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After Disavowing Bad Links, What to expect
alexandermcgee



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 7:58 pm on Aug 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

My site had horrible, awful, terrible links, going back over 10 years. Back then our Webmaster believed in purchasing links, because it worked, and those 100,000 links are still being considered by Google which tanked us on this new algorithm update. Thus, we went from #3 in rankings to #100+.

I went through the disavow process for all of those bad links, my staff worked on it for days. Most of these links were on sites that are now malware, or defunct. I had zero luck getting the links removed, so I went ahead with the disavow. Note -- I kept the real links, the proper ones, the good ones, and just disavowed the disasters.

Before the disavow, we had gotten back up to #52, which is still a disaster. I submitted the disavow sheet on Thursday or so last week, and now we are complete gone for our main keyword.

Is this typical after you do the disavow? I'm thinking (hoping) Google is re-reviewing our links, and we are just bouncing, and will come back where we belong.

Have any of you used the disavow tool? What kind of luck did you have? Could this fall just be because they are reviewing us? Thanks.

 

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 10:18 pm on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi alexandermcgee, I think that the lack of response to your question means that members are unsure what really to expect once links have been disavowed.

You said that after resubmitting disavow file (now about 10 days ago) your site has completely gone for your main keyword. Is this still the case or has the keyword bounced back?

What about your traffic and ranking for non-primary keywords, any changes from the period before you submitted the disavow file?

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 11:16 pm on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi there, alexandermcgee:

You said:

I submitted the disavow sheet on Thursday or so last week, and now we are complete gone for our main keyword.


From what I understand, the disavow tool would take weeks or, more likely, months to have ANY effect on your site either good OR bad - especially if the links were from low quality sites.

Yes, the disavow tool is "automatic" but it takes a long time for those disavowed links to be integrated back into the algorithim.

~~~~

There IS the possibility that you disavowed a link that WAS giving you a lot of page rank, and that google crawls and indexes frequently, and that MIGHT hurt you quickly. But that would have to be from a site that google LOVES, like a MAJOR newspaper or something. It would have to be the type of site where they publish something and 15 minutes later it is indexed in google

~~~~

have you double checked to make sure that you don't also have a manual penalty in addition to your Penguin hit.

Hoople

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 11:21 pm on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

have you double checked to make sure that you don't also have a manual penalty in addition to your Penguin hit.

Look for any messages from Google in Webmaster Tools. Refer to recent treads here on WW about them as they updated what info they are now sharing with webmasters.

Whitey

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



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 1:04 am on Aug 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Q: How long will it take sites to see any potential improvement? It seems like potentially months.

IE, say you upload a file. It takes several weeks for that to be read. Then you might wait several weeks for the next Penguin Update, until the change would be reflected, right?

Or when you say multiple weeks, do you mean that really, the file might get read right away, but the changes might not be reflected until some Penguin or other update can act on those changes?

Answer:

It can definitely take some time, and potentially months. There’s a time delay for data to be baked into the index. Then there can also be the time delay after that for data to be refreshed in various algorithms. [searchengineland.com...]


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.
Matt Cutts May 13, 2013 [mattcutts.com...]

Since last year, around Nov 2012, Matt Cutts has changed his communication from "apply extreme caution" to the current, use the disavow tool like a machete .

One thing is for sure. If you hack into good links, or links Google still considers good, but you consider suspect, the consequence can be that your rankings will suffer.

If, and it's a big "if" you come out the other end of this when the next Penguin refresh occurs you may be lucky enough to see some major improves. Google could do more to reassure folks with some evidence.

Folks, who do this properly could be spending years pruning their links, before they get it right. And frankly that effort could be better spent improving sites UI/content which is what Google really wants.

I don't personally think Google has the balance right between administering penalties, tidying up the web and remedial steps expected of site-owners. If investment in site improvements was working we would hear much more positive news from site owners and/or see it in the SERP's. The G plan's way too aggressive, IMO.

@alexandermcgee - I'd say what you are experiencing is to be expected, and you had no choice but to apply surgery ( let's hopes it enough ), but in the absence of a plethora/evidence of feedback to reassure you, I think you are on the right course. It's a bit of a Christopher Columbus voyage. The theory, talk, preparation and intent is strong .... just keep sailing until you hit land.

aakk9999

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 5:03 am on Aug 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

There is also a fairly recent thread where members are discussing whether disavow tool has worked for them or not, it may be worth looking at: [webmasterworld.com...]

turbocharged



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 2:00 pm on Aug 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Very few people have "recovered" using the disavow tool. Instead, many have dropped further in ranks and stayed there. If this is what you define as a recovery, dropping off the charts may be where you site should rank when the spam/paid links are no longer counted by Google.

notsosmart

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 2:54 pm on Aug 18, 2013 (gmt 0)

Piggybacking on this thread.

Does anyone know: if you submit a disavow list of links/domains, and then you go back to add more bad links, should you just add to the same list, or create a new one? As in, does google "remember" your previously disavowed links, or do you have to keep them on your list, ad infinitum?

Also, once you disavow links, will they disappear from the WMT "sites linking to you" list, or do they stay there?

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 1:00 am on Aug 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

"Also, once you disavow links, will they disappear from the WMT "sites linking to you" list, or do they stay there?"


I believe they stay there.

John Mueller explained the disavow process as similar to adding a nofollow to the link.

Since nofollow links are listed in the WMT links page, I don't see why disavowed links wouldn't be listed.

But I have been known to be wrong before.

"As in, does google "remember" your previously disavowed links, or do you have to keep them on your list, ad infinitum?"


From what I understand, google looks at the current state of the disavow file when "baking the data into the algorithims" so yes, you would have to keep the original disavow file and just add to it.

Jez123

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 10:06 am on Aug 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm quoting this from Bones in the "Did the Disavow tool work for you" thread. I think it's about right.

If I understand the way it works correctly, there will be no recovery stories yet, as far as Penguin 2 goes at least as the algo hasn't been re-run.

1. Remove as many links as possible, disavow remaining links.
2. Wait for those pages to be re-crawled.
3. Possibly see a further drop in rankings as links are taken out of the 'link graph'.
4. Wait for the Penguin algo to be re-run.
5. Penalty lifted/not lifted if site is deemed to have a clean enough profile.
6. Even if lifted, site probably won't recover to previous rankings as no longer benefitting from removed/disavowed links.


[webmasterworld.com...]
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:48 am (utc) on Aug 19, 2013]
[edit reason] fixed link [/edit]

ColourOfSpring



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 10:14 am on Aug 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

I disavowed lots of domains linking in - arabaic / chinese character set domains, lots of others I had no idea WHY they were linking to my site (if you don't know WHY, then it's strange why they have a non-contextual link in a list of links....no "recommended sites", just a link) - I disavowed each domain, not just the page. There was a handful (7 or 8) I'd built myself and I simply removed them as I had hosting access. I explained this in my disavow text file.

I spent around 8 hours going through the GWT spreadsheet. A lot of inbound links were on pages that contained viruses (my anti-virus told me this), goodness knows if I caught a virus or not on the pages that had viruses my anti-virus didn't detect. Very bad.

Google emailed me back saying I still have unnatural links pointing to my site. They didn't give me examples.

So I've given up - I'm not spending more time on this.

What to expect? Expect nothing to be honest - and hope for the best.

smithaa02

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 2:04 pm on Aug 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

In my case, I've done three batches of disavows. Roughly speaking it takes about 10 days for this to kick in IMO. I got slight upward bumps after those time periods. I can't say that definitively though because google is constantly changing so correlation might not be causation.

But overall I have not returned to my previous ranking and have done a LOT of work manually removing links and accurately disavowing the ones I can't scrub.

If there is a success story for link scrubbing and algo penalties (NOT manual penalties...those are relatively easy in comparison), then I would love to see it.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 3:39 pm on Aug 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

No one at google reads the comments in the disavow file.

Also, it is a good idea to download backlinks from multiple sources, not JUST GWT, then compile them in your spreadsheet.

~~~~

On another note, where has the original poster gone?

notsosmart

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 4:31 pm on Aug 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yea, I don't believe for a second that there is anyone at GOOG that actually reads through the comments in the disavow docs. They just get read by THE MACHINE and treated with about as much consideration as the other ten trillion messages that google receives every day from disgruntled webmasters.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 7:13 pm on Aug 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

John Mueller has said that the comments are JUST for the website owner ONLY to make reminders to themselves. So nobody at google is going to read them.

If you want to make comments for an analyst to read, put them in the reconsideration file.

crobb305

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 8:15 pm on Aug 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

We uploaded our first Disavow list (over 1500 domains) in February 2013 (6 months ago). We submitted a reconsideration request (because there WAS a manual penalty that I knew about). Manual penalty revoked one week later, in early March. Until last week, all of those backlinks still showed on a link: search. Now, most of those links are gone, but a handful remain. When I log in to GWT, ALL of the links still appear. So, it took 6 months to see a reduction in links showing for the link: operator and still no reduction (actually an increase) in GWT. No change in rankings whatsoever. We get MAYBE 15 visitors a day from Google. So, if you eventually see beneficial ranking changes, it could take many, many months. We've even had a Penguin refresh since my disavow list was first submitted. Nothing came of it.

Our site has been bombarded with spammy links over the past two years (presumably negative SEO since I am in a very competitive niche), and the influx of backlinks from those (and new) sources continues. I have to routinely update the disavow list to add new domains. For instance, in the past two weeks, a new domain is pointing 2,000 spammy links to our site. It's a sad state of affairs to say the least. Long story short, you will be waiting a very long time.

Whitey

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



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 6:00 am on Dec 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts recently released this video : [youtube.com...] in which he talks about instances of removing all links , some links and also going in more steadily.

He communicates instances where site's purchased after being "burned to a crisp" with spam, where disavow filing of a total removal of all links might be justified. However, the main thrust of his communication seems still to err somewhere in the middle - and warning folks to be cautious. I presume that's still machete territory where actions are reasonably emphatic.

It's been a while since this thread was active and I'm wondering if there is any alteration in folks expectancy. Anyone got anything new to share on progress or are you just sitting and waiting?

dethfire

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 5:35 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

I submitted a disavow list of 500 domains two months ago and nothing has changed on my end.

notsosmart

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 7:18 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

I'm in the middle of a monumental task of sifting through thousands of links for 5 separate domains.

I submitted preliminary disavow files on December 1st. Alas, thus far, no improvement in any measurable manner.

Planet13

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 8:21 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Back to Whitey's post about the video.

I think it is important to remember that matt Cutts is referring to a manual penalty in that video (although he says it isn't specifically linked to that one company he mentioned in the video), as opposed to Panda.

I bring this up because it is important to keep our lengths of time relatively straight. Assuming that the company he referred to in the video actually did recover in only 11 days, then it would seem to imply that manual penalties can be removed rather quickly when using the disavow tool.

@ notsosmart

"I submitted preliminary disavow files on December 1st. Alas, thus far, no improvement in any measurable manner. "


Do you have a manual penalty or a penguin demotion?

And is your content significantly better than your REAL links? If so, maybe it is time to just move the sites to new domain names and start over?

notsosmart

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 8:57 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hi Planet13, no manual penalty as far as I can ascertain (certainly no messages about it), and the drops in traffic all happened to coincide with known Panda/Penguin/Koala/Cockroach updates.

I actually did 301 one of the domains to a brand new one, disavowed 95% of links, and tried to make it a go with the new domain. Traffic dropped.

The other ones, I have seen no change whatsoever in traffic for any of the remaining domains. (So at least they didn't lose traffic, not that it matters, since they now get tens of uniques per day.

I may yet try to pay for a service that promises to accelerate the disavow process by "forcing" google to re-spider all the disavowed links, but am still investigating that. In fact, if anyone has experience with these types of services (I know of one, but won't mention it in name) do let me know in the thread.

Mod's note: Per forum Charter, specific company names not allowed.
.

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 10:40 pm (utc) on Jan 10, 2014]

simonmc

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 9:15 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

@notsosmart

I actually did 301 one of the domains to a brand new one, disavowed 95% of links, and tried to make it a go with the new domain. Traffic dropped.


If you 301 a bad domain to a new domain, any bad ink juice will follow on to the new domain.

You need to move the content to the new domain and have no association at all via links or 301´s to the old domain.

notsosmart

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 9:42 pm on Jan 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

simonmc yea, unfortunately you're right, but it's a "damned if you do/damned if you don't" situation. I had a few very decent links going to that domain, edu and newspaper sites for example.

If I just start over with a new domain, it's basically a new site, and I will be buried in google forever, as it seems like no new sites in my competitive financial niche can ever make it to the top over the brands.

np2003

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 1:26 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Very few people have "recovered" using the disavow tool. Instead, many have dropped further in ranks and stayed there. If this is what you define as a recovery, dropping off the charts may be where you site should rank when the spam/paid links are no longer counted by Google.


I've found this to be true as well.
Site penalized. Disavowed a bunch of domains, opened a reinclusion request. Google revoked the penalty. Site doesnt recover 2 months going on.

Disavowing is a con. Google is playing with webmasters. The fastest way would be just to start a new website and build links for it. People are wasting too much time fixing their current website and after the penalty is removed, they will spend equal amount of time building new links.

notsosmart

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 6:26 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

What would be the point "conning" webmasters?

While I do agree that GOOG's and webmasters' interests are fundamentally different, they are not so actively competing with each other that GOOG would wish to cut off traffic to everyone but preferred brands (maybe I am being naive).

With the new "in-depth" articles in the SERPS, and all the various ways that Google tries to keep visitors to click on its own links (and therefore also ads), they are already doing plenty to undermine smaller sites. Would they really go as far as building an entire way for webmasters to spin their wheels and waste time on a disavow process is designed to not work?

That is paranoid. But I could be convinced. I am no longer believing that GOOG intends to "Do no evil".

itsjustme2



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 7:19 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Very few people have "recovered" using the disavow tool. Instead, many have dropped further in ranks and stayed there. If this is what you define as a recovery, dropping off the charts may be where you site should rank when the spam/paid links are no longer counted by Google.


There's some logic to that statement. It's more than reasonable to expect that more than a handful of webmasters artificaly boosted their rankings with 80%-90% low quality links.

However, left unsaid is how that characterisation conflates the link building strategies of many different sites.

My site, for example, a twelve year old domain, with twelve years of natural links (thousands), gets overrun by scrappers (the lyrics scrappers, open directory etc.) and gets tanked.

Removing those 80%-90% of bad links, should in theory, return my site to the previous rankings when only the natural built links, over a twelve year period get applied to the algo.

Now it's true that some of those natural links over a twelve year period could be devalued or degraded, and more research into their quality would be necessary.

However, the odds of all the thousands of natural links being degraded appears to be very small, so those natural links, at a minimum contain what, 50%, 70% of their original juice?

Therefore, if the link disavow tool works for non-manual penalty, Penguin hit sites, AND those non-manual penguin hit sites have a long history of natural link building, AND those non-manual penguin hit sites removed or disavowed the scrapper links, open directory clones, then why no recovery in either long-tail searches or in keyword searches.

This is only to point out that the disavow tool appears not to be working for any of the different types of sites using it...the quick links builders and the slow, over a decades worth of links.

Getting a new domain and waiting another twelve years to acquire thousands of natural links sounds unappealing.

P.s. In this instance, Keynes' refutation of say's law in his General Theory (supply creates its own demand) appears to be correct. If you build it, people don't necessarily visit, even with a 12 year old domain with thousands of natural links built one at a time.

notsosmart

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 8:01 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I like the "decades" bit. You and I are in the same boat.

And it pisses me off.

I've spent my entire working career doing SEO in some form or another. I have always behave ethically, espousing the white hat approach on all projects.

And now, the masters of the universe have changed the rules, and made me feel like I was "black hat" all along. I don't care for this characterization, and am no longer a friend to google, as I was 12 years ago when Adwords first rolled out and they sent me gifts for being such a good early customer, because they needed the goodwill of webmasters to fight the Yahoos and MSNs of the world.

Now, they can go to heck.

itsjustme2



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 8:13 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I like the "decades" bit. You and I are in the same boat.


perhaps so, count me as gobsmacked for being unable to read a dumb algo (it's just numbers on paper) after fifteen years of practice.

still, the topic is the disavow tool...

I'm leaning to the rational conclusion that its utility to, among others, penguin sites, with instances of non-manual penalty drops being very low, otherwise someone would have said otherwise over the last year....

Outside the streets on fire in a real death waltz
Between flesh and what's fantasy and the poets down here
Don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be
And in the quick of the night they reach for their moment
And try to make an honest stand but they wind up wounded, not even dead
Tonight in jungleland


sorry for your loss

dethfire

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 11:14 pm on Jan 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I am in the same boat. 13 year old domain with thousands of good natural links. Unfortunately over the past 3-4 year spammers have decimated my link profile. And only within the past year have I been battling back.

Subhash Prajapati



 
Msg#: 4601362 posted 3:46 pm on Jan 14, 2014 (gmt 0)

<moved from another location>

After submitting disavow file, typically how long does it take to recover? and after submitting disavow file need to mail for reconsideration.
.

[edited by: aakk9999 at 5:20 pm (utc) on Jan 14, 2014]

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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