“We Would Not Remove A Site From The Search Results Just Because They’re Doing One Thing Bad” – John Mueller

Will doing one thing wrong get your site penalized and gone from the index? According to John Mueller, they will not remove a site. How about paid backlinks?
Marie Aquino
January 22, 2022

In the Google Search Central’s SEO Office Hours January 21 episode, a user asked about how Google is against paid backlinks, yet he has noticed some sites purchasing backlinks are on the top of search results.

John Mueller responded that it is hard to say without looking at the sites themselves but how a lot of times, what he sees is that sites will do some things wrong, but they will also do other things really well.

Because of this, it will still make sense to show them in the search results. They would not remove a site from the search results just because they are doing one bad thing.

What they try to do with links in general is to understand which of the links are actually good, natural links, which they should give weight to, and which ones aren’t.

Just because there are some bad links there, too, that does not mean that they would not show the site at all.

Mueller mentioned that one of the things that he likes about the algorithm is that they have so many different factors and you don’t have to be perfect will all of the factors.

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 the website is bad.

So generally, it looks like sites will not get deindexed just because they have purchased links, which we have seen in some of our tests in the SIA. We have previously tested what it takes to get a site deindexed and we’ve run a lot of links to a test site to see at which point it would disappear, but found that it did not.

Just basing on his answer though, it looks like the quality of the page is really more important than the links that goes to it. It looks like they are more forgiving when it comes to links that goes to the page and ultimately, if the page does things right, provide value, then that would ultimately get them to the top and the links, whether they are natural or not, can be forgiven and overlooked (As long as it’s not outright, at least)

Check out the SEO Office Hours episode: