Toxic links & disavows: A comprehensive SEO guide

What is a toxic link? Are toxic links the same thing as spammy links? Can too many of these hurt your site’s ability to rank? 

If you are uncertain as to whether you would benefit from filing a disavow, this article should answer your questions.

A “toxic” link is generally considered to be a link that has the potential to harm your website’s ability to rank. However, not all SEOs are aligned on how to define toxic links and whether their presence actually could hurt your ability to rank.

Some will say that any link that would be considered an unnatural link as per Google’s documentation on link schemes should be considered “toxic” and could hurt your site. Others use the phrase to describe the type of spammy link that Google says their algorithms ignore. 

It is important to note that Google itself does not actually have a notion of “toxic links”. 

So why do SEOs use the phrase “toxic links”? 

Several well-known SEO tools aim to find and help you disavow unnatural links. Several of them list links that they have programmatically determined to be potentially harmful in Google’s algorithms. 

The idea is that you can use their tools to identify these “toxic links” that could potentially hurt your site, and then disavow them. 

I believe these tools are attempting to find all unnatural links pointing to your site. But in my experience, the majority of links that are returned by these tools are ones that I would consider spammy or “cruft”. Most of these really should be ignored by Google’s algorithms. 

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.

Before we go further, let’s define three terms I’ll be using throughout the remainder of this article:

  • Toxic links: Links a tool has identified as being potentially harmful to your site. 
  • Spammy links: The type of link no one would actually purposefully make in order to improve rankings but most sites accrue. Examples include links from sites that publish domain stats, random foreign language gibberish pages, wallpaper image site links, and sites like theglobe.net that link out to almost every site on the web. Spammy links could also include onslaughts of low-quality links in negative SEO attacks.
  • Manipulative links: Links that have been made with the intention of manipulating PageRank to improve Google rankings. Examples include paid links, links in articles for SEO, and other schemes that are designed primarily to boost PageRank and subsequently, rankings.

There can be some crossover between these definitions, which adds to the confusion. Google recently called some links in guest posts and affiliate marketing posts as potentially being seen as both spammy

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A Comprehensive Guide For Sellers

In digital marketing, we talk a lot about what you need to do for your website and how to make it SEO-friendly for users and search bots.

But how much do you know about Amazon SEO?

If you’re an ecommerce business and you’re not on Amazon in 2022, you may not be hitting your sales potential.

Amazon’s a powerhouse, a workhorse, an old reliable when it comes to e-commerce, as most people should be aware of by now.

Everyone wants to get their products on Amazon because that’s where their audiences shop.

And those audiences shop the platform quite a bit.

Amazon generates about $4,722 every second, or about $17 million an hour. The sales giant closed out last year with $469.8 billion in net sales, up 22% over 2020.

That’s why sellers want a piece of the action, and why it can be so difficult to rank your products on Amazon’s results pages.

As with your website, though, you can practice Amazon SEO to give your products a boost.

It’s all about understanding the algorithm, what shoppers are searching for to find what they need, and how you can outperform your competitors.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to Amazon SEO for sellers.

How Amazon’s A9 Algorithm Works

Before we can talk about Amazon SEO and how you can optimize your product listings, it will help to understand how Amazon’s A9 search algorithm works.

It’s similar but not identical to Google’s.

One main difference?

Amazon queries are only commercial, rather than navigational or informational as with Google.

Think about it simply.

You make a search. A9 knows you want to buy whatever you searched.

It matches the query to a group of relevant products, and you are shown those products on a series of pages.

How does Amazon even select those particular products, though?

Again, think about it like Google’s algorithms, but exclusively for ecommerce.

The factors Amazon considers for rankings include:

  • Positive customer reviews (better products will sell more and make more money for Amazon).
  • Historical sales.
  • Relevant keywords included in the product listing.
  • The right prices (not too high, not too low, based on the competition).

It’s important to note here that while the algorithm is always looking for relevance based on a query, historical data matters a lot, too, as pointed out in the above list.

The results that have pleased customers in the past are likely to please customers in the future.

New sellers on Amazon are therefore faced with a dilemma: if Amazon prioritizes products with strong sales, but you haven’t made any sales yet or generated any historical data for A9, how can you ever hope to climb Amazon’s rankings?

The answer lies in performing Amazon SEO, starting with the keyword research that can get you found by the shoppers who matter to you.

Performing Amazon Keyword Research

Just like with Google, an Amazon SEO strategy must be built on keyword research.

Without the right keywords in your rankings,

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