Alright, so I am not the first to write about Google’s disavow tool, but I’ll do post anyway. What is the tool? What does it do? Should you use it?
First, I think it is important that we actually read what Google has to say about it’s disavow tool before we start listening to the SEOs (Search Engine Optimizers).
I – for one – am guilty of jumping to conclusions on what the tool is, what it does, etc, all based on information I got from Google-hating SEO folks.
I am not a Google fan myself – but the more I read their material and actually listen to what they have to say, the more I find myself agreeing with them. Sure it sucks that they slapped my sites back and forth – but at the end of the day, it is their search engine, so they can do with it whatever the heck they want.
It’s really not their fault if my business suffers because it completely depends on them for traffic. It’s not their job to make me money – but it is their job to give their users the ultimate search experience.
Of course this is tainted with a big business agenda, but think about it: If every time a searcher had to sort through 10 pages of disappointing listings before finding what he/she was looking for – how good of a user experience would that be? The more accurate Google gets at giving the searcher exactly what they are looking for, the more likely that searcher will use them again.
With that in mind, I asked myself the following questions: How many people (besides me) would consider my website to be the #1 resource on it’s topic? If a thousand strangers were given my site as well as the current top 10 sites (in that niche), how many would rate my site “#1” in terms of valuable information provided, ease of navigation, and overall user experience?
In other words: Is my stuff really up to snuff? 🙂
Once I take off my self-petying SEO glasses, I start to appreciate the effort Google is making in cleaning up the web. I too want the best user experience when I use their search engine.
Enough about that though, let me get back on topic 😀
What is the disavow tool?
In Google’s own words, “if you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site.”
The disavow tool pretty much makes it possible for your site to be born again. Or so they say. If it has been involved in linkspam, or has some questionable links pointing to it, this tool lets you tell Google to ignore those links and not hold them against you.
Of course you should try and get spam against your own site taken down where possible, but if that isn’t an option, that is allegedly where the disavow tool comes handy.
I highly recommend you read their write-up about it here!
Basically, unless Google sent you a notification in your webmaster inbox about “un-natural” links pointing to your site, you should not have to worry about any of this and there should be no need for you to use the disavow tool.
There is a lot of gossip in the SEO community as to why Google is collecting these links, but if you walk the straight and narrow, this should not really concern you in my opinion. You are given a chance to redeem yourself and if there is need for that – it is a pretty good idea. Or is it?
Let me say this: I am currently going through the process of getting one of my sites reconsidered. It did not get deindexed, but – according to the webmaster inbox notification – it did get penalized for “un-natural” backlinks pointing to it. Which basically meant: No matter how hard I worked at getting top rankings for that site, it didn’t seem to nudge one bit.
Which is when I decided to do more un-biased research and found that people who took the time to clean up their backlink portfolio, sooner or later had all penalties against their site removed and as a result started ranking well again.
Which is ultimately why I decided to go that route and try it out for myself.
I have not seen much “understanding” on Google’s part and though I have seen nothing but rejection after rejection, I will say that it has been a learning and eye-opening experience so far. I tell ya – I was shocked to find how many nasty sites linked back to my site. Ugh!
Seeing that my webmaster portfolio is based in the SEO niche, I have a feeling that Google will be using me as an example by being especially sensitive to everything I do or do not do before finally removing the penalty against the site.
I am documenting everything and will be making a post about it soon. Hopefully by then I can say with certainty whether it is worth going through the process or not. Be on the lookout for my post on that.
UPDATE: I just received another rejection notice from Google. Come on, really? I will try combing through everything one more time and see what I missed the first 4 times. I will keep you posted. So far I am not impressed. I did get a somewhat personalized response from them now though pointing me in the right direction. Kudos to them for that!
Have you used the disavow tool? If so, what has your experience been? I am trying to gather as much real life evidence as I can so – anything you can share in this regard would be of great help.
No, I haven’t.
I’m concerned about if using it may cause more harm than good. The time required must also be considered.
Please, don’t forget to share your procedures and results.
I have used disavow 2 times. I’ve been rejected 2 times. On my last attempt, I disavowed everything (50,000 links) except for the links that I REALLY REALLY wanted to keep. It’s a desperate attempt to have the penalty revoked.