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Features, Limitations & Tips For Optimizing Your Site

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Features, Limitations & Tips For Optimizing Your Site

Weebly is a website builder you can use to create your site, blog, or even an online store. Founded in 2007, it was acquired by Square in 2018 and is now the basis for over 50 million websites worldwide.

Builders like Weebly are great for people who need a site but don’t have much (or any) knowledge about HTML, CSS, and other coding languages.

With drag-and-drop functionality, templates, and other useful tools, building websites with Weebly is user-friendly and doesn’t require any specialized knowledge.

But just having a website isn’t enough – it also needs to be found by visitors.

So just how useful is Weebly for SEO?

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Do you have control over where your website will rank in search listings?

Is it even possible to show up on the first page of Google with a Weebly domain?

In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the advantages and limitations of Weebly sites, cover some of the concerns marketers have about using it for SEO and give you some tips and tricks to help you grow your traffic.

Screenshot from Weebly, February 2022

How Good Is Weebly For SEO?

The question isn’t “Can you use Weebly for SEO?” – Of course, you can.

The real question is “How well do SEO tactics and strategies work with Weebly sites?”

This, like most things SEO, is a bit more complex.

In short, if you’re wondering if a Weebly website can rank highly on search engine results pages (SERPs), the answer is yes.

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It comes down to what you put into it.

Factors like keywords, site content, and links all play a role.

And among website platforms, Weebly is one of the better choices, as some SEO functionality is built right into the platform.

Read on to learn some strategies you can implement to optimize your Weebly site and drive more traffic.

Who Uses Weebly?

Many business owners like the do-it-yourself approach Weebly provides.

They can create a professional-looking website without spending thousands of dollars with a web development agency.

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It’s a budget-friendly way for small and medium-sized businesses to establish a presence on the internet.

For professionals like artists, graphic designers, and copywriters, who primarily use their website as a portfolio showcase or place to send visitors, it’s extremely useful.

If you’re seeking to use your site to attract new customers or sales and grow your business, it’s generally less effective than other platforms.

But that’s not to say it can’t be used for that purpose.

Weebly CMS for optimizing featuresScreenshot from Weebly, February 2022

How Do I Optimize My Weebly Site?

To understand what it takes to optimize SEO for your Weebly site, it’s first necessary to understand how search engines work.

Search engines determine rankings using four main factors:

  • Crawling and indexing.
  • Algorithms.
  • Machine learning.
  • User intent.

Crawling and indexing are performed by crawlers (also known as spiders), that follow links from one site to the next.

Algorithms are a set of detailed instructions search engines use to determine what content is useful, while machine learning helps fine-tune this process.

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Above all, the goal of search engines is to provide visitors with the information they’re seeking, which makes user intent paramount.

For a more in-depth explanation of how search engines work, this is a good place to start.

We’re also going to assume you’ve already set up a Google Analytics account to track web traffic.

If you don’t know how to do that, you can read more about it here.

With these basics out of the way, here are three steps you should take immediately to maximize the rankings of your Weebly site:

  • Optimize page titles – By far the easiest way to boost your Weebly SEO, updating your page titles with relevant keywords will help your site get found (and visited) by the right audience. Not sure what your keyword strategy should be? Keep reading, we’ll cover that a little later.
  • Update page descriptions – The page description, also known as the meta description, is the brief (155 character) blurb that shows up in SERPs describing the page’s content. Compelling descriptions will influence users to visit the link, thus raising your click-through rate.
  • Update your URL and submit your sitemap – Google can discover your site naturally, but this can be a slow process. Instead of waiting, use your Google Search Console account to add your sitemap URL. This will speed up the discovery process and make sure all your pages are indexed. You can read more about crawling and indexing here.

Now let’s dive deeper into how you can do this and discuss other ways you can secure a high ranking.

What SEO Settings Are Offered In Weebly?

One of the biggest benefits of using Weebly as a web platform for your business is its accessibility.

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You don’t need to know any coding at all to get started – and this is true for SEO optimization as well.

With a few clicks from the Pages tab, you can open advanced settings for each page.

Here you’ll be able to add Page Titles, Page Descriptions, and Meta Keywords.

How Do I Add SEO Keywords To My Weebly Website?

Let’s look closer at keywords and what it takes to develop a successful strategy.

It starts with research.

You need to determine which queries your target audience will be using, then use those terms as part of your overall content strategy.

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Your on-page content needs to use these keywords organically to establish your site’s usefulness.

Using your Google Analytics account or another reliable SEO tool, you can perform research to determine what keywords you should be using.

There are three main elements to consider for this:

  • Relevance – This is where the concept of intent comes in. High-ranking content offers the best fit when it comes to answering queries. The most valuable content will rank highest.
  • Authority – Google weights sources it deems more authoritative. For example, if your keywords are competing with NASA, it’s going to be more difficult to rank highly.
  • Volume – You want keywords people are actively searching for. Being ranked at the top for a term that gets three hits a month is not nearly as useful as being fifth for one that gets 5000.

Your goal is to find high-traffic, low competition keywords, though, with some terms, a high level of competition is inevitable.

For more information about performing keyword research, read this article.

Once you have performed your keyword research, add them into the page title, meta description, and URL structure.

Your on-page content should also be tailored with keyword-rich paragraphs.

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But don’t jam in terms where they don’t fit.

This practice can get you dinged by search engines for keyword stuffing which could result in your page being demoted in rankings or even removed from results altogether.

For more information on how to optimize your on-page content, we’ve provided a handy guide here.

Weebly website exampleScreenshot from Weebly, February 2022

Weebly SEO Pros

There’s a good reason why Weebly is used by 45 million users worldwide – it’s simple and affordable.

A free, albeit limited version is available, which lets you to use a Weebly subdomain (e.g., YourSite.Weebly.com) at no cost.

Premium versions are also very affordable, with plans starting as low as $6.00 per month, with available free custom domains.

Weebly allows both premium and free sites to be indexed.

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Weebly is also probably the easiest website builder.

Drag-and-drop visual tools let even the most technically deficient users create a good-looking site that’s responsive for mobile visitors.

Adding pages is easy, so you can create child pages that are more in-depth (and keyword-rich).

And the in-page meta data editor lets you optimize it for SEO purposes by easily editing title tags and meta descriptions.

It’s also easy to add a blog to your Weebly site.

Blogs are a great way to boost SEO quality, as they position you as an authority for answering your visitor’s questions.

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Quality content on your blog using a variety of on-page SEO tactics will make your site more appealing to visitors and give you more opportunities to rank in search engines.

If you’re a bit more technologically savvy, Weebly also now allows you to add schema to your website.

You can add custom tags to headers and footers and other structured data to help you rank higher.

There are several structured data generators available for free online to help you generate this code if you need it.

Embedding it on your site is as simple as cutting and pasting in the page editor.

Weebly SEO Cons

Now that we’ve covered the good things about Weebly, it’s only fair that we discuss its drawbacks.

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The first, and most obvious shortcoming is that it doesn’t allow you to go beyond H2 headers.

You may not be able to subdivide your content the way you want and your copy won’t be as scannable as you might like.

As you build, implement and optimize your website, the other issue you’ll encounter is control restrictions.

Even with a premium plan, Weebly doesn’t allow you to install any software on their site.

This means if you’re using Weebly to build a platform for your business, you can’t integrate content management services.

You may have to rethink your SEO content strategy and find a way to provide the same quality information, without using other services you may currently rely on.

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You may also find Weebly’s blog functionality is not up to your standards.

You can’t migrate blog content from another platform, and the layout is fixed.

The comment control and management system is very simple.

Forum options are also very limited.

The previously mentioned third-party restrictions mean you can’t use an element like Tal.ki on your Weebly site.

Weebly’s forum functionality limits sub-forums to five, with only the 15 most recent topics displayed and topics limited to a maximum of 200 replies.

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And because hosting communities on your website allows your visitors to organically create the type of relevant content search engines value, this could be a lost opportunity.

The way Weebly backs up sites is also potentially problematic.

You can download your entire site as a zip file, but if you lose your content or your site is deleted, you’ll be stuck rebuilding it from scratch, including your top-performing pages.

Other Weebly SEO FAQs

Should You Host Your Website On Weebly Or Pick An Alternative?

Still not sure if Weebly will work for your SEO needs?

At the end of the day, it comes down to your budget and resources.

If you’re looking for simple and affordable, or you’re a one-person marketing team, Weebly might be just the thing.

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You’ll be able to create a nice-looking website that can be optimized to attract web traffic, without spending a lot of time or money.

You can get started in Weebly for free and set up your site in just 60 seconds, even as a complete beginner.

On the other hand, if you have more time, some coding knowledge (or access to developers), WordPress offers a lot more in the way of customization.

Should You Hire A Weebly Expert?

If you don’t have the time to dedicate to building and optimizing your website, or you need it set up quickly, you can hire a professional.

But if you don’t mind rolling up your sleeves and figuring things out on your own, Weebly is very easy-to-use.

How Much Does Weebly Cost?

Weebly offers four plans, ranging from a free basic plan to a $26 per month performance plan. You can learn more about what’s included in each tier by visiting Weebly’s site.

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How Can I Promote My Weebly Website?

There are many ways to promote your Weebly site and attract more visitors.

One of the best ones is also important for SEO purposes – backlinks.

Alongside on-page SEO and content optimization, this is one of the most important ranking factors.

Here’s a list of strategies you can use to build links that will improve traffic.

Another great promotional tactic is using social media.

Weebly also gives users the option to use Weebly Promote, a platform for social media ad creation and management.

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By integrating directly into your site, it allows you to connect your business’ Facebook page(s) so you can use social display networks for promotion.

Recommended ads are automatically generated, though you also have the option to create custom ads.

Conclusion

Like everything else, Weebly has its plusses and minuses.

Depending on your budget, it can be the perfect all-in-one website builder for your needs.

If you’re an experienced web professional, you may find it lacking, but it’s a great tool for new businesses or companies just launching websites.

There are a few less-than-ideal features, but overall, Weebly is a good platform for most people’s SEO needs.

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With a bit of elbow grease and the tips included here, it’s quite possible to have your site show up on the first page of Google.

But like all SEO, it takes work, patience, and determination to reach the top.

More resources:


Featured Image: Ashan Randika/Shutterstock




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Websites Created With Google Business Profiles To Shut Down In March

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Websites Created With Google Business Profiles To Shut Down In March

Do you have a website created through Google Business Profiles for your local business?

If so, you must find an alternative website solution as Google plans to shut down websites created with Google Business Profiles in March.

Websites Created With Google Business Profiles Will Redirect Until June 10, 2024

A redirect will be put in place from your GBP website to your Google Business Profile until June 10, 2024.

“Websites made with Google Business Profiles are basic websites powered by the information on your Business Profile.

In March 2024, websites made with Google Business Profiles will be turned off and customers visiting your site will be redirected to your Business Profile instead.

The redirect will work until June 10, 2024.”

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How To Find Out If You Have A Google Business Profile Website

To find out if your business has a website made with Google Business Profile, search for my business or your business name on Google. Once you find your Google Business Profile, edit your profile and check for your website in the contact section.

If you have a Google Business Profile site, it should say, “You have a website created with Google.”

Otherwise, it will allow you to add the link to your website.

Screenshot from Google, February 2024Websites Created With Google Business Profiles To Shut Down In March

Choosing An Alternative Website Builders For Small Businesses

Google suggests Wix, Squarespace, GoDaddy, Google Sites, Shopify for ecommerce, Durable, Weebly, Strikingly, and WordPress as alternative website builders to create a new website or ad landing page to replace the Google Business Profiles site.

While some, like WordPress, offer a free website builder with generative AI features, its users’ content may reportedly be sold to OpenAI and Midjourney as training data unless they opt out.

Regarding Core Web Vitals, WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace showed the most improvements in performance.

It’s also worth noting that while Google Deepmind used a Google Sites website to introduce Genie, its new AI model, Google Sites may not be best for SEO.

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Updating Ad Campaigns

If you have a Google Ads campaign that links to a website created with Google Business Profiles, the ad campaign will also stop running on March 1, 2024, until the website link is updated.

There’s still time to update your business website to ensure visitors are not sent to a 404 error page after June 10, 2024. If you haven’t chosen a new website builder or hosting service, review the reviews to find the most reliable, affordable, and optimized solution for your business.

Featured image: Vladimka production/Shutterstock

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How We Built A Strong $10 Million Agency: A Proven Framework

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How We Built A Strong $10 Million Agency: A Proven Framework

Building a successful agency can be a daunting task in today’s ever-evolving space. Do you know the secrets to succeeding with yours?

Watch this informative, on-demand webinar, where link building expert Jon Ball reveals the closely guarded secrets that have propelled Page One Power to become a highly successful $10 million agency.

You’ll learn:

  • The foundational principles on which to build your business to succeed.
  • The importance of delegation, market positioning, and staffing.
  • More proven lessons learned from 14 years of experience.

With Jon, we’ll provide you with actionable insights that you can use to take your business to the next level, using foundational principles that have contributed to Page One Power’s success.

If you’re looking to establish yourself as a successful entrepreneur or grow your agency in the constantly evolving world of SEO, this webinar is for you.

Learn the secrets of establishing a thriving agency in an increasingly competitive SEO space.

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View the slides below or check out the full webinar for all the details.

Join Us For Our Next Webinar!

How An Enterprise Digital PR Firm Earns 100’s Of Links In 30 Days

Join us as we explore how to scale the very time-consuming and complicated process of earning links from digital PR, with proven case studies showing how you can earn hundreds of links in 30 days.

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SEO Woe or a Load of Baloney?

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SEO Woe or a Load of Baloney?

Toxic backlinks are links that some SEO tools say could hurt your website’s Google rankings. The implication is that you should disavow them to keep your site safe.

But there’s some disagreement and confusion among SEOs as to whether “toxic” links are actually a thing and what, if anything, you should do about them. 

If you believe Google’s John Mueller, they’re not: 

Yet, according to my poll, the majority (just!) of SEOs think they are: 

So… what’s the deal here? Are toxic backlinks actually a thing? Are they hurting your site? And if so, what should you be doing about them? 

Before we can answer those questions, we need to understand the terminology… 

Every website has some spammy backlinks that just don’t make sense. But that doesn’t necessarily make them manipulative or “toxic.”

For example, here are a couple of obviously spammy links to our site: 

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Example of spammy links, via Ahrefs' Site ExplorerExample of spammy links, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

We didn’t build or buy either of these, so they’re not “manipulative” by definition. They’re just low-quality links we’ve attracted over time because the internet is rife with spammers. 

If you study Google’s link spam documentation carefully, you’ll see that, in theory, these aren’t the kind of spammy links they have a problem with. They warn only against the ill effects of spam links intended to manipulate rankings. 

Google uses links as an important factor in determining the relevancy of web pages. Any links that are intended to manipulate rankings in Google Search results may be considered link spam. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site or outgoing links from your site. 

Here are the examples Google gives of these manipulative links: 

What Google says are manipulative linksWhat Google says are manipulative links

As for “toxic backlinks,” this is just a term made up by certain SEO tools to describe backlinks they think could hurt your rankings based on several so-called “markers.”

Key takeaway

  • Spammy links are low-quality links that every site attracts through no fault of their own. 
  • Manipulative links are links built or bought solely to improve Google rankings. 
  • Toxic links are links that certain SEO tools say could hurt your website’s rankings. 

If you asked this question before September 2016, the answer would have likely been “yes.”

So what changed? 

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Penguin 4.0.

With this algorithm update, Google switched from demoting pages to a system that tries to ignore bad links.

Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site. 

Since then, Google’s stance has been that you can ignore spammy backlinks. 

If you’re seeing individual links that pop up and you say, “oh this looks like a spammer dropped the link” or whatever, I would completely ignore those. […] because these spammy links happen to every website and Google’s system has seen them so many times over the years that we’re very good at just ignoring them. 

John MuellerJohn Mueller

But is this true? Is Google really as good at ignoring low-level spam as we’re made to believe? 

Judging by my colleague Chris’s recent poll on LinkedIn, a good chunk of SEOs (38%) don’t think so, as they’re still disavowing them. 

Most SEOs either disavow or do nothing about spammy backlinksMost SEOs either disavow or do nothing about spammy backlinks

Does that mean they’re right to do so? Not necessarily. It just means they don’t fully trust Google that they won’t do any harm. They’re being careful. 

Personally, the person I trust most to answer this question in 2024 is Dr. Marie Haynes. I don’t think anyone’s done more research into this than her. She’s spent well over a decade working to understand Google’s search algorithms and auditing link profiles on behalf of business owners. 

Now, the interesting part of that statement (and why I actually trust her!) is the obvious conflict of interest. Until fairly recently, she made her living selling link audit and disavow file creation services—and for a pretty hefty sum at that! 

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Pricing from Marie's link audit services page in March 2023Pricing from Marie's link audit services page in March 2023
Pricing from Marie’s link audit services page in March 2023

Clearly, it would be good news for Marie if Google were still terrible at ignoring spammy backlinks because she could sell more link audits! 

Yet, these days, she no longer appears to offer such services. In fact, she’s actually been warning folks against the need to disavow low-quality, spammy backlinks for a few years. 

Here’s a quote from a 2022 blog post of hers:

While there is no harm in disavowing low quality spammy links, it likely does not help improve rankings. We believe that Google’s algorithms are already ignoring these links. […]. When we do see improvements these days after disavowing, it is always in sites where we have disavowed links that were purposely made for SEO and very little else. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

It’s clear that Marie is being cautious with her words here. But overall, her opinion after digging into this for many years seems to be that, yes, Google is now pretty good at ignoring most low-quality spammy links. 

Does that mean they’re perfect? No. But it does mean that worrying about obvious low-quality link spam is probably a waste of time for most people.

If you’re buying or building the types of links that Google class as “link spam” then, yes, they can absolutely hurt your rankings.

But before you panic about that link exchange you did with your best friend’s wife’s brother, Google is likely looking for patterns of manipulation here. In other words, manipulative link profiles rather than manipulative individual links: 

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Danny Richman, founder of Richman SEO Training, agrees: 

Here’s a bit more context from Danny: 

As for Marie Haynes, she echoes a similar sentiment in this post. She states that manual actions aside, she would only recommend a client disavow links if they have “a very large number of links that [they] feel the webspam team would consider to be ‘manipulative.’ ”

In these cases, Google often slaps the worst offenders with an unnatural links manual action. If you get one of those, that’s Google telling you, “Hey… you’re being demoted in search because we think you’ve been trying to game the system with manipulative links.” 

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But this doesn’t have to happen for manipulative links to be a problem. It’s possible for Google to algorithmically demote a site if they detect a large volume of spammy and manipulative links, at least according to John Mueller.

If we see a very strong pattern [of spammy links] there, then it can happen that our algorithms say well, we really have kind of lost trust with this website and at the moment based on the bigger picture on the web, we kind of need to be more on almost a conservative side when it comes to to understanding this website’s content and ranking it in the search results. And then you can see kind of a drop in the visibility there. 

John MuellerJohn Mueller

Either way, the point remains: it’s patterns of manipulation that are likely to hurt rankings. There’s very little chance that you need to worry about the odd potentially dodgy link here and there. 

While it might be tempting to use an SEO tool that finds “toxic backlinks” for you, I’d seriously urge you to reconsider. Trusting these can do more harm than good. Way more. 

Just look at this unfortunate Redditor’s reply to John Mueller: 

Someone on Reddit's traffic tanked 60% after disavowing "toxic" backlinks in one SEO toolSomeone on Reddit's traffic tanked 60% after disavowing "toxic" backlinks in one SEO tool
A 60% drop in traffic! That’s no joke! 

Even if this is an extreme case, worrying about these links likely only wastes time because, according to Marie Haynes, they’re rarely truly toxic: 

I find that the truly toxic links…the ones that could have the potential to harm your site algorithmically (although you’d have to really overdo it, as I’ll describe below), are rarely returned by an SEO tool. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

Sam McRoberts, CEO of VUVU Marketing, seems to agree: 

So… how do you find truly toxic backlinks that are likely to be hurting your site? 

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The truth? You might not even need to look for them. If you haven’t built or bought links that Google considers link spam at any reasonable scale, chances are you’re good. 

If you’re not confident about that, do a manual backlink audit with a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

The Anchors report is a good starting point if you’ve never done this. It shows you the words and phrases people use when linking to you. If they look unnatural or over-optimized (lots of exact matches of keywords you’re trying to rank for), that could be a sign you have paid or other links intended to manipulate rankings. 

Example of keyword-rich anchors, which are often a sign of paid backlinksExample of keyword-rich anchors, which are often a sign of paid backlinks

If things look fishy there, use the Backlinks report to dig deeper and check the context of those links. It’s usually quite easy to spot paid and unnatural ones. 

The Backlinks report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer showing the context of the backlinkThe Backlinks report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer showing the context of the backlink

Just remember that you’re looking for patterns of unnatural links, not just one or two. 

WARNING

If you’re not 100% sure what you’re looking for when doing a backlink audit, hire someone who knows what they’re doing. You need to be confident that the links are truly “toxic.”

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If you have a manual action for unnatural links or a bunch of what you believe to be truly toxic backlinks, yes. Google’s advice is to disavow them (assuming you can’t get the links removed). 

You should disavow backlinks only if: 

You have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, 

AND

The links have caused a manual action, or likely will cause a manual action, on your site. 

Marie Haynes advises the same: 

There are two situations where we will recommend to our clients a thorough link audit followed by filing a disavow: 

  1. The site has a manual action for unnatural links in GSC. 
  2. The site has a very large number of links that we feel the webspam team would consider to be “manipulative”.
Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

If you just have a bunch of spammy backlinks that most sites naturally attract or the odd paid backlink, probably not. Google probably ignores most, if not all, of these links, so disavowing them is likely a waste of time. 

While there is no harm in disavowing these links other than the time spent analyzing them, there is likely no benefit either. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

But what about negative SEO?

Being the victim of a negative SEO attack is indeed the possible exception here. This is when a competitor sends a load of spammy or toxic backlinks your way to try to get your site penalized. 

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Google remains adamant that it basically never works, but it really comes down to what you believe. 

[I’ve] looked at hundreds of supposed cases of negative SEO, but none have actually been the real reason a website was hurt. […] While it’s easier to blame negative SEO, typically the culprit of a traffic drop is something else you don’t know about–perhaps an algorithm update or an issue with their website. 

Gary IllyesGary Illyes

If you see a traffic drop after an influx of backlinks in Site Explorer, I’d say that it’s at least worth a bit more investigation. 

Site with traffic drop coinciding with an influx of backlinksSite with traffic drop coinciding with an influx of backlinks
This site experienced a traffic drop coinciding with an influx of referring domains. Maybe there’s benefit to disavowing here… and maybe it’s something else!

As Gary said above, something else could be to blame—but you never know. There’s always a chance that Google’s algorithms rule it was you who built or bought those backlinks to try to manipulate rankings and penalize you for it. 

If you just found a bunch of so-called “toxic backlinks” in an SEO tool, probably not. Again, most of these are probably just link spam Google already ignores. 

Here’s yet another quote from Marie Haynes backing this up: 

While there is probably no harm in disavowing [links reported as toxic in SEO tools], you are not likely to see any improvement as a result. Disavowing is meant for sites trying to remove a manual action and for those who have been actively building links for the purpose of improving rankings. 

Marie HaynesMarie Haynes

There’s also the risk that you could end up disavowing links that are actually helping you… 

Patrick showed further evidence that this can absolutely happen when he experimented with disavowing links to the Ahrefs blog. Traffic dipped, then went back up after he removed the disavow. 

The impact of disavowing links to the Ahrefs blogThe impact of disavowing links to the Ahrefs blog

Final thoughts

“Toxic backlinks” is a term made up by certain SEO tools to scare you. That’s not to say bad links can’t hurt your site. They absolutely can. But fortunately for most site owners, it’s rarely a problem worth worrying all that much about. 

Got questions? Disagree? Ping me on Twitter X.

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