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Did the Disavow Tool work for you?
spunkle




msg:4576938
 11:17 am on May 23, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hey,

did any one use the Disavow Tool and recover from the lastest penguin updates, may 22nd 2013? can anyone say that they only used the disavow tool and it recovered their site?

I tried the disavow tool on one of my sites for a test and it did not recover the site.

 

ColourOfSpring




msg:4577977
 7:56 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Absolutely - you've got to ask the question. The only problem with that is that Google almost always makes more money.


I've laboured this point to death, but allow me excavate this horse from its grave and flog it one more time: Google only need to be better than the other search engines out there. It gives them no extra advantage to be better than that level. Google don't want to be the best they can be, because there's no extra advantage in that. They just want to stay ahead of the pack. There's a MASSIVE difference between those two things. It's far more lucrative to be better than the rest, and then dictate things on your terms, than to be the purest and be the best you can be. The former makes much more money than the latter. That's just business, and Google is a business. Just as Google have a due diligence to minimise their tax liabilities around the globe, so do they have a due diligence to milk every searcher for all their worth. More focus on Adwords is one way to do it. Searchers do not care how they reach their destination, so long as they do. To the searcher, it makes no difference if Google get them there through organic or Adwords, it makes no difference (and most searchers can't tell the difference).

I know there's a tendency to think things MUST be more complex than that, but it isn't. Google only have one major source of income. They need to drive profits up. This is how they do it.

luckystrike




msg:4577994
 9:30 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes that's how they do it but what they are doing is practically illegal. They are abusing their position as the dominant search engine. They don't have any real competition.

spunkle




msg:4578000
 9:43 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

can we try and keep the conspiracy theories out of this thread please, it's about the disavow tool and people's experience with it.


as of yet no one is reporting it being successful.

diberry




msg:4578002
 9:49 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

spunkle, conspiracy theories are basically non-falsifiable theories. The theory that Google may manipulate the SERPs to make more on Adwords is not falsifiable, as Tedster just illustrated.

It's hard to keep this thread from wandering to the question of WHY disavow didn't work for anyone.

And why I'm definitely seeing a small bit of recovery after NOT using disavow. (Am I the only one?)

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4578101
 7:43 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

Have a look at this ...
[newyork.newsday.com ]
Google Inc. is facing a new antitrust probe by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission into whether the company is using its leadership in the online display-advertising market to illegally curb competition, people familiar with the matter said.

ColourOfSpring




msg:4578120
 8:17 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

It's hard to keep this thread from wandering to the question of WHY disavow didn't work for anyone.


Agree - this is true for everything Google do. There is always a "why?" that follows something Google do. If disavow didn't work, why didn't it work? We can't just report without asking "why?". We need to better understand the motives of Google if we are discussing in a forum labelled Google SEO News and Discussion. I think the profit motive is not a "conspiracy theory" - it's more Occam's Razor (the most likely explanation). Provable? Of course not. There's enough plausible deniability to camouflage Google's motives.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4578122
 8:45 am on May 27, 2013 (gmt 0)

We should be asking why Google suggested that it would work, forcing thousands of webmasters worldwide to spend millions of hours using it to no avail.

First and foremost, we recommend that you remove as many spammy or low-quality links from the web as possible. If you’ve done as much work as you can to remove spammy or low-quality links from the web, and are unable to make further progress on getting the links taken down, you can disavow the remaining links. In other words, you can ask Google not to take certain links into account when assessing your site.

Google are the experts in this. They have the knowledge so they should be disavowing links from sites, which they don't like, not us. They are making fools of us.

martinibuster




msg:4578643
 4:36 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks to those who are keeping this thread on topic. It's a good discussion. :)

It is interesting to read that so many have not had a positive experience with the Disavow Tool.

We should be asking why Google suggested that it would work...


Historically, sites that remove bad links end up ranking where they belong, taking into account the set of links they currently have. In the past this meant that sites with uncompetitive backlinks did not regain page one rankings. But sites that did have competitive quality backlinks did bounce back to page one. But those are sites that had good quality links already. Those are the only ones that have historically bounced back to page one.

It is unreasonable to assume that a site will bounce back to page one after using the disavow tool. What's going to happen is you'll rank where the algo believes you should rank, according to the score you get with your current backlinks. That's it.

This is ridiculous, G worked with tools of fear and disinformation to get data and free of charge working power from us!


Please remember that it was web publishers that demanded this tool. Google resisted creating this tool for months then changed their minds and said they were investigating launching it. Bing came out with a disavow tool first. [searchengineland.com] Then Google followed. But it was because webmasters clamored for it.

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4578656
 5:10 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you honestly believe that Google do what webmasters clamour for? ;)

Bones




msg:4578657
 5:11 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

The overwhelming consensus here does seem to be that the disavow tool doesn't work.

There's also a rather relevant post on the blog of a popular SEO site today regarding an experiment to disavow all 35k links pointing to a website. After two months, nothing happened at all.

Leosghost




msg:4578658
 5:24 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google did provide the tool because webmasters demanded it..

However..

Google did not use the data gained from it's use by webmasters, in a way which webmasters wished for..

Which goes to prove the truth of ..

"Be careful what you wish for"..

ColourOfSpring




msg:4578659
 5:46 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google did provide the tool because webmasters demanded it


Google did not use the data gained from it's use by webmasters, in a way which webmasters wished for..


If Google built the tool for webmasters because webmasters demanded it, then Google would also have listened to why webmasters wanted this tool - it was to disavow links that were penalising their site that they could not remove. But it seems Google didn't build this for the original reason webmasters wanted this tool. They built it for their own self-serving reasons (is my best guess) since I've not heard about a single recovery case from using the disavow tool.

tedster




msg:4578688
 6:36 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

The overwhelming consensus here does seem to be that the disavow tool doesn't work.

There are also reports here of sites that did benefit from the disavow tool. In some cases, site owners did not use the tool as Google instructed from day one.

Do not use this tool unless you know what you are doing and you are sure that you need it. Do not be the guy (or gal) who accidentally disavows every link going to your website. If you are that guy, you should not use this tool.

Matt stressed the importance of still trying to remove all the links from the Web manually that you can before you use this tool.

[pubcon.com...]


Also note Google's current Help page about the tool:

This is an advanced feature and should only be used with caution. If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that you disavow backlinks only if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.

[support.google.com...]


...and this recent post from Matt Cutts (and echoed by John Mueller):

May 13, 2012
One common issue we see with disavow requests is people going through with a fine-toothed comb when they really need to do something more like a machete on the bad backlinks. For example, often it would help to use the “domain:” operator to disavow all bad backlinks from an entire domain rather than trying to use a scalpel to pick out the individual bad links.

[plus.google.com...]


Yes, it really sucks that so many are caught in this Google tangle. But that's the way it is right now. I'm not defending anything here, but rather I'm hoping to help same people. If your business survival is on the line, complaining does not fix the situation. You need to take action in a very savvy way instead complaining, or maybe in addition ;)

[edited by: tedster at 9:37 pm (utc) on May 28, 2013]

Bones




msg:4578713
 7:26 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes, it really sucks that so may are caught in this Google tangle. But that's the way it is right now. I'm not defending anything here, but rather I'm hoping to help same people. If your business survival is on the line, complaining does not fix the situation. You need to take action in a very savvy way instead complaining, or maybe in addition ;)


Your help is, of course, very much appreciated.

I'm not complaining by the way - I've not personally used the tool, but the distinct lack of positive experiences in this thread doesn't fill anybody with confidence of its effectiveness.

With links not under your control so difficult to remove from the web, it is indeed a Google tangle that needn't, and shouldn't be so difficult to untie.

tedster




msg:4578754
 9:40 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

In reading and re-reading many of our threads including this one, I think the problem is that people are assuming that Penguin is only about backlinks. There are many reasons NOT to assume that.

Dymero




msg:4578769
 10:51 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

In regards to whether or not Disavow has worked, I have to wonder if we have a skewed sample here. It's always been the case that those who are unhappy are the most likely to speak out, no matter the issue. You're not as likely to see people who are happy with a product do so. So are many of those who use Disavow and seen it work simply not speaking out?

Whitey




msg:4578796
 11:33 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

In reading and re-reading many of our threads including this one, I think the problem is that people are assuming that Penguin is only about backlinks. There are many reasons NOT to assume that. [webmasterworld.com...]

+1

What's your hunch about "other" areas of consideration.

[edited by: Whitey at 11:39 pm (utc) on May 28, 2013]

seoskunk




msg:4578797
 11:34 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

nope didn't work

diberry




msg:4579081
 4:06 pm on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

In reading and re-reading many of our threads including this one, I think the problem is that people are assuming that Penguin is only about backlinks. There are many reasons NOT to assume that.


THANK YOU. There are still people bringing that assumption into threads, and it derails the whole conversation as we try - often in vain - to show them that there are legitimate, data-driven reasons to think otherwise. Plus, Google has indicated Penguin's too complex to backward engineer - "don't buy backlinks" is pretty easy to backward engineer!

BeeDeeDubbleU




msg:4579342
 7:44 am on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

So are many of those who use Disavow and seen it work simply not speaking out?
The title of this thread is "Did the Disavow Tool Work for You?".

I would have thought that this is clear enough and simple enough to elicit a response from both sides but not a single person has said it worked for them. :(

Bones




msg:4579440
 1:06 pm on May 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

In reading and re-reading many of our threads including this one, I think the problem is that people are assuming that Penguin is only about backlinks. There are many reasons NOT to assume that.


THANK YOU. There are still people bringing that assumption into threads, and it derails the whole conversation as we try - often in vain - to show them that there are legitimate, data-driven reasons to think otherwise. Plus, Google has indicated Penguin's too complex to backward engineer - "don't buy backlinks" is pretty easy to backward engineer!


What sort of things are you both alluding to?

(I must've missed the previous discussions on this, sorry)

Whitey




msg:4580525
 4:21 am on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

For folks that did not use the disavow tool aggressively enough, there's now 2 tweets from Matt Cutt's fully endorsing the process for recovery, of which the disavow tool WILL work.

Matt Cutts: Hmm. One common issue we see with disavow requests is people going through with a fine-toothed comb when they really need to do something more like a machete on the bad backlinks. For example, often it would help to use the “domain:” operator to disavow all bad backlinks from an entire domain rather than trying to use a scalpel to pick out the individual bad links. That's one reason why we sometimes see it take a while to clean up those old, not-very-good links.


John Mueller of Google also followed up along the same lines [plus.google.com...]

Here's a new thread on recovering from Penguin, which is possible

Matt Cutts
Tweets on stages of Penguin recovery
[webmasterworld.com...]

My key takes are 1. Be merciless 2. Be patient - it will take time.

Folks who have been hit, now have nothing to loose. Time to cut to the bone rather than wait for further Penguins to arrive as this is only the beginning of many such updates.

idolw




msg:4580526
 4:55 am on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

How do you all people decide that disavow tool did not work for you?
Is it because you expect a huge positive change in traffic on a certain date (like when typical penalties are lifted)?
Do your sites still rank for some keywords?
What type of keywords?
Are you all sure your affected pages cannot rank anymore?
Have you tried getting new links to check it?

viral




msg:4580529
 5:40 am on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Quite frankly as ColourOfSpring has said above it is not Google's purpose in life to be the best search engine possible it purpose is to be better than the others while increasing profit and driving stock price up. So...

There are some facts that we as webmasters and SEO's need to understand.

1) theoretically, Google doesn't need your site to provide a good level of service for it's users. How does this manifest in the real world? Quite frankly Google has enough "content" (Google's content is links to site that satisfy queries)to provide enough of a user experience that almost every user is happy. Something like 80% of users only look at page 1 and almost no user goes past page 3. So Google has enough content to provide decent links on those first 3 pages WITHOUT NEEDING YOUR SITE. Let me say it one more time Google doesn't need your site and that applies to almost every niche possible. Google only needs at most 30 sites per query, of course as a matter of pride they will provide thousands of pages of results but as you drill down into those results they get less query specific and more general.

2) Google is a company, there are two things that companies always do. 1 is increase revenue and 2 drive down costs. They always do these and every company that hasn't gone out of business already, is constantly doing this. How would this affect you? Well quite frankly if you have been hit with a penalty Google can flag your site as a possible spammer/less trusted or whatever you want to call it. There for it won't expend as much energy on your site. How could this work? Well it would mean things like they no longer need to send Google bot to your site as often. Google bot is a big expense over there in the Googleplex and that is a cost that they are probably always trying to reduce. I could imagine those private blog networks that got hammered a few years ago have probably not seen Google bot in a long time. Why would they bother going there?

Another way of driving price down is to flag your/my site as a potential problem so the algorithm doesn't even have to take you into account unless there is some strange query that absolutely no other site can satisfy.

3) Brands : brands can satisfy almost any commercial query possible. This does two things for Google it drives cost down because they don't really have expend as much algorithmic muscle to keep track of the few big brands as they do millions of blog type sites and also means Googlebot can hang out at these sites sucking up trusted content. While once again venturing into the other nooks and crannies of the internet a lot less they used to. Any non-commercial queries they can handle with "Knowledge graph" which I consider another nail in the publishers coffin. Why more publishers aren't crying out about knowledge graph I don't know. Knowledge graph is a sign of things to come. There is some point in the future were Google will turn on knowledge graph even for commercial queries. Google never does things by halves, it will take knowledge graph all the way to the bitter end.


So the disavow tool, Why would they offer it? Remember companies are generally doing 2 things (increasing revenue, driving down costs) so with anything Google does you need to ask yourself what will this tool/service/video/blog post DO FOR GOOGLE?

The disavow tool will not drive revenue up so it must be something that drives cost down. Now there might be some benefit for webmasters in using this tool but one thing that is guaranteed is that there will be a benefit for Google and in this case that will a benefit in driving down cost.

Then you have to ask yourself what will that benefit be? Well as has been said here before by quite a few people but no one seems to be listening is that it is probably a way that Google is crowdsourcing spam signals. They are using webmasters to provide information about other webmasters. We are helping Google drive down it's costs.

Will the disavow tool help you if you use it? Maybe, although as this thread seems to attest to, that is still up in the air. However one thing that is clear is that Google has not done this just to benefit us. No matter what you think of Google it is not altruistic it is not here to benefit mankind directly (it may do that but mostly as a by product of making cash). It is out there to maximize profits and at the risk of repeating my self once again it does this by maximizing revenue and decreasing expenditure.

If there is anything I want people to remember from this ramble it is (Google doesn't need you). Sad but true.

Lexur




msg:4580570
 10:54 am on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Great post, Viral.
Maybe you should make another one with only a headline and a paragraph for those webmasters that spend hours reading the lips of Matt Cutts in every video but have no time to read and think about their true relationship with other websites (search engines, social networks, etc.).

P.S.: I think the role of Mr. Cutts as "good and helper boy" of Google Inc. is pathetic but, sincerely, I could do it too for the half of the money he ought to be paid.

turbocharged




msg:4580584
 11:49 am on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

How do you all people decide that disavow tool did not work for you?
Is it because you expect a huge positive change in traffic on a certain date (like when typical penalties are lifted)?
Interflora had their penalty lifted in just over a week for buying links, and there are other "high profile" cases where penalties have been lifted in less than a month. Should small businesses, that follow Google's guidelines in using the removal tool/manually removing links that they did not even pay for, have to wait half a year or longer for their penalties to be lifted?

I've had a small number of clients use the disavow tool, and some also contacted webmasters to get their links removed. In not one single case did it make a difference. I think the disavow tool is merely a feel good tool with very limited and questionable success stories to make me think otherwise.

Whitey




msg:4580585
 11:57 am on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

I've had a small number of clients use the disavow tool

@turbocharged Did you remove ALL of the bad links, or just some? Google advice up to the last couple of weeks was to be careful, that's now changed : [webmasterworld.com...] due to the disappointing quality of submissions [ probably due to misguided or reviewed Google directive].

I've heard some anecdotal reports of the tool having worked from respected sources, but not a lot. Not even sure how emphatic the disavows were either.

[edited by: Whitey at 12:00 pm (utc) on Jun 3, 2013]

viral




msg:4580586
 11:59 am on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

If you remove all links aren't back at the start? Which is fine if you want to restart but if you are going to restart wouldn't it be safer to do it on another domain?

Whitey




msg:4580588
 12:05 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Do you have any links you believe are good enough to keep? That's where you need to make your decision of what would work best for you.

Probably, those looking to recover would be best served by going to the other thread where a more holistic strategy and procedure is being discussed for recovery, including the correct applying of the disavow tool : [webmasterworld.com...]

turbocharged




msg:4580591
 12:19 pm on Jun 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Whitey

The clients I spoke of handled the matters themselves, but some hired link removal companies for assistance as well. Without doing the work in our office, which we have no intention of doing, I can't precisely say as to how many links they removed. One client did claim to remove about half their links, including dozens of links originating from scrapers. The common theme these clients have is that they all spent a great deal of time and money on disavowing tasks without noticing any results. Maybe some of them will sharpen their axes and do some major cutting in the future, but I think their lack of results from previously using the disavow tool has helped to shape their current opinion and if/how they may use the tool in the future.

Iceman88




msg:4581345
 4:10 pm on Jun 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi All,

Been a lurker for a while, decided to join.

Wanted to share my experience with the Disavow tool.

I worked with a client who was hit by a manual link penalty, received the GWT message.

We started by looking at their backlink profile using GWT/Majestic SEO and removing the ones we deemed to be 'spammy'.

It took four tries on the re-consideration request (we got rejected three times) but the penalty was lifted. This was quite recent, traffic was bouncing back to pre-penalty levels, however now they have just been hit by Penguin 2.0.

My theory on this:

I was at a recent conference in the UK and their were some ex-google guys there. He said that when spam team review a manual penalty they only look at 10% of your back links, so it could be that the set they analyse is random and on the fourth try, we were lucky to get a reasonable clean set of links and they lifted he penalty.

Clearly the algorithm can look at more than just 10% of links as well as other factors, so the overall link profile was still 'spammy' and now they have been hit by an algorithm penalty.

So did the disavow tool work? I would say YES, it was the only thing we did.

If Penguin 2.0 didn't take place they were seeing traffic levels return to normal.

I will keep you updated on progress for Penguin 2.0. Fun times.

This 134 message thread spans 5 pages: < < 134 ( 1 [2] 3 4 5 > >
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