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Disavow tool being played down by Google

     
6:38 pm on Nov 8, 2017 (gmt 0)

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From Pubcon today, Google seemed to be playing down the use of disavow tool.
"If you do not have a manual action then you do not need to submit a disavow"
6:48 am on Nov 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks, engine. A lot of us have been assuming this had to be so. It's good to have the official word.

I wonder if anyone commented on the degree of link spam that's resulted from this more relaxed policy, and whether the relaxation implies that such spam is no longer effective.

Also, what might it be saying about the likelihood of negative SEO?

7:22 am on Nov 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the report from the convention floor engine.

Most site owners I know stopped using the disavow tool over a year ago after realizing that it was useless if your site didn't actually have an action against it.

I removed it across my sites and saw absolutely no change in ranking whatsoever.

What caused the knee-jerk reaction to using it was confusion over the spammy backlinks that Penguin addressed. SEO types quickly hyped the need for backlink revaluation for every site, instead of those that actually had a verified manual action.
7:22 am on Nov 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Engine, do you have any more details? Who said it, what they said exactly? Very interesting if it's within correct context.
9:28 am on Nov 10, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Is it recommended for those who have submitted one to remove it?
8:39 am on Nov 11, 2017 (gmt 0)

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So. The REAL question is now that if the site has no penalty google has in effect ignored the disavow file? I very much doubt that this will ever be answered definitely.

Sigh.
2:17 am on Nov 13, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@Shai,

Gary Illyes said it to a question from the floor. He went on to confirm that you should not use the tool unless you have a manual action against you.
11:13 pm on Nov 19, 2017 (gmt 0)

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a "clarification" by john mueller (assuming that's not an oxymoron) during a google hangout about a week after illyes' statement:
[youtube.com...]
11:40 am on Nov 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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SERoundtable has a transcript and detailed reporting on that video. Worth visiting SERoundtable and reading the entire article.
Google On Disavow File [seroundtable.com]

With regards to sites that don't have a manual action for link issues. We do try to kind of take those links out of the equation automatically when we can recognize them. In general that's something we're pretty good at. We have quite a bit of practice doing that, so most of the time we can get that pretty well.
9:29 pm on Nov 20, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Well, two months ago, we used disavow tool for one of our clients and guess what happened? Over the course of one month, he went from 100 visitors a day to 4000 visitors a day. So there's no doubt that disavow tool can be of use in certain situations.

Therefore, I think google is essentially saying this to stop people from over-optimizing the SEO and disavowing links over and over again and hence, hurting themselves. That's what we recently did and the result for our own website? we dropped in ranking.
 

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