Tony Wang

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I have a dentist that took over another practice and partially rebranded, new name & domain, same address & phone. Yes, there has been lots of citation cleanup to do.

But my question concerns the old domain, which we're forwarding to the new one. It's from 2002, so should have good authority. The problem is it looks like some spammy links were built several years ago (ahrefs didn't even show them on the new domain a few months back, but now they are).

ahrefs show 72 referring domains (I'm guessing there are more) most are spam, followed links. Never had to deal with this kind of junk before. Needless to say, they're on page 5-6 for most kw's in organic, slightly better in local, but not much.

So, not sure if the spammy links are more negative than the domain age is positive, any thoughts? Should I disavow those links and keep the redirect, just stop the redirect, or what?
 

Marcus

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Hey Tony

I think it really depends on the links, what makes you think they are spam? maybe you could share a sample of them.
 

Tony Wang

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Here's a sample of the links:

someone's profile image is a link to the site:
smart roadster club :: Alle Informationen zum smart roadster und roadster-coup?

signature has a couple different businesses:
Business from home :: Free Home-Based Business, Work At Home Jobs, Ideas

a blog comment with a link:
My IBS Blog - Got a Product, Program or Website to Advertise? - http://instantblogsubscribers.com/vip/denskip

there are a few foreign sites, even found one that had a button to "delete this link" for $20, how's that for a spammy link!?!
 

Marcus

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Yes agreed, they are spammy :)

If it was me I would probably reach out to the genuine links and ask them to update, do some link building for the new domain and then just forget about the old domain.

Others might say disavow but unless the old domain is doing you any harm then you're unlikely to gain anything by disavowing, just reduce future risk.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I have a dentist that took over another practice and partially rebranded, new name & domain, same address & phone. Yes, there has been lots of citation cleanup to do.

But my question concerns the old domain, which we're forwarding to the new one. It's from 2002, so should have good authority. The problem is it looks like some spammy links were built several years ago (ahrefs didn't even show them on the new domain a few months back, but now they are).

ahrefs show 72 referring domains (I'm guessing there are more) most are spam, followed links. Never had to deal with this kind of junk before. Needless to say, they're on page 5-6 for most kw's in organic, slightly better in local, but not much.

So, not sure if the spammy links are more negative than the domain age is positive, any thoughts? Should I disavow those links and keep the redirect, just stop the redirect, or what?

Disavow and 301. You should be fine.

Definitely don't want to lose a 2002 aged domain.
 

Tony Wang

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Thanks Joshua, that's what I was thinking. I guess I was wondering how to know if those spammy links were actually hurting, and/or how much?
 

JoshuaMackens

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Thanks Joshua, that's what I was thinking. I guess I was wondering how to know if those spammy links were actually hurting, and/or how much?

Sorry, shouldn't have skimmed.

It's impossible to tell since Google holds that information solely.

But we can take our best guess based on their guidelines. If you think the link is spammy, it probably is, and I would just remove it because a spammy link probably won't help you but can definitely hurt you. Easy choice at that point; for me anyway.

How much are they hurting? Hard to tell, again, because Google doesn't tell us. But if you have overwhelming amounts of spammy links vs quality links, you're probably at the point where you need to disavow.

Hope some of this helps.
 
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To add to what Joshue was saying, spammy backlinks don't hurt you at all, until they do. Your spammy backlinks might not be an active penalty, so much as a ticking bomb for whenever the real time Penguin update releases. Penguin historically hasn't been a constant thing, you won't notice a gradual problem as you're gradually building bad backlinks. What you'll notice is nothing (or maybe even positive change?) until penguin refreshes, and then if you get hit, you're going to have a real tough time fixing the mess. Disavowing isn't going to help you in the short run, it's more like insurance to make sure that the next time Penguin sweeps through the neighborhood, it goes past your door.

Penguin only updated every six months or so for a while, currently it's been like a year and a half. Last I heard the next Penguin update won't just be another one-time sweep, it'll be a shift to a real-time system where you actually do see your site get penalized as you build bad backlinks instead of getting a random one time hit 6 months later, but who knows when that's going to roll out?

So not only is there not a clear way to find out how much those backlinks are hurting your right now, they probably aren't hurting you right now in the first place. Doesn't mean they won't at some point down the road though.
 

JoshuaMackens

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To add to what Joshue was saying, spammy backlinks don't hurt you at all, until they do. Your spammy backlinks might not be an active penalty, so much as a ticking bomb for whenever the real time Penguin update releases. Penguin historically hasn't been a constant thing, you won't notice a gradual problem as you're gradually building bad backlinks. What you'll notice is nothing (or maybe even positive change?) until penguin refreshes, and then if you get hit, you're going to have a real tough time fixing the mess. Disavowing isn't going to help you in the short run, it's more like insurance to make sure that the next time Penguin sweeps through the neighborhood, it goes past your door.

Penguin only updated every six months or so for a while, currently it's been like a year and a half. Last I heard the next Penguin update won't just be another one-time sweep, it'll be a shift to a real-time system where you actually do see your site get penalized as you build bad backlinks instead of getting a random one time hit 6 months later, but who knows when that's going to roll out?

So not only is there not a clear way to find out how much those backlinks are hurting your right now, they probably aren't hurting you right now in the first place. Doesn't mean they won't at some point down the road though.

Very well said.
 

JimFranco

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I guess with the new Penguin , you dont have to disavow them. Unless you are actively gaining spammy links.
 

JoshuaMackens

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I guess with the new Penguin , you dont have to disavow them. Unless you are actively gaining spammy links.

I think it's still a good idea to actively check Search Console and disavow spammy links.
 
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