If you look through your links on Google Search Console what do you see? If you’re like some site owners and SEOs you may have noticed a number of links from spammy websites.
.XYZ spam is on the rise, and it’s annoying just about everyone. What’s XYZ spam you ask? It’s links from sites that are hosted on the XYZ top-level domain (TLD). In other words, they are coming from sites that end in .xyz not .com. These sites come from the registry operator .XYZ.
Not long ago the .xyz TLD joined other ICANN-approved generic top-level domains, which include .com, .gov, .edu and over 700 others. Late last year industry publications noted that Google’s holding company Alphabet began using a .xyz domain (abc.xyz). It was a signal to some that .com would no longer dominate domains, and .xyz sites may get a boost in ranking.
If nothing else it gave the .xyz TLD a big boost in business. Founder Daniel Negari told Wired Magazine that after Alphabet launched its .xyz URL new registrants jumped from 3,000 a day to 10,000 a day.
It now appears many of those sites are run by less than scrupulous operators that thought they’d get some Google love with an .xyz domain.
Blocking Spammy .xyz Sites
Recently Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller was approached about the growing problem with spam from .xyz sites and how to handle it. The big question was, can you block a top-level domain in your robots.txt file? And if you block them will it have a negative impact on your ranking?
Unfortunately, you can only affect crawling on your own site with the robots.txt file. But there is a solution. You can put the spammy .xyz sites in a disavow file. It’s also possible to block all of the sites on the .xyz TLD at once using domain:xyz
However, the Webmaster Trends Analyst advised against the latter because you could end up blocking legitimate sites along with the spammy ones. They also acknowledged that spammy sites have been linking out to genuine, highly ranked sites for years as a way to game the SEO system. It’s not a new tactic, and Google doesn’t reward the sites for their bad behavior. Just because the links are indexed doesn’t mean they’re given any weight and affecting your credibility.
So, blocking spammy .xyz sites shouldn’t impact your own site’s ranking. As far as Google analysts are concerned you can just ignore the spammy links.
This is a perfect example of why SearchRPM combs through everything from a technical standpoint to see who is linking to our clients and whether those links make a real difference. When you build a solid website with great content and features you’re naturally going to appear more credible. In turn, legitimate and spammy websites are going to want to link to your site.
Want to know who’s linking to you and how it’s affecting your search ranking? Give SearchRPM a call to schedule an audit. We’ll show you where there are search strengths as well as what’s keeping you from the top of the SERPs.
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By Michael Ramirez
Michael Ramirez is the Founder of SearchRPM, a Austin, TX based search marketing company with deep roots in Search Engine Optimization. You can follow Michael Ramirez on Twitter @openmic0323 or on Google+ to see what he’s up to next.