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Using the Disavow Tool - a few questions for anyone with experience
crobb305




msg:4558030
 3:39 pm on Mar 24, 2013 (gmt 0)

I submitted my disavow list to Google about a month ago. One week later, a manual spam penalty was revoked. Since then, I have seen a very gradual increase in impressions/traffic (about 10% increase per week starting one week after the notice of penalty revoked, not dramatic). My initial list had about 7,000 urls, but I am finding more spam urls/domains that probably should be added (new spam links that Google is discovering).

For those with experience using this tool, a few questions:
1) are you updating the list with new data? If so, how often?

2) Also, did you, too, see a gradual increase in traffic? Or, was your traffic's return more sudden (or none)

3) How long has it taken to return to a decent level? (I've gone from zero to about 25 uniques on weekdays during the past 3 weeks).

Coincident with my increase in traffic, I am also seeing a much more frequent spidering, with googlebot grabbing more than double the number of pages on my site than at anymore in the past 6 months... this increase mainly began during the past 10 days.

I am seeing some decent phrases return... from nowhere to page 2... then drop to page 3. So, I am unable to draw any conclusions about the success of this disavow tool... Granted, it may require a complete Penguin update, and we don't know when that will be. Soooo, aside from the unknowns, I'm curious about what you guys are observing with respect to my three questions above, and any additional observations you may have.

Background: My domain was very heavily spammed into link networks, often .pl or .ru, some even .edu... mainly on content pages that redirect to spammy leadgen pages. Google can't detect this redirect because some of those content pages are actually listed in the serps... you click on the serp listing, you are redirected to spam. Just in the past month alone, another 1,000 new links to my site have appeared. So, I feel like I should update my disavow list... but I also worry that I should just give things time to work. I don't want any setbacks.

Ideas?

 

aristotle




msg:4558976
 6:35 pm on Mar 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

It shouldn't be your responsibility to have to disavow spammy backlinks that other people create. The Google algorithm should take care of this on its own by simply disregarding such backlinks. Otherwise it would be easy for other people to sabotage your site's Google rankings by creating a lot of spammy backlinks to it.

bwnbwn




msg:4558981
 6:45 pm on Mar 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Background: My domain was very heavily spammed into link networks, often .pl or .ru, some even .edu... mainly on content pages that redirect to spammy leadgen pages.


Can you explain this a little more. The redirects are on your content pages? Links from your url should not be redirecting a user something isn't right.

chms




msg:4558999
 7:59 pm on Mar 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hello,

A few months ago o sent my list but nothing new.

A week ago I sent a reconsideration form and they have answered to me saing that i still have bad links.

I don't know what to do.

Thank you

aristotle




msg:4559006
 8:16 pm on Mar 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

bwnbwn -- I think he's talking about referral spam. They fetch your page three times in a row about a tenth of a second apart. If you try to go to the referring page, you get re-directed somewhere else. A lot of people have tried to stop it by blocking referrals from .ru, .pl, .ua, .ro. etc, but lately they've switched to .edu and .org using domain names made out of non-English words.

crobb305




msg:4559167
 11:32 am on Mar 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Can you explain this a little more. The redirects are on your content pages? Links from your url should not be redirecting a user something isn't right.


I can try to clarify what I mean. The redirect that I mentioned doesn't occur on my domain, it occurs on the pages that link to my site. I recently downloaded all of my links from GWT and created a pivot table based on discovery date. Coincidentally, on the day that I received my unnatural links warning, Google "discovered" thousands of spam links to my site. These links are mainly .ru, .pl. and .edu, and they all redirect to the same spammy lead generation page which tells me that they were created by the same person/organization. So far, my disavow list contains over 7,000 urls of that type.


It shouldn't be your responsibility to have to disavow spammy backlinks that other people create. The Google algorithm should take care of this on its own by simply disregarding such backlinks. Otherwise it would be easy for other people to sabotage your site's Google rankings by creating a lot of spammy backlinks to it.


I agree. Although, my disavow list seems to have been sufficient to get the manual penalty revoked. Unfortunately, after 3 weeks, I have only seen a very small increase in traffic (despite an enormous uptick in persistent spidering). I am still seeing new links being discovered, so I am wondering if I need to be updating the disavow list -- or if I should leave it as-is (since Google already revoked the manual penalty).

This seems to be a clear link attack that also affected my competitors. I know there are no easy answers, I was just hoping to hear some experiences with the disavow tool. My gut tells me to leave it as-is, for now, but I hate to see these new links to my site being discovered without being more proactive (about 2,000 new links in just the past 2 weeks). Perhaps it will just take a Penguin update to see improvement (if any).

arohan




msg:4559182
 12:51 pm on Mar 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

@crobb305, after reading your original post I went into my GWT and downloaded all the links with dates. What I found was quite similar to what you had in terms of the redirect spam to lead gen pages.

A number of these were .pl and .ru domains. I also took time to go through every single link individually, no matter how it looked on the surface. And here is an interesting thing I found.

Ever since I got listed in dmoz more than a year ago, I have seem many dmoz scrapper sites appear in my link profile. Normally I ignored them since you can't really do anything with them. But this time I went through all of these links and I found that more than half of these, what appear to be a scrapped page from the dmoz listing, actually redirect to a lead gen page. These pages are cloaked for the search engines.

Interestingly, some of these leadgen pages belong to quite reputable sites and if Google were to look into this practice, we will hear about many other brands getting slaps. These brands compete with me and I don't mind competing on fair terms but not like this.

I disavowed these links 2 days ago, with my comments, and will see what comes out of it. I suspect Google already knows about this practice and some of the negatives have rubbed off on my site so no reason not to disavow.

tedster




msg:4559205
 2:29 pm on Mar 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google "discovered" thousands of spam links to my site. These links are mainly .ru, .pl. and .edu, and they all redirect to the same spammy lead generation page

Have you done a "fetch as googlebot" for that page? The pattern you describe sounds like what often happens after a site is hacked and a cloaked, parasite link gets inserted.

aristotle




msg:4559206
 2:32 pm on Mar 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

This still sounds like ordinary referral spam to me. If you block googlebot from crawling your logs and stats files, then it shouldn't be able to find these backlinks.

crobb305




msg:4559212
 2:52 pm on Mar 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

The pattern you describe sounds like what often happens after a site is hacked and a cloaked, parasite link gets inserted.

Tedster, I agree these backlinks appear to be on hacked sites. Some appear to be legitimate .edu websites, with hacked/cloaked pages and inserted links to my site. I have found over 7,000 such links to my site, according to Google Webmaster Tools and third party link tools. Even a link: search on Google reveals these links, so Google has yet to pick up on the fact that they are hacks with cloaked content and redirects. I am stuck paying the price for the resulting backlink profile, but hopefully my disavow list is a step in the right direction.

Automotive site




msg:4560304
 3:20 pm on Apr 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

"It shouldn't be your responsibility to have to disavow spammy backlinks that other people create. The Google algorithm should take care of this on its own by simply disregarding such backlinks. Otherwise it would be easy for other people to sabotage your site's Google rankings by creating a lot of spammy backlinks to it."

I completely would agree with this. For example, a few domains are pointing hundreds of links to my site. I have updated the disavow file with only top level domains. I can't believe Google wants site owners to do this. Many site owners have precious little time as it is to create content, so then to waste valuable time updating the disavow tool is just not on. If Google recognizes them as bad links, why not just discount them altogether and let people update their disavow tool in their spare time rather drop/reduce their indexing?

Automotive site




msg:4560310
 3:33 pm on Apr 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

What's more is that this sort of thing will continue to happen. As long as the site owner is not trying to game the search engines by buying links, participating in link exchange, I don't see why they need to keep mining for bad links?

Let the site owner focus on his content and legitimate marketing.

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