Robert_Charlton - 7:14 am on Apr 19, 2013 (gmt 0)
...there was another thread here from a current Google employee interview in EU (I think) that said it does not even harm the site being disavowed.)
This is that thread, which I posted about two months ago, reporting an interview which Senior Member pontifex conducted with a Google employee in the EU about the use of the tool....
Best practices for using the Google disavow tool, confirmed
Feb 3, 2013
Summary of the answers from Google that pontifex reported....
"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.
I think the discussion is essential reading for anyone considering using the tool. While it should allay some of "the FUD in the SEO community" cited above, I think that there are some in the community who really should be careful about using the tool, because they basically don't know what they're doing. They may have built links not knowing whether the links they were getting were good links or bad links, and now they're afraid of removing them for pretty much the same reason.
They may believe they've been hit by negative SEO, because they know so little about their own site and link quality that "negative SEO" is the easiest alternative for them to accept. I think that combating assumed negative SEO if you don't have a strong SEO background is a dangerous use of the tool.
And there are some... either overwhelmed by the task, or else afraid of revealing their own private networks... who throw in the towel and want to wipe the slate clean by disavowing everything, which thus far Google apparently hasn't been willing to do. Among other things, Google doesn't want to allow people to completely shoot themselves in the foot... and I don't think that Google wants to allow people to evade their own actions either. Here's a discussion where I don't feel we have full diagnosis or disclosure, sad in either case....
My Google Disavow Story
Nov 13, 2012
I still feel, as I mentioned in the discussion, that Google does want to extract some information... though I'm now thinking less for discovery and more to confirm its own data. If the tool itself could be used to "damage other people", it would be a negative SEO tool by itself. What pontifex reports in his interview makes sense... Google doesn't want to allow the tool to be used that way.
I also think, in the case of Penguin manual actions/penalties, that there is a punishment aspect to this, and that Google does want the process to require some sweat, along with some self-awareness and thorough analysis.