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Should using the Disavow Tool make you worry?

     

tedster

1:33 am on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

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



In another thread about Penguin and trackbacks [webmasterworld.com], TheOptimizationIdiot brought up a side topic that I think is worth discussing on its own.

I think it's pretty poor the way quite a few "SEOs" spread the FUD for Google on the disavow rather than exercising some simple reasoning and letting people know part of the reason it was introduced was:
  • to be able to help in negative SEO situations
  • and/or in a situation where you hire a SEO and they do something wrong without your knowledge
  • and/or in a situation where you actually built some spammy links...

  • I agree with this - and the FUD in the SEO community seems to be growing into some pretty strong "group think".

    Not only do these three situations make plenty of sense, I remember that before the Disavow Tool was ever created, many webmasters and SEOs were crying out for a way to disavow bad backlinks. Then the tool got offered and immediately the cry was "don't use it - you're confessing to wrong doing if you do."

    As TheOptimizationIdiot observed in the original thread, "there's really nothing to confess to if you receive an unnatural links notice, because you're already 'had' by the algo."

    How do others see the disavow tool? Do you stay away from it for concern about giving your site a reputation as a spammer?

    Whitey

    11:26 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



    @Tedster - So why do you think they pulled through? Were the bad links possibly a minor proportion of the site [ assuming it is good quality overall ].

    Anyone else wanting to contribute here - I'm appealing for some more data points.

    tedster

    11:30 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

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



    It is a good quality site, and they've been improving it dramatically over the past year. I think it's one of those cases where Google has decided to ignore many of those backlinks instead of penalizing for them. That's all that I can think of at the moment.

    Whitey

    11:55 pm on May 28, 2013 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



    Thanks Tedster. I'd like to see more inputs - but it's my hunch to.

    Matt Cutts:

    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.


    Google's John Mueller reshared this on Google+, so clearly we have Matt Cutts saying this, Google's John Mueller sharing it again on Google+. [plus.google.com...]

    [seroundtable.com...]
    When using a machete in surgery it would be nice for the surgeon to know what he/she is looking for - otherwise site's may be destroyed. The tool, whilst a great step, might be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I wonder if Google might be prepared to enhance the tool to be more specific.

    Robert Charlton

    1:16 am on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



    Whitey - Seems to me that Matt is practically painting a picture here....

    ...to disavow all bad backlinks from an entire domain

    In my mind's eye, I see a lot of backlinks coming from the kind of domain that Matt is talking about. Are these editorial links? Might be if the NYT links to you a lot. Otherwise, perhaps not.

    Am I skimming over something obscure and subtle? I don't see this as surgery. I see it as cleaning up a garbage dump.

    Note also, though...

    My emphasis added...
    We recommend that you disavow backlinks only if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.

    Again, he doesn't seem to be talking about something subtle.

    Whitey

    3:01 am on May 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



    My emphasis here :

    We recommend that you disavow backlinks only if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.

    Could he be talking ratios of good to bad thresholds combined with a site's authority which means it's not necessary in some cases?

    Matt has previously said be careful about using this tool. The implication being it may do more harm than good.

    and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.

    How are webmasters to be confident about what links are causing issues. Not even the BBC could work it out when they reached out and Google responded recently with regards to "unnatural links" notices [ granted it's a huge site].
    This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35
     

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