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Google Launches a Disavow Links Tool

     
9:33 pm on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Apparently, Google has quietly announced a backlink disavow tool. Read about it here: [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...] [youtube.com...] .

Matt Cutts was on hand at Pubcon to issue the annual State of the Index address, sharing insight on what Google’s done this year, what webmasters should know, and, this time, to also announce a new tool for webmasters. Look alive!

[pubcon.com...]
2:25 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Well, maybe I can be the first to post something like this. Just went to upload a disavow.txt file because of a particular site that was linking to me some 80+ times... fake index page and then pages of links through a directory type footer link entrance.

Oddly enough ALL of the directory type spam pages with links have disappeared off the server. I kid you not they were live this afternoon. Hahaha

On a side note... when you submit a disavow.txt file you select for which domain in your WMT account. Well, from what we already know if you want to verify your www.example.com you also need to verify example.com... is it safe to say the text file applies to both? Again, technically www and non-www are different.

Hopefully G rewrites the example or is more specific in the future so we can all be sure how this system works...

Is example.com/example/ excluding just the index or the whole directory? Clarification on some 'little' things is needed.
4:07 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@Lucy24

Go to the reconsideration request page.
Click Check Disavowed Links.
Click Disavow links.
Click Choose file.
Select the file you want to upload, and click Submit.

I didn't try it, that's from their help files.
5:26 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Any time limit to remove bad links?
What about limit of request submissions?
6:16 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Really interesting links (for Google spam team) are those that are not going to be disavowed :)
6:48 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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While it's all good and dandy that they provided this tool, the more ethical thing would have been if they had released this tool before they started penalizing sites.
7:04 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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More disavowed links reported = Deranking of that domain.

Good sourcing for google to know bad sites.
7:07 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This is a really useful tool, thanks Google.

Indeed, but I think it wise to apply extreme caution while it settles in and experiences are compared.
8:23 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The Q&A addresses Neg SEO:
Q: Can this tool be used if I'm worried about "negative SEO"?

[Reiteration of tools primary purpose]

In general, Google works hard to prevent other webmasters from being able to harm your ranking. However, if you're worried that some backlinks might be affecting your site's reputation, you can use the Disavow Links tool to indicate to Google that those links should be ignored. Again, we build our algorithms with an eye to preventing negative SEO, so the vast majority of webmasters don't need to worry about negative SEO at all.


I think the main thrust of the blog post is "Don't think you can kid us that your manipulative practices are negative SEO. Everyone says that, and the numbers just don't back that up"

And yes, of course Google will use the data. If it were me, and a domain (or subdomain, or pagegroup) was frequently disavowed, I would take that as a strong hint that I should be investigating that entity as a link seller. And if several entities were frequently cited together, I would investigate a link scheme or hidden ownership structures etc.

Finally, I would be using the data from the flagged sites (the submitters) and combine it with the files to refine my "spam" (or potentially "negative SEO") footprint profile.
8:24 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebIndia123, Google already knows who the bad ones are. Remember, they sent out a notice about "link spam" months ago?
8:42 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I don't know where to start. I thought I had got rid of all the bad links a while ago. The only ones I could not get that I would like to be rid of are article sites with the same article on them all plus where that article has been copied and my link left in place.

Is this the reason no one has recovered, waiting for google to finish this tool? To see what we disavow in panic as we have not recovered from Penguin? Are google playing more games? I have already removed naturally placed links that I "think" google might not like! Where does this end?
8:47 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@aakk9999 @mihomes

Yep thats what we thought usefull source of data on percived low quality sites for the alogo guys.
9:44 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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So , how likely is it, that you blokes will link out naturally, now that the object of your admiration might take umbrage sometime now or in the future?
9:44 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I will just say this, dont use that tool at all, they must be able to ignore bad links, so do what you are best at, creating websites.
9:54 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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dont use that tool at all


Like everyone did with g+ you mean :-D
10:13 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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listen to the youtube video of Matt and then think,then you know what I mean.
11:08 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have 1,000 links that I want to "disavow" on a domain.

I manually contacted every single one of these websites 3 times in total, the final time included a threat of legal action (idle threat), but had the best response. I managed to get around 300 removed. It was an horrific amount of work.

I kept a list and marked those who removed.

If I submit the list of domains who didn't get back to me, what happens if one of those sites had already removed the link? I'm guessing Google can just ignore it then?

These links were easy to find, because they all shared 1 of 4 anchor texts and were from completely unrelated domains.

Do we just submit a text file with 1 link per line or what?
11:10 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I will just say this, dont use that tool at all, they must be able to ignore bad links, so do what you are best at, creating websites.


Yes, true but they clearly are not. If you've done what you're good at, created websites and some opportunist moron builds 1,000 spammy links and loses you 40,0000 daily visitors, do you propose we just ignore the fact and continue as though nothing has happened?
11:16 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Well im in the same boat, also had 40.000 unique visits a day, now 1000 and 30 from google, but i will still not touch it,be cause i have not done anything wrong.

Real- yes a text file with each page/domain per line
11:45 am on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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nethead, yep to some extent but now they can become more resourceful
12:44 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have always had a strange feeling about this thing but could not figure out what it is, then it occurred to me. It's like Google is the prison warden; the warden gives each prisoner a post-it note and ask them to rat out their inmates. Eventually, everyone goes down.
12:45 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Zeus, I understand your thinking and that's exactly how I felt regarding the manual work. I felt as the website in question hadn't placed the links, why should they have to pay me to remove them. I found it extremely uncomfortable.

However, with this tool, I feel Google are at least offering some assistance. I just hope they use it for good and not evil!

If submitting to this was seen as some kind of admittal of doing wrong, and then went against you, that would be beyond shady.
12:49 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Well im in the same boat, also had 40.000 unique visits a day, now 1000 and 30 from google, but i will still not touch it,be cause i have not done anything wrong.


Couldn't agree more, zeus.

In addition, I just don't have the time required to weed out literally hundreds of thousands of links. Looking at the latest links reports in WMT - I get well over 1000 links monthly from scrapers alone, it's just dumb to believe I could deal with it.

This tool at best smells like a placebo to me.

[edited by: atlrus at 12:50 pm (utc) on Oct 17, 2012]

12:49 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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If submitting to this was seen as some kind of admittal of doing wrong, and then went against you, that would be beyond shady.


I agree. But how much worse CAN it get? Will they come and kill my dog as well? I have no traffic left to take.
12:56 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I agree. But how much worse CAN it get? Will they come and kill my dog as well? I have no traffic left to take.


It's been nearly 6 months since Penguin. You could've rebuilt and rank already with a new website. Google is just leading you along with such tools.

I am sure there will be a few "success cases" presented to the general public, but I don't see this tool doing a bit of good. You just have to realize it's time to cut your losses and start anew.

Of course, you could always BELIEVE and waste another 6 months hoping this tool would work for you...

[edited by: atlrus at 12:57 pm (utc) on Oct 17, 2012]

12:57 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Just went to watch that video again. Is it just me, or did Cutts display more eye signs of "i am lying", or "what I am telling you is just one side of the story"? Probably it is just me.
1:01 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I just don't understand why these huge "scrapper sites" are not just manually removed from the index forever.

A quick thought: Panda - Penguin - Chameleon maybe? = PPC
1:06 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have always had a strange feeling about this thing but could not figure out what it is, then it occurred to me. It's like Google is the prison warden; the warden gives each prisoner a post-it note and ask them to rat out their inmates. Eventually, everyone goes down.


This seems to me to be the most plausible purpose of this new "tool", but I'm really interested to hear the ideas people have as this thread grows. If links are an important part of Google's search algo, why would the Search Quality Team, excuse me, why would the Knowledge Team really give the "power user" Webmasters any more control over them?
1:11 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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guys, could you please post a format of the URLS for disavow.txt

like, if I want to block whole domains linking to me
1:18 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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@ Jessica, I think you just put the whole domain in. If you mention actual pages it will just block that. As far as I know.
1:44 pm on Oct 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I submitted overall 700 URLs to be removed on one of our sites. Mostly directories and .ru and ro domains...I will keep you posted if things get better or worse.
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