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Google Launches a Disavow Links Tool

     

Regent

9:33 pm on Oct 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



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...]

supercyberbob

3:53 am on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Not touching this tool with my ten foot pole.

If they can't get their super machine learning algo working right, maybe fix it instead of turning it into a giant mess.

What's next, a down vote button in the serps? Right next to the +. Yup, turn it into digg, that turned out well.

diberry

6:22 am on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



If you didn't get one of those little warning gems in your WMT account and your rankings are "steady as she goes" - then I would not tinker around.


Well, I didn't get a warning message AND I got the email that said I had "no manual spam action" and yet Penguin hit me so hard that I only get about 20+ visitors a day from Google.

But I didn't build any links to that site at all, and I can't see anything in my profile that looks worse than updowner (which I'm confident Google just ignores - we could never get ourselves out of all those junk sites). Whatever offended Penguin has to be on-site in my case. If I use this tool, I'll probably only make things worse - like so many Penguin-hit sites that got rid of lots of backlinks and saw no recovery at all.

While this tool sounds good in theory, I think pretty much *anything* Google offers is going to get used as a weapon by webmasters. If Google's okay with the SERPs being dictated by witch hunts, good for them. I'm so done with it. I'm about a hair away from blocking the Google bot, since it wouldn't impact my traffic anyway.

arikgub

8:25 am on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Not touching this tool with my ten foot pole.


The sites that were hit really hard by Penguin have nothing to lose by using it. It will be used massively.

realmaverick

1:14 pm on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



That's my feeling. I'd not use this tool, unless on a Penguin hit site. It would be stupid to tinker with a website that wasn't hit.

Jez123

1:17 pm on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



It's tricky. Where the hell do you stop?

BBonanza

2:43 pm on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Don't do it folks. They should sort out their own search algorithm.
Google have become a paranoid mess.

diberry

4:22 pm on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



^ This.

Paranoid or not, I think they're going about things the wrong way. It's not entirely their fault - once they became so dominant just because they were good, the SEO, much of which was spammy and hurt the rest of us, was inevitable. But their responses over the years have only made things worse.

seoskunk

8:01 pm on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I've used it but am doubtful if it will actually work. One thing that occurred to me though was this actually could be better than removing links. If a competitor examines your backlink profile they won't know which links you've disavowed.

In fact I can see people booby trapping their backlink profile. It would be quite a neat trick!

kidder

10:40 pm on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Yep when I start to see the reports of comebacks due to use of said tool it might be worth taking a look at... might.. When the grim reaper shows up at your door and hands you a gun what do you think he wants you to do with it?

xcoder

11:51 pm on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)



Google have become a paranoid mess.


+1

What used to be a great search engine is slowly but surly turning into a sorry a..se pile of bad karma. They are simply shooting themselves in the legs, yet again.

Maybe it's about time they start a major clean up of their own messed up spam department and kick out its head...he is failing miserably...because you can hardly find anything useful on google nowadays, except for spam.

arikgub

11:40 am on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



In fact I can see people booby trapping their backlink profile.


If the tool works like they say it does, then you can play a whole lot more tricks than it has ever been possible before. Why not buying tons of spammy links and then if damaged, disavowing them group-by-group to see what links are causing the problem? Why not buying a ton of links and disavow them, just to bury a few useful links that you have in a huge pile of junk to mislead the competition? And if you can buy links and disavow them after that, but wouldn't Google just ignore them in the first place?

All this doesn't make sense to me. I am not even sure that there is any substance in all this. Probably just FUD by Google. They've been making so much noise lately, and yet the SERPs just becoming worse and worse. Add to this their failure in social media. The best Google's years are behind them ...

Jez123

12:27 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I can see it making negative SEO easier. Lets just say if my site returns after disavowing the links then surely it's easy to add my competitors site to those links I just disavowed. I would know that they were toxic as they had brought my site down, wouldn't I?

I cannot see this doing anything at all. Why would google give us this insight into what they deem to be good, bad or indifferent links? I can't see google being as stupid as this. They may see us as being that stupid though.

klark0

1:20 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)



^ Not every site is the same. The same links pointed at two different sites can have completely different results. One may tank, the other may go on as if nothing happened.

aristotle

1:48 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm convinced that my two penguinzed sites were hit because of listings in free directories that I submitted to in 2006 and 2007. That's the only kind of link-building I've ever done. Now, in going through the current lists of these directories in Webmaster Tools, I'm finding that nearly all of them have converted to paid directories, some charging submission fees as high as $25. All of them were free when I originally submitted. Most of those that didn't convert to pay directories have apparently disappeared. In any case, these are un-natural backlinks, and I'm going to disavow them and see if it has any effect.

Splugged

1:52 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)



@aristotle

Thinking the same... free directories, same period.

Jez123

2:53 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



On the plus side, I am tempted to disavow some links that the webmaster refused to remove without me paying him. I refused and they are still there. If this gets his domain flagged as spammy then it serves him right. I own 2 directories and have removed links immediately on request.

jimbeetle

3:48 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Keep in mind that Matt Cutts said that links should only be disavowed if you received an unnatural links notice.

Then, remember that followup is needed in the form of a detailed reconsideration request. Check the procedure [davidnaylor.co.uk] David Naylor's shop took when they beta tested the tool.

Jez123

3:56 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member




Keep in mind that Matt Cutts said that links should only be disavowed if you received an unnatural links notice.


He didn't just say that. He mentioned Penguin as well. Not all Penguin affected sites got a notice. Also, google said don't bother to submit a reconsideration if your site is hit with Penguin as it is not a manual action.

As usual it's confusing at best. I have submitted anyway even though I have no manual penalty or spam links notice. Nothing to lose.

jimbeetle

4:55 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



In the video Matt very much implied that folks who did not receive an unnatural links notice would not need to use the tool. Also, the first paragraph of the webmaster central blog post:

Today we’re introducing a tool that enables you to disavow links to your site. If you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on “unnatural links” pointing to your site, this tool can help you address the issue. If you haven’t gotten this notification, this tool generally isn’t something you need to worry about.

And in the video Matt did not mention Penguin. But, of course, in the blog post they state:

If your site was affected by the Penguin algorithm update and you believe it might be because you built spammy or low-quality links to your site, you may want to look at your site's backlinks and disavow links that are the result of link schemes that violate Google's guidelines.

So I guess it comes down to 1) you received an unnatural links notice, or 2) you know you built spammy links, were hit by Penguin and your ranking tanked. (Google being Google and muddying the waters just enough to cause confusion.)

The one necessary step I left out in the post above is that from what Matt said in the video and the sample disavow file in the blog post is that Google wants to see an effort to remove spammy links *before* a disavow file is submitted.

klark0

5:04 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)



@jim, the FAQ in the official blog post also mentions that you can use the tool to help fix Penguin issues with links that you are unable to remove. Maybe Cutts, just forgot to mention that.

klark0

5:41 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)



More info from that disavow tool beta tester:
[davidnaylor.co.uk...]

From his metrics graph, you can see the site was hit hardest from the unnatural links notice, then it got a further push down from what looks like the May Penguin refresh.

jimbeetle

10:45 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



@jim, the FAQ in the official blog post also mentions that you can use the tool to help fix Penguin issues with links that you are unable to remove. Maybe Cutts, just forgot to mention that.

That's what I quoted above.

crobb305

10:59 pm on Oct 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



More info from that disavow tool beta tester:
[davidnaylor.co.uk...]

From his metrics graph, you can see the site was hit hardest from the unnatural links notice, then it got a further push down from what looks like the May Penguin refresh.


Maybe recent Penguin data refresh was performed only to account for beta testers prior to the tool launch (hence the extremely small fraction of affected queries)?

Tami

12:54 am on Oct 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



On the page Webmaster Tools>Help home>Health>Disavow links page:
[support.google.com ]

These are the instructions:

Download links to your site
On the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site you want.
On the Dashboard, click Traffic, and then click Links to Your Site.
Click Download.

I cannot find the "Download" link as stated.

Is it just me?

klark0

1:42 am on Oct 20, 2012 (gmt 0)



@Tami, look for a "more" link on the "Links to your Site" page. After that, you'll see the download buttons.

zarathustra2011

8:10 am on Oct 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



I've never received a notice from Google, and I've never paid for a link, but I did a search of backlinks, and included were one or two adult sites, a few that contained malware, and some poorly rated scraper sites. Even though it shouldn't be my job to clear this up, and may make no difference whatsoever, I have added them to my disavow list.

Tami

11:45 am on Oct 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



klark0,
Thanks, I was hoping that there was a Download link that would download the entire link data, but this will do.
Thanks!

mhansen

11:57 am on Oct 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I decided to use it to try and recover from a Penguin hit on April 24th. After 5 months of backlink cleanup (article distribution, ezine, directory listings, etc) we had roughly 35 links that just wouldn't go away and used the tool for them.

jimbeetle

4:43 pm on Oct 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I've never received a notice from Google, and I've never paid for a link, but I did a search of backlinks, and included were one or two adult sites, a few that contained malware, and some poorly rated scraper sites. Even though it shouldn't be my job to clear this up, and may make no difference whatsoever, I have added them to my disavow list.

Had your site been hit by Penguin?

zarathustra2011

6:24 pm on Oct 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



Jimbeetle - no I seemed to bypass both panda and penguin, it was only the latest algo that obliterated my non-EMD, old (frequently updated), and very best website.
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