|After Disavowing Bad Links, What to expect|
| 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.
| 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?
| 11:16 pm on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)|
Hi there, alexandermcgee:
|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.
| 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.
| 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?
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.
| 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...]
| 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.
| 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?
| 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.
| 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.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 11:48 am (utc) on Aug 19, 2013]
[edit reason] fixed link [/edit]
| 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.
| 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.
| 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?
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.