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Google Recommends Disavow in Cases of Potential Manual Action

     
5:18 pm on Jan 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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We often get conflicting information, and here's another one.

In the past we were encouraged to use the disavow tool. Great, and i'm sure most of us here would have done this at some point.

In recent times, Google suggested the disavow tool use ought to be discouraged. Ref Gary Illyes at [Pubcon.com...]
Disavow tool being played down by Google [webmasterworld.com]

Now, it seems the disavow tool can be used for circumstances where links could trigger a manual action.
[seroundtable.com...]

Is the mud clear yet?
8:41 pm on Jan 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like Tom Leher lyrics to me. :)
8:52 pm on Jan 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This is why Google is so much fun. Since it still existed (even though it was discouraged) I still used it for negative SEO attacks my website would always get. Not sure if it ever really did anything as pretty much everyday Google bot shows in my stats as being referred from these bad neighbourhood domains.
11:04 pm on Jan 30, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Sounds like Tom Leher lyrics to me. :)


LOL I actually had to look up Tom Leher Lyrics, he's retired now so I thought I'd have a go.... to the tune of white rabbit

"One link makes you higher, and one link makes you fall
And the ones from social media don't do anything at all"

Ah well I tried. Keep away from disavow is my advice :)
1:34 am on Jan 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Nailed it!

(Puff the Magic Dragon)

Links are really saggin', Don't let them all go bad
G will bag your serps so fast, you'll be really sad!
Disavow those buggers, and you'll be very glad
Else g will kill your rankings and you'll be oh so mad!
4:56 am on Jan 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Google bot shows in my stats as being referred from these bad neighbourhood domains
Say what now? I never see the Googlebot send a referer for page requests. Ever. Oh, sure, fakers do it constantly--for all the good it does them--but the real one is so rare, I can just about count them on my fingers. (Most, for some reason, from 2016. Maybe they were experimenting with the robot code.) And those are so anomalous that I don't think they are actually referers at all, but some particular category of redirect. Otherwise you'd also be seeing the occasional Googlebot request with referers from real sites that actually do link to you--or, for that matter, redirects from your own sites improperly listed as referers.

:: wandering off to investigate a fascinating detail about Googlebot headers revealed while checking on the above ::
12:02 pm on Jan 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@lucy24 On one of my sites I use an internal traffic stats software that allows me to view traffic by IP (among other things). It varies but yesterday one of Google bot's IP visited my site 152 times and about 10 of those had referrers. Of those it looks like 6 had my own pages as referrers and the other 4 are different links from different domains. 3 of them I had disavowed months ago.
3:34 pm on Jan 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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When I get a referrer from a google IP it's from the same two places, California and India. I chalk those up to a manual inspection of some sort and they are rare.

Googlebot doesn't click around your site, it visits pages directly to discover new links and content. If it finds a link it saves the url for a later check. You shouldn't see your site as a referrer with the verified googlebot.
6:14 pm on Jan 31, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Mueller and everyone at Google have been consistent from day one to today about disavows.
Googler's have discouraged the use of the disavow tool except for when you know something's bad because you built it yourself.

Mueller even states that Google purposely made the disavow function difficult to find, they are hiding it, because, according to John Mueller, it's something that the "vast majority" of sites do not need to use

So if the issue seems ambiguous or unclear, it's not the fault of the Googlers. Googlers have been remarkably consistent and clear.

Google Discourages Use of Disavow Tool. Unless You Know the Bad Links [searchenginejournal.com]

Certain SEO's are the ones introducing ambiguity.

Here's an example of how the SEO industry makes it unclear:
SEOs have badgered Mueller on Webmaster Hangouts about spammy looking links and his response is usually to shrug and say that if it makes you feel good go ahead, followed with a statement that Google likely has already discounted the bad links. The next day people are tweeting, "Mueller Recommends Disavowing Spammy Links!"

Mueller himself dismisses "cruft" links as nothing to worry about because Google already does not count them.
12:18 pm on Feb 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I agree, I will never use the disavow file unless it's to try and fix a manual penalty. I've taken a "if it's not on my site it's not under my control and is thus not my problem" approach, unless it becomes a problem of course. That's when a tool like disavow becomes useful to me, otherwise it's just a shot in the dark.
8:30 pm on Feb 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I did a scan of my site with SemRush, and it claimed I have a lot of toxic links and that they should be Disavowed. I agree with them that the links from one link farm in particular with 100 incoming links is toxic. I did not pay for these links, I suspect its negative SEO. The strange thing is these links do not show up in the webmaster tools incoming links list. Do you disavow a known link farm or leave it alone?

I have read some people say that disavow has helped some sites.

I have seen a dramatic drop in organic traffic since last year. Was it because of these toxic links or google favoring newspaper review sites, and bigger sites?
4:15 pm on Feb 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Was it because of these toxic links or google favoring newspaper review sites, and bigger sites?


Just suggestion to help. ;)
I find that rather than focus on what Google "favors" it's important to focus on what the people making the search queries favor. Then apply that knowledge to your web page.

I suspect its negative SEO.


John Mueller recently stated on Reddit that the comment in the above linked Webmaster Hangout was not in the context of negative SEO.

The disavow tool, imo, is a distraction from the actual work and analysis that needs to be done to rank nowadays.

Good luck,
;)

Roger Montti
 

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