Google will rank pages even if they have spammy links

Kaushal Thakkar is the Founder and MD of Infidigit. He has developed award-winning search strategies for various organizations, ranging from large enterprise and e-commerce websites to small and medium-sized businesses. Before Infidigit, he was leading digital marketing, product, and eCommerce initiatives at Myntra (a Walmart Company), Times Group, ICICI Group, Tata Group. Being an engineer and product manager in his earlier days, he loves to hack growth for websites via technical SEO strategies. He is a speaker at various forums and a Pro bono guest lecturer on Organic Search, Digital Marketing, Analytics & eCommerce. In X @

Google will rank pages even if they have spammy links

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    Google will rank your page if the Good SEO outweighs the bad SEO

    In a rather interesting conversation in Google SEO Office Hours, Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller shared his views regarding backlinks. Backlinks can be of various types such as paid links, links submitted by your competitors on spammy websites, natural links, sponsored or PR (Press Release) links. The SEO community has been perplexed as to why some sites with paid backlinks rank higher in Google SERPs.

    In the Google SEO Office Hours session on YouTube, one of the attendees asked the following question:

    “And a second question is Google say pay for backlinks is spam. But in PersianWeb, we see many website, mostly they sell flight tickets. They spend a lot for site-wide backlinks. But still they are on the top of the search results. So why is there such a contradiction here?”

    According to John Mueller, Google understands that when it comes to SEO, some websites do some things incorrectly, but they also do a lot of things correctly. If the good SEO outweighs the bad SEO, it is unfair for Google to remove the website completely from rankings.

    “But a lot of times what I see is that sites will do some things wrong, but they will do other things really well. And because of that, it still makes sense to show them in the search results. Like we would not remove a site from the search results just because they’re doing one thing bad”, said John Mueller.

    Less weightage will be given to Spammy and Paid Backlinks

    Google’s search engine algorithms can identify these kinds of links that are not natural in nature. Spammy and paid backlinks are ignored and given less weight when it comes to rankings.

    “Especially if, in our algorithms, we can recognize that and ignore or kind of reduce the weight of that factor. And that’s kind of what we try to do with links in general to understand which of these links are actually good, natural links and which should we give weight and which ones aren’t.

    And just because there are some bad links there too that maybe they’re buying, I don’t know, that doesn’t mean that we would not show the site at all”, said Mueller.

    It is difficult to satisfy all the 200+ ranking factors

    Google understands that SEO’s do their best to optimize websites for rankings with the knowledge and expertise they have. However, satisfying all the 200+ rankings factors is rather difficult. SEO’s often do some activities unknowingly, not knowing whether the practice is good or bad.

    “I think one of the things that I kind of like about our algorithm is that we have so many different factors, and you don’t have to be perfect with all of these factors. And sometimes people do bad things accidentally. Maybe they follow bad advice. Maybe they think that this is really important to do, but it doesn’t mean that the rest of their website is bad”, said Google’s John Mueller.

    You can watch the entire discussion on backlinks here:

    YouTube video


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    Google will rank pages even if they have spammy links