links to a fashion site I work on from porn sites with a high DA in their cosplay section and we disavowed because we don’t want the association, even though the link was natural and benefits the end user.

So what should we watch?

The most important thing to look at is how Google will see that link.

Ask yourself why this site is linking to you: is your business selling something relevant to the topic of the website, the topic of the category, or the content of the page?

If you’re selling something unrelated, like plumbing supplies or service alarm systems, Google will probably wonder why you’re linking from that site.

They will ignore the link or potentially devalue your site because it may look like you are building spammy links.

If that high DA site or series of sites has a ton of outbound links, there’s a reasonable chance that Google knows it’s part of a farm and will likely ignore the link on its own.

If you’re concerned about these links, you can always add them to your disavow sheet if that makes you more comfortable. Disavowing only takes a second and having peace of mind can last a long time.

That’s why I still do it for my clients.

For your app-specific questions: If you see this as an attack on your website, or if it’s a developer who is a fan of your brand and has decided to link to you from all its applications or all its sites, you can leave it alone. .

Chances are they link to all of your competitors as well, or your website is contextually relevant to the topic of the website.

If you decide to trust a tool’s metric (all have their own), I’ll report on the specific URL linking to you (not the base domain) and look at what that page’s score is.

If the score is good and the content makes sense, I’ll keep the link. If it’s clearly spam and not news, I’d consider disavowing the page or the entire domain to save time.

You can go further and generate similar reports for your top three competitors in Google search to see if they have similar backlinks. If so, you might be safe, because everyone in your space has the same issues.

In this situation, focus on things under your control like on-page SEO with your content, page structure, schema, internal linking, speed, and UX.

Do you really need to worry about disavowing links?

Google has gotten a lot better at detecting quality backlinks while ignoring spammy backlinks, including high DA sites.

If the links are clearly unnatural and only point to your site, opt for the disavow and do it domain-wide.

Again, peace of mind is something that can have a positive impact on your business and personal life, so taking a few seconds to add the URL to your disavow file and upload it is definitely worth it – but only if you are sure it is. a spammy link and from an irrelevant site/page/source.

I hope that answers your question and thank you for asking it.

These subjective questions are always more fun to tackle – you made my day! =0)

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