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Whats the view on actively disavowing links as they appear in WMT?

     
7:15 am on Feb 10, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I check the "Links to my site" section in Google WMT on a regular basis. In the past couple of months I've been seeing more and more weird links, from pretty spammy domains and even a few from weird Iranian domains.

It's needless to say but I have never bought a link or been involved in any link schemes or the like. Like probably everyone on the Internet, I'm in a competitive vertical, and some of my competitors probably aren't so scrupulous.

The question is, do I actively need to disavow suspicious links? Should I contact the domains and ask to remove them? I have usually just ignored these links, and not wasted time in doing anything with them (since weird automated links have always been around) but the proliferation in the last couple months has started to worry me.

TL;DR - Even if you don't have any manual actions, and have never engaged in link scheme stuff, should you still disavow links that look "off"
6:45 pm on Feb 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I am personally not disavowing "just in case". But maybe others do, I don't know.

Are you experiencing any ranking problems or would this just be pro-active disavowing whilst your rankings are still solid and not slipping?
6:59 pm on Feb 14, 2015 (gmt 0)

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In the past couple of months I've been seeing more and more weird links, from pretty spammy domains and even a few from weird Iranian domains.

THis is regular background link chatter. Everyone has some level of this stuff.

In fact last time I looked, I had a ton of garbage backlinks. Maybe even, by quantity, more than my 'good' links. Your link profile would look suspicious IMO without them.

I'd leave them unless it's an issue. And it's only likely to be an issue if you're buying quantity links or someone's doing negative SEO. Otherwise, ignore. Real work to be done :).
1:43 pm on Feb 15, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Stop looking in wmt and your life and your web presence will both benifit.
9:29 am on Feb 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'd usually ignore, but these keep showing up.

Needless to say I don't buy links, so that rules out that.

Up until now everything was ok when we ignored but in the last week I am seeing a pretty major drop in rankings. Some (4-5) of my head KW have dropped off completely from the Google SERP's, and others have dropped from 3-5 to 9-10 level.

I know that there really haven't been any algo updates so I'm starting to get very worried about this..
2:35 pm on Feb 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I know that there really haven't been any algo updates so I'm starting to get very worried about this..


First of all, there are ALWAYS algo updates.

Second of all, you may have experienced a drop, but what have you done so far to ascertain that it's links that are the problem? You dropped rankings on some keywords, but what about pages? Who replaced you? What are your engagement metrics like?

This is my problem with the whole disavow thing; it tends to act as a smokescreen. People see a shift, and immediately go to negative SEO and disavow. I've had tons of crap links in my GWT since there first *was* a GWT, and I've never "built" a link in my life, nor have I disavowed one. Most of em are DMOZ clones and scrapers. Has never been an issue.

Rule out the other possibilities first, and then worry about the links.
3:12 pm on Feb 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I've been seeing more and more weird links, from pretty spammy domains and even a few from weird Iranian domains.

Most "weird" links are just that weird. In general I suggest you monitor yet ignore most back links.

I think the only reason you would utilize the Disavow tool is when the links pointing to your site are clearly malicious in nature or could be interpreted by manipulation by YOU.

For example, an Iranian scraper website filling a directory of links is non-malicious however if links to your site are posted on a forum packed and accompanied with spam in a malicious manner then you may consider disavowing.

I would think in terms of intent with respect to the website posting the backlink to your site. If you not sure what the intent is get a second and maybe a third opinion before disavowing a potential helpful link.
10:35 pm on Feb 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Should I contact the domains and ask to remove them?

You could ask them to nofollow the links .... Oh, wait, they're already nofollowed, because gwt doesn't make any distinction. (Eyeball the list and look for the ones from well-known blogging platforms. Check a few and you'll see they're all nofollowed, because that's simply how the CMS works by default.) So why is it necessary to disavow something that was never supposed to count in the first place?
12:35 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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So why is it necessary to disavow something that was never supposed to count in the first place?


++++++
9:43 am on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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The links weren't coming from blogging platforms, so NOFOLLOW isn't relevant here.

I'm aware that there are always algo updates, what I meant was a BIG one that is making a lot of waves with other webmasters.

Second of all, you may have experienced a drop, but what have you done so far to ascertain that it's links that are the problem? You dropped rankings on some keywords, but what about pages? Who replaced you? What are your engagement metrics like?


It might seem like I default to the noob "negative SEO" reason, but its really not. Like I said I never bothered with disavowals till now, and I am quite aware that there is a ~5% chance that the drop is unrelated to this issue.

BUT some of the links are now coming in from #*$! sites, and others try to popup different things, auto play strange videos and the like. And this info is just from accessing the google cached versions (since I don't trust them). A lot of the sites also don't show up on a site: search which is always a little red flag to me.

I agree that a lot of weird links are usually from dmoz scrapers and the like, but this has gotten past that now.

Engagement is the same, some CTR have even gone up a bit. I am also in the midst of solving another possible duplicate content issue, which might also be responsible. One possible competitor has gotten a 3x jump this month according to SEMRUSH, so he might be on the same BH SEO + Negative SEO package from a shady agency...Another competitor is also Chinese based, so just as they have no qualms about stealing content, images, and the like, I assume that they are open to any kind of SEO boost....

Again this was not meant to get into those usual "competitors are going after me" debate, but more to understand what the current climate is on actively disavowing links. Like I said I'd never done it till now, because my reasoning was that I'm not doing anything wrong, so I don't need to use it. But I've been reading that more and more people use it on an active basis.
 

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