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What Is A Disavow?

disavow tools seo google links

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#1 cre8pc


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Posted 12 June 2013 - 10:45 AM

The latest buzzword around internet marketing land is "disavow".  For those of you in the know, please tell us what it is, why it's helpful and how to use it.  Thanks!

#2 jonbey


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Posted 12 June 2013 - 10:56 AM

My understanding is that disavow is simply a way to say to Google "I do not wish this link, or this domain, to ever influence my ranking". 


Google have said that disavow works like an invisible nofollow. 


So far I have not found 2 opinions on when and how to use it that agree with each other.


My other understanding (after a lot of reading in the last few weeks) is:


  1. If you have a manual penalty (with a letter from Google) beg the linkers to remove the links first and document. Then, disavow the domains, check received OK with Google, and then file a reconsideration, detailing the requests for link removal and that you have disavowed.
  2. If you have an algo penalty, disavow the links and you should be OK (although it does not hurt to request link removal).

Disavow is a one-way street though. Dis the wrong domain and you lose that pagerank forever.

#3 glyn


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Posted 12 June 2013 - 01:27 PM

This is where you tell the best se on the planet how to manage its index. CoZ ITS STOOPID!

#4 iamlost


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Posted 12 June 2013 - 04:55 PM

The iamlost quick and dirty guide to the disavow tools:
* disavowing links has been an occasionally suggested solution to negative SEO; never really gaining traction (given G's long standing reply that backlinks shouldn't be a concern) until the following...
* March 2012: Google instigates WMT warnings about 'unnatural' links.
* April 2012: Google instigates Penguin.
* Google recommends disavowing unnatural links.
---webdevs and SEOers ask how?
---webdevs and SEOerss start emailing all and sundry asking for links to be removed.
* June 2012: Bing plays a marketing card and offers a disavow tool.
---webdevs and SEOers start really nattering at Google.
* October 2012: Google offers a disavow tool.
---webdevs and SEOers start wholesale disavowing of backlinks.

Bing has said that if a domain keeps showing up in disavow requests it may get manual attention. Google hasn't said, so far as I know.

My take is that the disavow tool is NOT being used by the SEs as most SEOers and webdevs seem to think. I'd say that MOST are overreacting and probably would see similar results by not bothering. It is so sad to hear about those who have disavowed 80% of their backlinks and seen no change. Idjits.

If a SE knows a link is crap it has already been discounted; if they don't know then you've just thrown the baby out with the bathwater. That is not to say that it might not have a use, just that the ongoing slaughter is not it.

Note: I do not utilise WMTs. Except for DMCAs I have no communication with the search side of SEs.

#5 clandestino


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Posted 12 June 2013 - 08:37 PM

There was a discussion at Webmaster World on Link Removal & Disavow where they pretty much conclude --> "Let the buyer beware."


IMHO, avoid it.  Why help g##### collect spam leads.  I think Sgt Kickaxe has it right -- "Right now I rate the disavow tool as 'probably can't help' and 'might further harm rankings'."


Shepard's comment is interesting -->


"I can't believe how link building has morphed into this monster."

Evolution of the link:
1. links freely given as citations
2. trade links
3. beg for links
4. spam for links
5. buy links
6. hack links
7. beg to have links removed
8. buy spammy links pointed at your competitors
9. ask to have your competitors good links removed

Edited by chuckfinley, 12 June 2013 - 08:40 PM.

#6 test-ok


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Posted 12 June 2013 - 10:23 PM

It's a tool to tell google you have link spam..

Disavow should have been named the Tattle Tail Tool.


Google already disavows the link when it finds link spam, so disavowing it does nothing but tell google you know about it too.

I wouldn't doubt it now flags this site to see what new links they get. It's easy to find link spam when you scare webmasters and give them a tool to save themselves.

#7 Black_Knight


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Posted 13 June 2013 - 10:18 AM

Disavow?  It's how an Italian tells you about an oath. "Dis a vow, she is sacred to me!" ;)


Our old friend and comrade John Mueller has done several G+ posts on the disavow tool, the last I recall telling people they are mainly being too cautious with it (only disavowing the very worst links they are most certain G already knows and penalizes) specifically saying that most webmasters need to use it more like a machete than a scalpel.


Basically, recent updates with Google have looked heavily at the backlink profiles and started to penalize for what links to you, if those links seem to be entirely artificial and link-spam-like.  The disavow tool tells Google that you don't want any credit or penalty for certain links, so they won't be counted by any algorithm, positive or negative.


The real result is that lots of unscrupulous SEO types are now suddenly giving 'Negative SEO' a real test, creating thousands f spammy links to competitors so that they'll suffer the penalty effect, or have to waste thousands of hours attempting to disavow all the links.


Tragedy of the Commons accounted for, Google will have to backtrack a little (or a lot) because right now they've caused a massive problem in people claiming they are being targetted by Negative SEO, when in reality most have far larger problems, and a few crap links are not part of the ones they should worry about.  If anything, Google have actually increased the amount of link-spamming through this, not reduced it.

#8 glyn


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Posted 13 June 2013 - 01:47 PM

If a xompetitor dropa out of google because they get hit with a neg who cares. That person will use adwords.97% of g rev cant be wrong

#9 bobbb


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Posted 13 June 2013 - 02:30 PM

Disavow?  It's how an Italian tells you about an oath. "Dis a vow, she is sacred to me!"

Hey Hey what's with this slurring of Italians.

waas a matta fo you :rolleyes:


I'm allowed. Look at my family name.

Edited by bobbb, 13 June 2013 - 02:31 PM.

#10 clandestino


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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:09 PM

They make a good point in that Webmaster World thread -- g##### can't say they don't discount spam links and that negative SEO doesn't work. 


If they discount links, what's the purpose of the dis-a-vow tool? -- (Appropriate emphasis added per Black Knight analysis.)  Why are we playing this game?


They openly say di-a-vows may be a factor in triggering a manual review ....... maybe that's the point .......


What more do you need to know?

#11 test-ok


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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:14 PM

I agree...use it and tell on yourself. 

meaning of google's disavow.

How webmasters can raise their own red flag.   :blowup:

#12 jonbey


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Posted 13 June 2013 - 06:44 PM

I first used disavow was to disavow a link that had absolutely nothing to do with me, but looked a lot like a paid link on a website which was obviously selling links.

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