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Dissavow Tool, Did it work?

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Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/2/13 5:34 PM
Hi all,
 
I have a site that has been online for 10+ years.  Recently we received a penalty from Google for unnatural links.  Researching this I found that I had about 5000 links from about 100 different foreign picture sites with serachable comments.   For about 8 years I had the #1 results ranking for a very popular keyword phrase through google.  In 2010 someone created these links to myself , and the #2, and #3 sites for this key phrase using the phrase as anchor text, along with our domain names. (I have no affiliation with these other sites, one is from China).    Consequently I have now tried to get these links removed but most of these sites have no email addresses or do not respond.  
 
I dissavowed these domains and submitted a reconsideration request.  I have never paid for a link by the way or used an SEO for anything.
 
My response from google was that they see unnatural linking to my site.  I have no idea if they have removed the links, or not? If they have I have no idea how to proceed, if they havn't is there a way for me to know when they do so I can resubmit an evaluation request?
 
I appreciate your help.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 10:43 AM
3 weeks, no responses?? Really, why does google direct you here anyway? 
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Lysis 4/18/13 10:49 AM
Disavow alone is not what you need to do. You need to make an effort to clean up the links you spammed. You aren't getting an answer because A) you didn't provide a URL and B) this is covered like 392875934857 times on the forum and in the guidelines and matt cutts videos.

Clean up your spam and document it. Just disavowing does not work.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 11:23 AM
Thank you for the reply,  I wish you would have read my post fully, but I will re-iterate. 

At this point I'm sure posting my link will not matter, so My site is GlamourDog.com 

For the record I have NEVER spammed any links!!!  I have gone to exhaustive lengths to get these cleaned up, the sites are foreign sites, and of the 100's of emails I've sent I got 1 response, it's been over a month. 

For anyone who doubts that I did not put these up myself, use some common sense.  A quick search into the 1000's of links that were sent to my page shows that the links all contain the anchor tag "Dog Clothes" They link to myself (was the then #1 result for dog clothes at the time of the links for 6+ years)  and the #2, and #3 ranking sites for the same anchor text.  If I had any intelligence and I thought that was a good strategy, why the heck would I link to my two biggest competitors at the same time as linking to myself????     Obviously these links were put there by a competitor site below #3, or an SEO representing them, possibly without their knowledge of their tactics. 

That leaves me with these 1000's of links I can not remove, I did not place them.  What is my next step?


Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Lysis 4/18/13 11:26 AM
>> What is my next step?

You've got two choices:
A) Contact webmasters and remove the links you spammed or some dolt SEO spammed for you
or
B) Enjoy your current penalty.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 11:45 AM
Apparently Lysis you are very good at being rude, but not so much on reading?  

I have contacted all webmasters of offending links (as was previously stated) I have never used an SEO (as was previously stated), and please explain to me where you see any indication that any of these 1000's of links were not obviously put there maliciously by someone out of my control? None of the offending links are just to me! They are two my two biggest competitors as well!  PLEASE READ my post. 

Enjoying my penalty at the moment means I have already let go of my  employees and am looking for work and will shortly be liquidating my company of 10+ years,   If I had any control over these links, I would obviously remove them, but thanks for your heartfelt well researched response anyway. 

If anyone has any helpful information regarding how do I proceed after failed attempts to contact webmasters to remove links I have no control over, have dissavowed said links and am still not being positively removed from this penalty I would greatly appreciate your advice. 

Regards, 
Casey
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Lysis 4/18/13 11:51 AM
Well Google thinks you have more to clean up. chop chop on the spammy spammy

Your employees are probably better off..they will find something more stable this way. 

If you can't identify a spam link, then you should hire someone and hopefully you hire someone more legit than the last time.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 12:05 PM
Thank you, 

We are hopefully now getting to my original question. I realize google thinks I apparently have more to clean up.  I'm asking, ......  how do I identify what they would be considering a spam link beyond the obvious ones I've attempted to remove? From what I can tell the only offending ones are the aforementioned ones. 

Can you identify 10, 5, 2, 1 offending link going to my site other than the 1000's of identical obvious spam ones I've already delt with?

Again, I've NEVER hired anyone, (as was stated 3 times now) I do not have the funds to "hire" anyone to do this now, which is why I have come to this board.

Currently I've received no advice and only personal attacks.   Personal attacks on me, and statements that my "employees are better off", ... well, you're entitled to your opinion, although I don't see where it's relevant.  I will take your insults if you can accompany it with some useful advice.   Are you capable of that?
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Lysis 4/18/13 12:17 PM
>> Can you identify 10, 5, 2, 1 offending link going to my site other than the 1000's of identical obvious spam ones I've already delt with?

Yep, I probably could.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Ashley 4/18/13 12:19 PM
was there ever a URL? How do you expect us to help without a site?
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Lysis 4/18/13 12:20 PM
I know..it's a big blah blah blur but she at least posted it at the beginning of one of her rants: GlamourDog.com
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 12:38 PM
Not a she,  but... again,  my site is GlamourDog.com 


Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Ashley 4/18/13 12:46 PM
Wait. You're worried about 5K links? I see over 125K active links. 

What was the anchor text that all of these spam links used?
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Ashley 4/18/13 12:50 PM
are any of your other 2 dozen domains live and hosting related content?
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 12:54 PM
Dog Clothes,  at the time of the links (late 2010),  I had been the #1 ranked site for "dog clothes" for about 6 years,  they linked to me, the #2, and the #3 sites for dog clothes respectively.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 12:55 PM
 have several other domains that are live, but none of them host related content other than my site sportydog.com  which is an affiliate of Glamourdog.  I have sites I've built for personal pictures, a pool cleaner, ... a personal portfolio site.. that's all I think. 
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 12:57 PM
I made a purposeful effort not to link to glamourdog anywhere from sportydog. I don't think that would effect anything?

Regarding the quantity of links, I've been a popular site for a decade, I've been featured multiple times in US Weekly, People, InStyle, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, and many other U.S. and international magazines.  Consequently, I have thousands of natural links, I've never paid for links.  I have been under the assumption that the obviously offending links I mentioned are the ones I was dinged for?
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 1:05 PM
Basically all the offending links are formatted just like this:

dog clothes, www.glamourdog.com dog clothes, www.upscalepup.com dog clothes www.lovelonglong.com


That is 6 links,  2 to me (site and anchor), 2 to upscalepup (site and anchor), and 2 to lovelonglong (site and anchor) 

I have no affiliation with either of those two sites. 
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Ashley 4/18/13 1:09 PM
ahrefs still sees 60K links for "dog clothes". That said, it looks like there are lots of changes with your link profile. 

I made a purposeful effort not to link to glamourdog anywhere from sportydog.
Sportydog links at least 3.5K times. On every page - the "Sign Up Here" image for the newsletter goes to GlamourDog.com. And it's followed.

And of course your other site is a favorite site! Go figure! http://www.glamourdog.com/sites.html



Why have multiple sites? That's really an unsustainable strategy... especially since they both sell dog clothes. I'd consider merging the two. 
I'm sure it's not just two sites too... http://www.sportydog.com/sites.html
and I see 22 registered to your corp. 
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 1:24 PM
Thanks for the input.  I'll fix the email signup.  Creating multiple sites is common practice to focus on different usergroups and demographics, my products are different for each customer, think ,  pajamagram / vermont teddybear,  roadrunnersports / kellysrunningwarehous  just off the top of my head are huge multimillion dollar companies that split sites for different demographics.   Originally sportydog didn't exist, but was just a part of glamourdog, since the split we saw a  huge increase in sales as the pink turned off the avg college football watching guys in the midwest.   The only area of concern is duplicate content which I've attempted to take care of.    I do have sportydog as a favorite of glamourdog, but not vice versa, I didn't think outgoing links to related sites would hurt me? 
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Becky Sharpe 4/18/13 1:43 PM

Ironically, your penalty is Penguin, just like in this pic - but the jumper's nice and so's the Petit Brabancon. Good luck :)



Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 2:54 PM
Thanks :)  finally this post provided me with a smile.   

Anyone else, any ideas?
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Ashley 4/18/13 3:01 PM
Creating multiple sites is common practice to focus on different usergroups and demographics
Does that make it a smart or sustainable practice?

You're not the same as these huge multi-million dollar companies. Google ranks on hundreds of factors and if one of yours is a massive liability, you need to compensate. I don't think the site is strong enough to compensate. 


Further reading on Becky's post you may be interested in: http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/recovery-from-google-penguin-tips-from-the-trenches

Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Ashley 4/18/13 3:02 PM
Also - this type of link building is also something I'd clean up

Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 3:15 PM
Thanks for the advice Ashley I will consider it.  Do you think that my current unnatural link penalty though could have anything to do with me having a sister website selling different but similar products?  There was the page that linked back to GlamourDog, but I deleted that link on all pages.   I'm assuming this is a non-related issue, and possibly a very valid one, but I don't "think" it has anything to do with my current link penalty?

Regarding the link on recovering from penguin penalties, I had not read that specific post, but have read many other threads, blogs, and user accounts thoroughly long before I ever posted here.  I am here now because I'm not sure where to go next? I'm guessing google thinks I have some really bad unnatural links,  I can't find any that I think are obvious and I hate to just start asking to lose all of the links and start over? I guess that may be my only hope?
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Ashley 4/18/13 3:25 PM
Google's opaque so I'm generally uncomfortable making a strict linear correlation of action A -> reaction B. 

That said, you have (at least?) two sites that specifically sell dog clothes/accessories. I have no idea why you'd do this. It's more work/money for you, less ideal for users, and YES I believe there are search liabilities of trying to do this. 

When you audit your links, don't be overly generous with yourself. 

If links are spammy/low quality/irrelevant - remove them (or use disavow)
If links seem ok but appear unnatural (like articles, blogrolls, exchanges, etc.) then NOFOLLOW them or remove them. This also includes links between your sites. 

Leave only links that you had NOTHING to do with and that seem high quality, natural, relevant, etc. 


Keep track. You'll need documentation when you file a reconsideration request. 

But ultimately, Google wants to see a serious concerted effort at cleaning up and stopping bad manipulative behavior. I can't imagine trying to continue to game results with multiple dog clothes websites shows that you're serious about cleaning up your presence. 


Free2Write 4/18/13 4:58 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 4:58 PM
Thanks for the advice that was much appreciated, I will continue to work on the links, the blog post was a great example, I will use that to jump off of for other ideas.

I'm still not sure about the sites combining again. These are different products for a different demo.  There are only a very few of the thousands of items that are available on both sites, basically "some" of the jerseys and collars on SportyDog are also on GlamourDog, that's it.   

SportyDog sells Licensed Sports themed merchandise, this does includes some dog stuff, but also, koozies, croakies, lanyards, luggage tags, etc....all for people 
GlamourDog sells FruFru girly dog stuff,  little dresses, shoes, blankies, purselike carriers, sweaters, shampoo, perfumes and grooming products etc... 

These two don't seem to mesh well, (and they didnt) 

It would be like putting foot locker together with gap just because they both sell converse shoes. (which they do).  If I thought it was a cause for a penalty I'd probably just close sportydog and liquidate all the merchandise that can't be sold on GlamourDog.  But I'm not ready to do that if it's not what is hurting me?
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Lysis 4/18/13 5:02 PM
This guy is gonna be back like the whiner casino guy who refuses to listen and "doesn't understand" why he can't get rid of his manual penalty.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 5:18 PM
Lysis,  Do you have anything positive to say? Ashley is giving me great advice. I think she's giving me advice on two topics, the unnatural link issue but also the multiple sites issue.  I'm listening to both, but focused on the unnatural link issue, I don't think they are the same, but to be safe I've eliminated all cross linking between the sites. 

Jennifer, (lysis) you're just lashing out, you've not provided one instance of help or even an example that you have any idea what you're talking about regarding this subject matter. what's your problem? A quick search for your name shows you have a history of being this way... , at least I know it's not just me.   

I'm a positive person, so don't take this the wrong way,  you seem very bitter, you should try going to the gym, do something helpful for someone else instead of just complaining..... not a healthy way to live.  

Again, thanks for the Advice Ashley. I'd welcome more examples from anyone of links I need to look at while I'm going back through them. 
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? StevieD_Web 4/18/13 6:12 PM
>but to be safe I've eliminated all cross linking between the sites. 

Good idea.


Better yet, dump the additional sites.   I have read all your arguments for maintaining multiple sites.... and none of them have convinced me that you are right simply because you are missing the opportunity to become a single powerful BRAND (ala Amazon/Walmart) in a highly splintered and diluted niche market.

Speaking of WallyWorld... the other night I was in line with a family that had purchased:

Big Screen TV
Bra for the wife
1lb of Bacon
and a 6 pack of a fruity kid drink

I kid you not, FOUR items.

That is truly one stop shopping, destination branding.  You can not gain that kind of branding by having similar sites with overlapping products.

Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Lysis 4/18/13 6:37 PM
>> Lysis,  Do you have anything positive to say? Ashley is giving me great advice.

We like to alternate threads. 
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Free2Write 4/18/13 7:05 PM
"no idea how to proceed"
  1. "you may have seen a message in Webmaster Tools about “unnatural links” pointing to your site"
  2. "If you get this message, we recommend that you remove from the web as many spammy or low-quality links to your site as possible."
  3. "One great place to start looking for bad links is the “Links to Your Site” feature in Webmaster Tools."
  4. "If you’ve done as much as you can to remove the problematic links, ... that’s a good time to visit our new Disavow links page ..."
  5. "Wait for some time to let the disavowed links make their way into our system."
  6. "Finally, submit a reconsideration request so the manual webspam team can check whether your site is now within Google's quality guidelines,"
http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-new-tool-to-disavow-links.html

"response from google was that they see unnatural linking to my site."

That probably means Google does not think you have done as much as you can or there is more to do or not enough time has past since you have removed the links or submitted a disavow request.

Google will probably not consider number four, without proof of number three.



Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Free2Write 4/18/13 7:09 PM
s/three/two/

Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Clara1 4/18/13 7:57 PM
Listen Casey, first of all, your mistake to let Lysis bother you. She's here to entertain anit-seo folks but not to help... but how could you have known...

about your problem:

I checked some backlinks of yours and it looks very shady. So either someone of your interns, seo guys etc. did a very bad job or you got spammed. It actually looks so cheap, that I assume you got spammed by a competitor. Go here http://www.galleri.kjerringoy.no/displayimage.php?pos=-1770 and search for the phrase "dog clothes". It's in a comment next to other linked websites, which don't belong to you.

You've got hundreds of such links.

My advice: 
Go to odesk, elance, etc. and get $1-an-hour staff. Give them a removal request example and they should contact those thousands of websites. You'll have to contact them once a week. Try it 4 weeks in a row. Keep track on a spreadsheet. After 4 weeks you disavow the once that remained.

While doing it don't be cheap. Simply remove everything that is not newspaper, social site or other high quality source unless you bought it.

8-12 Weeks send new reconsideration request. Don't bother trying it earlier as google needs time to re-crawl and see the changes.

If google still refuses it, create a new domain and drop the old one.


F.Y.I. bitching around that the spam wasn't you won't help. Google doesn't care, I don't care, no one cares. I believe you, but again, no one cares. Just fix it as described or create a new URL.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Ashley 4/18/13 8:02 PM
Go to odesk, elance, etc. and get $1-an-hour staff. Give them a removal request example and they should contact those thousands of websites. You'll have to contact them once a week. Try it 4 weeks in a row. Keep track on a spreadsheet. After 4 weeks you disavow the once that remained.

Eeek.... Um. I wouldn't do that. Honestly, that's iffy. Just stay away from cheap outsourcing. 

also, how can you feel good about yourself paying someone $1 an hour for the shittiest work out there? For the love people....
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Clara1 4/18/13 8:09 PM
Ashley, that's judgmental and ignorant. People in India, Bangladesh, etc. have an average per-hour loan of way under $1. Giving them $1 per hour is like giving some of them a reason to live. It's called helping. Better making $1 comfortable at home than $0.4 in a dirty factory.

First think, than judge.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Ashley 4/18/13 8:23 PM
I am thinking - if someone is doing good work for me, I pay them fairly. Regardless of where they live.

What you're doing? I call that exploitation. 
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/18/13 9:23 PM
Clara,

Thank you! I really appreciate your answer.  Yes I'm well aware of all the spam links, they link to me and my 2 biggest competitors so it obviously wasn't me, or them for that matter, but someone below them (or likely representing them).  my theory is they are the root of my problem but since I've been flagged I'm gonna have to fix every other gray thing that's going on on my site. Ashley has been a great help and eye opener on that to me and I've dug some more and found some other avenues to go down cleaning more.

"Google doesn't care, I don't care, no one cares. I believe you, but again, no one cares." ... got it, get it, totally LOVE IT, real world advice is just what I need to hear, I'll keep my whining about my predicament to chums at the bar on the weekend and deal with it during the week as best I can.

I'm hoping I don't have to drop the domain, SEO people are saying yes, all my e-commerce collegues are saying HE!! NO!  LOL, we'll see who wins out.  I do own glamourdogs.com so ..... that would be my best option I think.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Free2Write 4/18/13 10:45 PM
"I have agreed to write for the site"
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:munchkinsnfriends.blogspot.com/2012/03/dog-carriers-from-glamourdogcom.html&strip=1

Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? JohnMu 4/19/13 2:30 AM
Hi Casey

While it's really important for the web-spam team when processing the reconsideration request to see significant effort put into resolving the issue at its roots (on those external sites), it can also be a good practice to at least have those sites listed in your disavow file in the meantime (use them in parallel, don't get bogged down with contact requests before adding them). For what it's worth, at the moment your disavow file can't be processed properly -- you seem to be listing domains without the "domain:" prefix, so we wouldn't be able to use that. Also, we process these files automatically, so there's no need to add comments for us in there (but feel free to use comments to help you keep track of the content you added there). Once your disavow file is correct, I'm happy to take a quick look to see if there's anything general that you might be missing there.

Cheers
John
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/19/13 2:07 PM
Hi John, 

Thank you so much, that is of great help to me.  I have updated the Dissavow file, and I've attached a copy of it to this post. to my knowledge it is correct now. Could you, and anyone who is knowledgeable about this area take a quick look and let me know if this looks OK and I'll re-submit it?
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? travler. 4/19/13 2:16 PM
While you are waiting for JohnMu, can you read over http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2648487

The format you use is not what Google shows to use in that  you put the word domain in front of each domain

Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/19/13 3:33 PM
Hi Travlr, 

I think you've missed the updated version, or.. I am missing something. On this page they talk about how to use the domain: prefix to block all links from a specific domain, in my case, this is precisely what I want to do. 


[quote]The format is straightforward. All you need is a plain text file with one URL per line. An excerpt of a valid file might look like the following:

# Contacted owner of spamdomain1.com on 7/1/2012 to

# ask for link removal but got no response
# Owner of spamdomain2.com removed most links, but missed these

In this example, lines that begin with a pound sign (#) are considered comments and Google ignores them. The “domain:” keyword indicates that you’d like to disavow links from all pages on a particular site (in this case, “spamdomain1.com”). You can also request to disavow links on specific pages (in this case, three individual pages on spamdomain2.com). We currently support one disavowal file per site and the file is shared among site owners in Webmaster Tools. If you want to update the file, you’ll need to download the existing file, modify it, and upload the new one. The file size limit is 2MB.[/quote]
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? travler. 4/19/13 5:05 PM
I see what you mean, but  I am reading this another way. 

Your links/domains are not starting with the http:/// as in the example; they begin with the word 'domain' i.e they are not links.

Yours:

domain: spamdomain2.com 

The EG shown (is there a newer one?) is:


Of course, I stand to be corrected, but that's how I read it, so will wait for JohnMu as now I am getting confused. :-)

And  I am prepared to be corrected.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Clara1 4/19/13 9:45 PM
Casey got it right.

Matt Cutts also said it in an interview with Danny Sullivan. If you want to disavow complete domain, use domain: prefix and no need for http or www.
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? JohnMu 4/21/13 12:19 PM
Hi Casey 
The format of that file looks pretty good, but it seems that you haven't uploaded it yet -- can you double-check? 

Cheers
John
Casey Whitcher 4/21/13 6:42 PM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/21/13 6:43 PM
Hi John,  I'm sorry I was waiting for you to take a look to make sure I didn't make any more mistakes. I just uploaded it now, Thank you so much for your help!!
Re: Dissavow Tool, Did it work? Casey Whitcher 4/23/13 3:40 PM
At this point should I just wait about a week or so before re-submitting a reconsideration request?
aorpia price 4/30/13 2:24 AM <This message has been deleted.>
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