John Mueller (Google’s God of SEO) tweeted last week that a dodgy backlink only needs to be a cause for concern if it’s unnatural, and not if it just happens to be from a spammy site.

What this means

An unnatural backlink is one that’s been acquired through bad SEO practice, like link-exchange or buying links. Google doesn’t respond well to these kind of links, so you’ll likely see your site receive a penalty if you have any.

A link from a spammy site on the other hand, basically can’t always be avoided. You may have acquired a link naturally some time ago, but the site then started partaking in some dodgy SEO practises. There’s nothing you can really do about that, so Google is emphasising that you don’t need to worry about these kinds of links (as long as they’ve been acquired naturally!).

As of recent times, it’s been standard SEO practice to spend time disavowing links that come from spammy sites. But now we really just need to consider the fact that if they’re natural links that just happen to come from a spammy site, we can ignore them.

Why should you care?

Ever since link-building came into existence, we’ve seen Google make countless changes to the way they assess what these links mean for your domain authority. So this announcement isn’t the first of it’s kind, and it certainly won’t be the last.

For now, you basically just need to focus on whether your backlinks are natural or not. You can forget about worrying about whether the site would be considered spammy by Google…

We’ll keep you posted the next time Google changes the way they look at backlinks, and how it might affect your domain authority.


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About Steph Von der Heyde

Our resident wordsmith’s love of digital lured her over from advertising to the online space, where she fell in love with content marketing. Since coming to the online world Steph has made her mark on all outgoing CleverClicks copy and is passionate about using words to build brands. Her obsession with the writing is rivaled only by her love of trail running, yoga and green juice. When she’s not submerged in content strategy you’ll find Steph in Downward Dog.

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