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Google’s John Mueller Addresses Concerns (Again) On Using Toxic Links

May 28, 2024

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Google’s senior search analyst, John Mueller, advises against using toxic links again, saying, “The concept of toxic links is made up by SEO tools so that you pay them regularly.”Β 

It’s no secret that John Mueller dislikes link selling and removal services and tools advising on what you should remove.

In this recent Reddit thread, John didn’t hold back when `The SEO Student` asked if they should only disavow links when they get a manual penalty.

Here’s how the conversation unfolded:

Mueller replied:

  • “The concept of toxic links is made up by SEO tools so that you pay them regularly.” 

Later, editing his response: 

  • “Nothing has really changed here – you can continue to save yourself the effort.”

Mueller’s past replies on disavowing links

John has been voicing his opinion on using these services and tools for some time. In February 2024, on Twitter, he slated agencies selling disavow services.

  • “These agencies (both those creating, and those disavowing) are just making stuff up, and cashing in from those who don’t know better.”

Including:

  • β€œIt’s all made up and irrelevant.”

Mueller also advised that disavowing links won’t help regain rankings.

  • “You’re not going to get your rankings back by following Semrush’s report or by disavowing those links.”

When asked again on Twitter, John replied:

  • “Don’t waste your time on it; do things that build up your site instead.”

Back to the present

Mueller continued blasting these services on a different Reddit thread, explicitly targeting SEO link reports.

John wrote:

  • Ignore them. Ignore the Semrush report. Let your competitor spend that sweet $5 for nothing. Be glad they’re not investing that into making their own site better. That said, if you have time to browse & take reports in tools like that seriously, you’re probably not spending enough time to make a truly awesome site.

In early May, Mueller hinted Google would (at some point) remove the disavow link tool.

Here are those posts:

Disavow hurts more than it helps!

Recently, Google recommended ignoring toxic link reports and advised that it wasn’t a good idea to disavow based on third-party metrics.

With Mueller attacking these disavow-selling agencies as far back as January 2023:

  • β€œThese agencies (both those creating and those disavowing) are just making stuff up and cashing in from those who don’t know better.”

β€” John Mueller is watching out for Google+ πŸ€ (@JohnMu) January 31, 2023

Google’s continuous mantra to SEOs of “not to disavow” and that, sometimes, “it hurts more than it helps” isn’t going away. If anything, Mueller’s shouting louder than before!

Terry O'Toole

Terry O'Toole

Terry is a seasoned content marketing specialist with over six years of experience writing content that helps small businesses navigate where small businesses meet marketing - SEO, Social Media Marketing, etc. Terry has a proven track record of creating top-performing content in search results. When he is not writing content, Terry can be found on his boat in Italy or chilling in his villa in Spain.

SEO Power Plays

Read by 10,000+ world-class SEOs, CEOs, Founders, & Marketers. Strategy breakdown: monday.com's 77% traffic boost πŸš€ + Industry news and expert tidbits every Wednesday πŸ” + in-depth SEO strategy tips every Sunday ✨