Categories: Crawling, indexing & ranking :

Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive?

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Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive? Naomi Goonetilleke 8/20/13 12:08 PM
I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 
My URL is: 

Hi, I would love to hear an answer from Google or anyone with the appropriate experience regarding this question.
 
We are lately taking on more and more clients with what can only be described as disastrous link profile. Most, already have a Manual action message but today we had one where the links were the worst we have seen in a long time yet, to my surprise, there is no message in WMT. From my experience, this wont last very long and I'm sure that within a couple of months at most, the site will be under a severe penalty.
 
Now, assuming that 99% of the links are NOT removable, would disavowing the links help avoid the beckoning penalty?
 
Re: Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive? Ben Griffiths 8/20/13 12:17 PM
...and the subtext is, "will using the disavow tool increase the odds of the site in question coming to the attention of the Web Spam team?"

Anyway, why wouldn't you otherwise?

It can help with Penguin (MC, Twitter) and the Web Spam team will see fewer effective (algorithmically) inbound links as a result should they ever do the review.

ETA: It's the crime, not the efficacy of it, that they care about, so the penalty will come no matter what IMO because it is designed to spur undoing of the spam (link deletion), not removal of its effect on the index (disavow). So they want to know why you can't remove them in the RR, ergo hello Manual Action in the meantime.
Re: Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive? northofthecity 8/20/13 12:26 PM
It would be a VERY GOOD idea, IMHO, to put together a disavow file as soon as possible.

Remember that the disavow file is AUTOMATIC so that there isn't a person monitoring them and looking through them.

Could it raise a red flag for google??? Possibly. there is the possibility that submitting a disavow file somehow notifies the manual actions spam team that they should take a look at the site. Nobody has answered that from google, as far as I know.

But the reality is that if they have a disastrous link profile, then at some point Penguin, a manual penalty, or both, will be applied to that site.

I would say it is a matter of when, not if, that site will get hit.

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Another thing is that the recovery from Penguin can be VERY long - espescially in a situation where you can't remove links and need to just disavow. Many people who have recovered using the disavow tool mention a period of six months or longer.

I would explain this to your client as part of the reason it might be better to be proactive instead of reactive.
Re: Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive? Ben Griffiths 8/20/13 12:27 PM
Remember that the disavow file is AUTOMATIC so that there isn't a person monitoring them and looking through them.

Not doubting you, but a) do you have a source and b) why does Google suggest commenting the file then? For our own benefit?
Re: Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive? northofthecity 8/20/13 1:05 PM
"Not doubting you, but a) do you have a source and b) why does Google suggest commenting the file then? For our own benefit?"

Two great questions, Ben:

1) The source is John Mueller and it was from a google hangout about a month back... I will have to spend time to find the exact video but it is up on youtube. I want to say either June 16th or July 16th (off the top of my head).

2) Again, John Mueller (and I think Matt Cutts) have said that the comments are for the webmaster's use only.

Again, I didn't jot down the URL and time stamp, which I should have, so I can't give an exact URL.

I think there is also an interview with matt Cutts by Danny Sullivan that was conducted around the time when disavow was first released that MC brought up some of these points.

As for our OWN benefit, maybe we disavow ONE link from a site instead of using the domain: disavow operator because there are good links from that site too. We might want to make a note of the reason we didn't use the domain: operator on that site.

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Also, just to stress one thing: It was particularly clear from John Mueller's comments (and Matt Cutts) that, for now, no one looks at the disavow file, so you couldn't do REVERSE negative SEO by just disavowing sites in order to tattle on those sites.

And, again, just because no one is looking through those disavow files doesn't mean that they don't AUTOMATICALLY send a signal to the manual spam team to look at the site that submitted the disavow file. I haven't heard anyone from google speak to this either way.
Re: Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive? Ben Griffiths 8/20/13 1:07 PM
Cool, thanks for the feedback, ironic that so much great stuff goes on in Hangouts and there's no easy way to search for/surface these statements absent Barry Schwartz or whoever doing the writeup - pays to watch, I guess..


Re: Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive? lcurr 8/20/13 1:20 PM
Hmm, why is it that I've read TCs here saying that Google can choose to ignore a disavowed link if they wanted to? Which would seem to imply that the process isn't entirely automatic.
Re: Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive? Ben Griffiths 8/20/13 1:34 PM
Maybe that applies to sites operating under a Manual Action
Re: Disavow Tool - Preventative as well as reactive? lcurr 8/20/13 2:58 PM
Yeah, I don't know. Or maybe the process has changed now.