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What Links Should One Really Disavow / Remove?
Planet13




msg:4586751
 7:21 pm on Jun 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Multiple questions about which links to disavow:

1) If a link is already nofollw, does it really need to be disavowed / removed?

2) If a link is on a page that is "noindex" does it really need to be disavowed / removed? (for example, a forum profile page.)

3) If it is a legitimate link (meaning we had nothing to do with creating that link) by some poster on a forum, but the forum is not really related to our site (although that individual page is somewhat related), does it really need to be disavowed / removed?

4) Do we need to disavow the hundreds of sites that scrape google SERPS and link to us?

5) If a link to our site is on a "links page" on another site (which links out to a dozen or more sites besides ours), does it really need to be disavowed / removed if the site is related to us?

6) If a link to our site appears sitewide (such as in a blogroll) on a site that is related to us, should it really need to be disavowed / removed?

7) Is it ok to upload disavow files in stages? Or is it best to do it all in one shebang?

Thanks in advance. I hope we could keep this thread on topic, as opposed to bemoaning the state of the internet...

 

Planet13




msg:4588854
 1:58 am on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ phranque:

Again, I appreciate the fact that you are trying to help. I always appreciate your advice.

"once the link has been removed and the url containing the removed link has been recrawled, i'm not sure how a disavow could be beneficial."


Well, I am hoping (probably without merit) that disavowing those links might speed up the processing. In short, hoping that it might help google notice a little quicker that they have been removed.

Also, if those webmasters are anything at all like me, they have probably at some point in there lives overwirtten a new file with a backup.

So I include it in the disavow file just in case for some reason it reappears on their site.

The way I look at it is this:

Is there anything to lose by including a removed link in the disavow file?

Is there anything to gain by NOT including a removed link in the disavow file?

giggle




msg:4588878
 7:43 am on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sorry if this is a newbie question, but, how do I remove all links from, say, a directory?

http://www.directory.com/
http://www.directory.com/*.*

Thanks
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:05 am (utc) on Jun 30, 2013]
[edit reason] disabled autolink to make examples legible [/edit]

deeper




msg:4588888
 9:33 am on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Planet13:
With my suggestion I only refer to the recommendation of removing before disavowing in order to show your own work. Of course it is not bad to do it parallel and Google will realize the removals later, but if you intend to show your own work clearly and immediately it may be an idea to wait.

I guess Google not only realizes that the disavowed links are already gone, they also know that they were alive only some weeks before. This way you generate a clear signal of having done your job exactly as Google recommended it.

Btw, there is a good video of MC introducing the most important disavowing mistakes. I think MC released just two weeks ago.

phranque




msg:4588897
 10:21 am on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

how do I remove all links from, say, a directory?


http://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/2648487?hl=en [support.google.com]:
If you want Google to ignore all links from an entire domain (like example.com), add the line domain: example.com.

MikeNoLastName




msg:4588899
 10:30 am on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

Heh, we dropped from #2 to #9 this week on our top keyword. Checked G-WMT and discovered some unknown (supposedly around since 2000) very-spammy-looking auto-generated site linked that page, apparently site-wide, although I can't seem to find 95% of them, literally: 967,572 times. Are competitors able to hire these sites? How can I find out if that is the case? Also have 10's of thousands of unrequested links from A.O.L.stalk-er from the last 10 years showing on WMT. No warnings ever from GWMT. How do I decide if any of these are good or bad? Flip a coin? What a joke.

Robert Charlton




msg:4588900
 10:33 am on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

good video of MC introducing the most important disavowing mistakes

What are common mistakes you see from people using the "disavow links" tool?
Matt Cutts - GoogleWebmasterHelp·- Jun 10, 2013
trt 4:21

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CX5K741AlWg [youtube.com]

Also, take a look at this discussion...

Best practices for using the Google disavow tool, confirmed
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4542078.htm [webmasterworld.com]

"I would concentrate on the links reported in the Webmaster Tools on Google"
"Do not worry about damaging other people, that does not happen"
"Be aware of the site-wide disavow possibility, it will make your life easier" have been the key sentences in his reply. I am thankful for such a definite answer and thought I'd share it here.


Something that I think needs to be addressed more emphatically... when you remove links that have been discounted, you may not have enough remaining links to bring up your rankings to where they once were. The pressure to build these up artificially, IMO, will backfire, particularly because you will be under Google's special scrutiny.

Familiarize yourself with Historical Data patent...

Google's Historical Data Patent Gets an Update
Sep 18, 2008
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/3747164.htm [webmasterworld.com]

It's clear that Google is looking at more than anchor text. Rate of link acquisition, covered in the patent, is IMO one such factor that webmasters and SEOs may be ignoring as they rebuild their links. I'd take it slowly, and I would start by cleaning up the site and adding new content to motivate new links naturally.

.
Mod edit note: I've changed Best practices link above to the WebmasterWorld discussion of the sno.pe post noted above. Our discussion also includes link to the original article.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:23 pm (utc) on Jun 30, 2013]

Planet13




msg:4588957
 5:37 pm on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ MikeNoLastName

"Are competitors able to hire these sites? How can I find out if that is the case?"


If the links LOOK bad, I think you should ask to have them removed / disavow them, whether your competitors built them or not.

@ Robert Charlton:

thank you in particular for posting the link to the sno.pe page. It must be nice to be able to get someone from google to respond directly to your questions, as the author of that site was able to.

BTW: There is a graphic on that page that says:

"Find your polluted links: Combine WMT and LRT for best results."


do you know what "LRT" refers to?

deeper




msg:4588962
 6:07 pm on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Robert:
Yes, this is the video I meant....

You say "when you remove links that have been discounted, you may not have enough remaining links to bring up your rankings to where they once were".
But this is only true when discounted links still have any value, right? You are talking from links being discounted but still have a little bit of value and therefore a great number of them help ranking.

This means, links with a value of "0", discounted completely can be disavowed without any risk.

Backlinks from DMOZ clones, weak directories... do they have a value of 0 or 0,2 in a scale up to 10? Noone knows.

@Planet13:
Probably "Link Research Tools", a set of professional tools for backlink analysis.

Planet13




msg:4588968
 7:21 pm on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ deeper:

Thanks for the explanation. Will look into it.

GeraniumV




msg:4588969
 7:23 pm on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

LRT must refer to Link research tools, there is a link to if further down the page.

Robert Charlton




msg:4589034
 11:10 pm on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)

You say "when you remove links that have been discounted, you may not have enough remaining links to bring up your rankings to where they once were".

But this is only true when discounted links still have any value, right? You are talking from links being discounted but still have a little bit of value and therefore a great number of them help ranking.

deeper - If I understand you correctly, I think we're talking about different points of reference. When I said, "where they once were", I wasn't talking about before disavow... I was talking about where you were before a manual or algorithmic action. I'm also thinking that, at least in the manual action, there's probably a punitive component, as well as simply the withdrawal of link juice.

Your comment applies, I think, in decisions you'd need to make when deciding, eg, whether you should disavow a blog roll link (where there is a question of whether it will seen as spam or not). I think in such a situation you need to look carefully at the history of the link... whether, eg, you placed it as part of a campaign. How many other blog roll links do you have? And you also need to look at the quality of the linking site, and how likely it is that a competitor might have placed the link rather than that the site owner liked your site.

Your comment seems also to apply to situations where one might use the disavow tool to do "link pruning"... ongoing maintenance to remove links that might might ultimately shift your link profile into flag-raising territory. Again, something like a blog roll link is a good example. I think that non-blog sitewides are even more likely to raise a flag. In all situations, Google prefers removal to disavow.

seoskunk's list is a good place to start....

1. Sitewide Links
2. Directory Links
3. Signature and Profile Links
4. Comment Links
5. Link Exchange

Again, though, the quality of the links matters. If you have some profile links from some high quality forums in which you've been active, there's no reason to delete them. If you've posted a lot of fluff in many forums, Google probably views those profile links differently.

bluntforce




msg:4589106
 3:56 am on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ Robert

I disagree that seoskunk's list is a good place to start. Your statement that "the quality of the links matters" should be the "good place to start".

Quality is always in the eye of the beholder, if you are specifically looking at rankings in Google, then the focus should be "what does Google consider quality in this niche?".

While I personally think people shouldn't pay so much attention to what Google representatives say, most webmasters probably shouldn't be using the disavow tool. If you did some really outlandish things and got smacked, by all means, use it for a comeback.

If you are looking to move from page 2 to page 1, that's probably not going to be that thing.

MikeNoLastName




msg:4589117
 5:00 am on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

>"Are competitors able to hire these sites? How can I find out if that is the case?"

If the links LOOK bad, I think you should ask to have them removed / disavow them, whether your competitors built them or not.<

This is the 2nd or 3rd time I have seen this. A site pops up on the WMT links list, with at least 1/2 million links to 1 or more pages on your site, then by the time you get to look at them, they are no longer on the page, so it is impossible to ask the source with specifics to take them down, but they still show in WMT for weeks or more. I can't imagine it is coinicidence.

bluntforce




msg:4589142
 7:05 am on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@MikeNoLastName

if someone is pointing a half million links at your site then it's probable you're in a niche where that's "normal".

I don't believe there's any such thing as a link that "looks bad", there are links that don't have optimal value, a person needs to evaluate and research to determine a true value.

deeper




msg:4589151
 8:14 am on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@Robert:
Thanks for your thoughts.

You're right, in my case it is "link pruning". More than 80% of my backlinks come from weak directories, different kinds of directories.

The directories itsself are not really spammy (except some DMOZ-clones concerning one site), but they have no rankings and traffic, most of them since any panda or penguin update. My entries are all good, i.e. unique texts and providing good content, changing anchors.
BUT: this weak backlinks are more than 80% of my backlink profile, they are all from directories (one kind of source), have all "PR unranked", missing all relevance and trust, have all KW anchors --> penguin catched me for all important KWs.

My plan is to get rid of at least 50% of my directory links, the bad ones of course, keeping the "better" ones. As there are several sites and several important subpages, building new good links alone is not a way for me. I have to remove and disavow.

Planet13




msg:4589279
 4:20 pm on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

@ deeper:

"More than 80% of my backlinks come from weak directories, different kinds of directories."


How are you able to see / find those directories that link to you?

I am SURE there are about 20 to 30 weak directories that link to my site (I know because I built those links), but I can't find them any more; they aren't listed in google wmt, nor in hrefs, nor in open site explorer, nor in majestic, nor in bing wmt.

Those sites might not be around anymore, but usually you can find a list of those links in at least one of the backlink tools.

I have tried doing a google search for things like +"directory" +"mydomainname.com" and still can't find them.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

deeper




msg:4589300
 5:54 pm on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have a big list with all entries in all directories I have ever made. I recorded every detail, anchor, category... you know... german thoroughness.

Without such a list you have already done what you can do IMHO. Have you searched for unique sentences or anchors?

I guess your listings have been removed or the whole directory is "gone". I checked my entries after 3 years and about 50% of them were gone, in almost all cases the webmaster closed his directory. Sometimes the content has completely changed, but usually I saw "domain for sale".

The weaker and smaller the directories are, the more probably they disappear within few years. Panda and penguin speeded this process up... they get no traffic any more from Google... so close it.

Planet13




msg:4589323
 6:52 pm on Jul 1, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thank you, deeper.

Planet13




msg:4590320
 4:36 pm on Jul 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

One thing to add on is that apparently the disavow tool "changes" in google's mind a follow link to a nofollow link. So as per John Mueller there is no need to disavow nofollow links.

However, if you have a bad nofollow link and you think that possibly the forum / comment software might change that link into a do follow link in the future, then it might not be a bad idea to add to the disavow file?

Whitey




msg:4593794
 6:02 am on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

This is a few days back, but thought folks might want to reflect on the video. Matt Cutts says that Google will be working to make bad links more transparent. There is a note elsewhere that examples will be pushed through WMT at some not to distant time into the future :

Published on Jul 15, 2013

Client got unnatural links warning in Sept'12 without any example links, 90% links removed, asked for examples in every RR but no reply, shouldnt it be better to have live/cached "list" of bad links or penalties in GWT? Think about genuine businesses.
Adeel, Manchester, UK
[youtube.com...]

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