I am the owner of a reviews website and I am constantly getting requests from people asking me to remove links to their sites or they will disavow the links and they threaten me with Google penalties.

All of this is a bit frustrating because I already use nofollow on any link outside my site's domain. Second, I've never heard of Google penalizing a site for linking to other websites.

My question is twofold:

  1. Do disavowed links penalize the site that was disavowed?
  2. Does the nofollow attribute on tags absolutely guarantee that the link is not followed and not counted for search engine ranking?

Why don't more people know about nofollow?

2 Answers 2


Google is asking penalized webmasters to identify the spammy links to their site and disavow those links. If enough other webmasters identify your site as a source of link spam, then it might be reasonable for Google to see that as a quality issue with your site.

However, Google engineer Uli Lutz said when asked if using the disavow tool would hurt other sites:

Do not worry about damaging other people, that does not happen

Search Engine Land ran a poll about whether webmasters were concerned about being hurt by other sites disavowing their links:

  • 15% fear that disavows could hurt
  • 27% concerned but not fearful
  • 53% of respondents couldn't care less about disavows

The article itself concludes that you should not be worried about disavows hurting your site.

  1. Disavow links may penalize the site that was disavowed. If your link is disavowed, then it will create a negative impact on Google. If people send a request to Google to disavow your link for their business or product keyword, Google won't suddenly disavow it, Google will check whether disavowing your website link is necessary or not. If needed it will disavow your link otherwise it will hurt the website that send the request.

  2. Yeah! nofollowattribute guarantee that the link is not followed and not counted for search engine ranking.

No all the people's know about nofollow maybe problem is not because of nofollow but because of your review about their business or product. They may thing that your reviews about their business or product might affect their revenue. ;-)

  • So a disavow of a nofollow link can impact the site with the nofollow link? This seems odd...
    – jjxtra
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 15:28
  • Please provide a reliable source for "Disavow links may penalize the site that was disavowed." Commented Oct 30, 2013 at 10:14
  • 1
    @DisgruntledGoat Maybe this was meant by Sathiya? Quote taken from Source By removing the bad links directly, you’re helping to prevent Google (and other search engines) from taking action again in the future.
    – Charles
    Commented Nov 13, 2013 at 4:52

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