Google has talked a bit previously about the value (or lack thereof) of links when they are coming from other countries or languages, even for links that are coming from countries or languages the website doesn’t target or service. The question came up again in yesterday’s Google webmaster office hours with John Mueller.
Here is the specific question:
We are tidying up our link profile. Does inbound links from other countries count against you or are treated as less important than links from your own country or is it only the relevancy of the website that the link has come from which matters in SEO.
There are some people who automatically disavow all links from sites that are not in English. But in reality, doing so could hurt the site because they could actually be high quality and extremely targeted links that were disavowed solely for not being in English.
Here is how Mueller said to handle links from other countries and languages.
In general, links from other countries are fine. It’s not something you’d need to suppress or remove or put in a disavow file. Sometimes you even get links from other languages where you don’t even know what they’re really writing about in regards to your website. And that can also be fine. So that’s not something I’d say you need to artificially prune or fine tune there. The way links to come to your site is essentially out of your control for a large extent.
Someone raised the issue that some people consider all links from non-English sites to be problematic.
Sometimes those are completely natural links and sometimes you get spammy links from the US. It’s kind of, I guess, the way the web is. Just because its from a different country, isn’t something I see as being problematic.
He was then asked directly, if it was one of his sites if he would leave those links alone, and Mueller said he would.
So don’t automatically discount links to disavow simply because they aren’t in the same language as your website. They could be great links and for SEO purposes, they won’t hurt your site as long as they are quality. But for a quick quality check, looking at the page through Google Translate, even though the translation won’t be perfect, it will be good enough to give you an idea of the link quality before deciding to disavow or not.
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