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Did the Disavow Tool work for you?
spunkle



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 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.

 

Iceman88



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 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.

engine

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 4:29 pm on Jun 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Welcome Iceman88, thanks for the enlightening post.

@viral
The crowdsourcing of bad links is going to show up on google's radar, so, yes, it's true, it will help them.

As webmasters, we need to think of the value in using the tool, and the objectives of disavowing links from our own sites' point of view. I don't really care if it makes google more money or not, they can handle that side of it pretty well themselves. I'm only concerned with the benefit to my sites.

From my point of view, I use it very carefully. I need to know the backlink quality above all else.

Never us it without knowing the link quality in detail, and then, think once again before submitting. If your site is already in the gutter, you really do need to look at all the reasons why, and not just backlinks.

I would also wait at least a few weeks to evaluate the site's status before making a decision to use the tool, painful as the loss of traffic may be.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 10:22 pm on Jun 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Iceman88 - What's your plan with Penguin 2.0 as I assume you went deeper into the site before, which is where this change focuses?

The two things that strike me here are whether you went in hard enough early, and whether you were patient. The very fact that Google is doing manual reviews following the disavow tool removals makes me wonder as well.

atlrus

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 11:32 pm on Jun 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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.


Uh, so the tool did NOT work - you could've done nothing and simply submit reconsideration requests until they get a relatively clean set of links, if your info about the 10% is correct.

From day one most people realized that Google will NEVER give a working link tool in the hands of a webmaster. NEVER! Google will NEVER allow you to manipulate the way their algo deals with your links. They would be more than happy, however, to let you give them as much information about your website as possible, while they use it the way they see fit. Heck, they don't even allow you to see all the links to your website they have collected, not to mention a working link manipulation tool... Pipe dream, if I've ever seen one.

Unfortunately, people who used the disavow tool got hit with a double penalty - 1) Link penalty and 2) Waste of time penalty.

CainIV

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 6:19 am on Jun 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Define: Doesn't work.

If you have paid links, and disavow poor links in your profile, it won't work

If you have no authority links and disavow poor links in your profile, it won't work.

It's best to respond with more details; this really helps people understand what it was that didn't work, and what "work" means (page one, top 3. top 50 pages)

Iceman88



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 7:29 am on Jun 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Whitey - Have you seen any manual penalty's post penguin 2.0, I have yet to come across any?

Initial plans for Penguin 2.0 will be to go back, and look at all the major keywords which were driving traffic before both penalty's, look at individual link profiles for those pages and start building high quality links.

Looking at it from a page and keyword level.

@atlrus - Point taken, you could be right with them coincidentally coming across a clean set of links.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 12:14 am on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Iceman88 - The manual scenario sounds plausible, particularly because of the ex Googler's feedback. But if you're relying on the "10%" argument, then it would seem you didn't go in hard enough, which kinda supports what Matt Cutt's said about the supplied disavow data being too weak to do anything with.

Just clarifying again, do you think this could have applied to you?

np2003

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 5:51 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Nope, didn't work.

Matt Cutts is a liar.

Iceman88



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 9:05 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Whitey - One thing I left out on the original post, was every time we put in a reconsideration request we updated the disavow list with more domains, ones we overlooked or were previously unsure about. In the end the list went up in hundreds.

Actually going over my audio recording from the event, the ex-Google guy also said he doesn't think Google will be doing anything with that data anytime soon, because they don't know what to do with it YET. So perhaps it is just a data collection exercise.

Just found a link to the video on YouTube, am I allowed to post it here?

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 10:26 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

One thing I left out on the original post, was every time we put in a reconsideration request we updated the disavow list with more domains, ones we overlooked or were previously unsure about. In the end the list went up in hundreds.

It sounds like you went beyond the home page related links for Penguin 1.0, and carefully by increments, which is what Matt Cutts referred to when he spoke about Webmasters needing to use a "machete". [ Originally, he spoke of being "very careful" - which may have caused confusion]

Actually going over my audio recording from the event, the ex-Google guy also said he doesn't think Google will be doing anything with that data anytime soon, because they don't know what to do with it YET. So perhaps it is just a data collection exercise.

To clarify that context, I think they were talking about using the data to not modify the algorithm. But the data is used as intended for blocking links to the specific website.

Just found a link to the video on YouTube, am I allowed to post it here?

If it's already on YouTube and relevant, it should be fine.

Iceman88



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 10:45 pm on Jun 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Here is the Video, its an hour long, some good insights.

If you want just the disavow stuff I mentioned, skip to 12:30 sec.

[youtu.be...]

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 3:31 am on Jun 8, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Iceman88 - good catch.

Alex997



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 11:03 am on Jun 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

I submitted a disavow file with 145 domains (low quality directories) listed a couple weeks ago now since being hit by 2.0 (no impact from 1.0 by the way). I also removed any forum profile home website addresses which should remove about 10% of the total links.

I've been watching my link count in webmaster tools go down since by about 20% links. However, no positive impact in the search results thus far.

I STILL don't understand why negative penalties exist - a breach of google rules for backlinks should just result in zero worth being accredited on a link by link basis. Then this cleanup / witch hunt waste of time wouldn't be necessary.

I think I will have a lot more success building new strong authority links than helping Google do their job for them.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 1:43 am on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I STILL don't understand why negative penalties exist

My belief is that it's a trust thing. Webmaster's wanted the opportunity to disclose to Google a disassociation from spam links. It's now morphed into a tool for Penguin clean up's. My hope is that when Google see's webmaster's making active efforts to clean up their sites [ aggressively, not half heartedly ] it will release sites.

@Iceman88 - What was the time lapse on the last reconsideration request from submission to SERP improvements?

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 2:39 am on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I STILL don't understand why negative penalties exist


BECAUSE THEY WANT TO DISCOURAGE BEHAVIOR.

rish3



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 2:56 am on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

I STILL don't understand why negative penalties exist

BECAUSE THEY WANT TO DISCOURAGE BEHAVIOR.


Since big G doesn't offer any details as to what behavior has been penalized, it's kind of a random stick. Something like being whacked in the back of the head by a random police officer and being told "you know what you did."

There's lots of things that might cause "unnatural linking" patterns that don't involve the website owner. Not just intentional negative SEO either. (which does exist, in abundance, in certain niches)

Some of my sites, particularly the older ones, have thousands of crappy links I didn't create. Stats websites, scrapers that took articles and republished them, hundreds of copies of DMOZ listings on lousy sites, etc.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 4:17 am on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Since big G doesn't offer any details as to what behavior has been penalized


It’s time to scrutinize your link profile, and do your best to remove any links that could be causing your website to be affected by Penguin 2.0. Here’s how the process works, described simply: [webmasterworld.com...]

@rish3 - does the associated thread and deeper articles answer this for you?

rish3



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 12:58 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@rish3 - does the associated thread and deeper articles answer this for you?


Do I understand what Matt means by "machete"? Sure.

However, for this older site, which I've done no linkbuilding to, I don't know for sure it's penguin afflicted. It did drop 5-6 spots, but perhaps some of the sites linking in lost some juice due to penguin? Or maybe it was affected? Who knows?

rish3



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 4:40 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Oh, and as for the searchenginejournal article on how to tell which links to disavow...( this article [searchenginejournal.com])

It's certainly well thought out, but there's obviously some guessing going on. Their thoughts on anchor text diversity is one example. My thoughts:

1. Nobody really knows whether Google is even focused on anchor text diversity. There's a correlation, sure, but no proof that it's causation. I can find plenty of sites ranking with over-optimized anchors.

2. Nobody knows how Google is calculating diversity. Are site-wide links counted once, or is each occurrence counted, or is there some middle ground? What about nofollow links? Do "branded links" count against you if you have an EMD? Do internal links count?

Lastly, I haven't really seen any credible evidence of a penguin recovery. There's a few stories, but most of them have issues of one type or another that make them less than credible. (dates not lining up with known penguin refreshes/updates for example).

Personally, I'll take the approach of leaving affected sites alone, until more actionable advice shows up, and focus my time on sites that big G seems happy with.

Iceman88



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 7:10 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Whitey - Saw improvements within 2 weeks.

After 4 weeks we noticed traffic starting to return to previous levels, until penguin 2.0 hit of course.

diberry

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 8:06 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Iceman88, that suggests to me that maybe you had issues other than Penguin, and disavow helped with those but not with Penguin. Just a possibility.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 9:01 pm on Jun 11, 2013 (gmt 0)

Continuing stories of success using the disavow / reconsideration request procedure , and inputs from Matt Cutts and Kaspar Szymanksi of Google over here: [webmasterworld.com...]

Perhaps members who previously answered "no" to recovery could provide feedback on whether they went in hard enough and followed the right procedures. Anyone ?

theblackout



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 8:35 am on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Will be really interesting to see whether Google manages to even eradicate spam.. Matt Cutts said in a recent WMT video

[mattcutts.com...]

that one of the reasons of this update was to eliminate spam for keywords like 'payday loans' in the UK. He reckoned 'by the end of summer'things would be different...

Try searching 'payday loans' on google.co.uk, results are probably worse than they have ever been.

I could at least give Google some credit for these updates if they actually managed to make the SERPs better.

3/4 of Google main guidelines say you should make the site good for the user. Google dont give a #*$!. If you have a great site and you have done any sort of promotion. GFY. If you have an average site and you have done any sort of promotion GFY. If you have a great site and you havent done any sort of promotion. You will be no-where & you may as well GFY. If you have an site from 1999 you will rank better than any of the aforementioned. LOL

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 8:55 am on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@blackout - did you see this thread and reference to Payday loans etc. sourced from SMX a few hours ago?

Google Payday Loan search update to target spammy queries

Google has officially launched a new search update to target “spammy queries” such as payday loan, #*$!ographic and other heavily spammed queries. [webmasterworld.com...]

theblackout



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 9:39 am on Jun 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Whitey - Maybe I spoke too soon.. I'll be interested to see what type of sites they replace the spam with..

sandboxsam

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 5:01 pm on Jun 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does the disavow tool need to be used in conjunction with a reconsideration request?

johnhh

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 8:49 pm on Jun 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

If you have an site from 1999 you will rank better than any of the aforementioned. LOL


um ... no it's all American owned brands or Google products in my neck of the woods...

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 11:19 pm on Jun 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Does the disavow tool need to be used in conjunction with a reconsideration request

@sandboxsam - have a look here on the procedures for recovery including this : [webmasterworld.com...]

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 1:27 am on Jun 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

UPDATE: One more success to report using the disavow tool :

The Tale of two websites hit by Penguin 2.0 [webmasterworld.com...]

It supports the other claims and instructions from Google. It would be good for those who posted "No success" in the opening posts to clarify what they did or didn't do in the light of the more recent information.

rish3



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 3:41 am on Jun 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Whitey:

Seems odd that the article, dated June 17th, says "Today they came back to where they where before the update."

If this is indeed a Penguin recovery, either:

a) You can recover from Penguin outside of a data refresh

==or==

b) There was a Penguin refresh today

Or something else? I thought Google was pretty clear that you could only recover during a penguin data refresh or penguin alogrithm update.

Whitey

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4576936 posted 4:00 am on Jun 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

@rish - I don't know the process and have put the question out before.. But the consistency of recovery reports is encouraging. 2-4 weeks seems to be about the timeline, although this is the first Penguin 2.0 recovery report I've seen.

Most folks don't report their successes , so when they do its a big bonus rising above the noise.

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