Google’s John Mueller answered a concern about utilizing the link disavow tool and offered a tip about the best way to utilize it, particularly mentioning links flagged by tools.
Although this tool was introduced 10 years ago there is still much confusion as to the correct usage of it.
Link Disavow Tool
The link disavow tool was presented by Google in October 2012.
The disavow tool followed in the wake of the Penguin Algorithm from May 2012, which ushered in a period of unprecedented turmoil in the search marketing community since many people were purchasing and offering links.
This duration of freely buying and offering links came to a stop on Might 2012 when the Penguin algorithm upgrade was released and countless sites lost rankings.
Making money links removed was a huge discomfort for because they needed to request removal from every site, one by one.
There were many link elimination requests that some site owners began charging a charge to get rid of the links.
The SEO neighborhood begged Google for a simpler way to disavow links and in action to popular need Google released the Link Disavow tool on October 2012 for the express purpose of disavowing spam links that a website owner was responsible for.
The concept of a link disavow tool was something that had actually been kicking around for many years, a minimum of since 2007.
Google withstood launching that tool up until after the Penguin update.
Google’s main statement from October 2012 described:
“If you’ve been informed of a manual spam action based on “abnormal links” indicating your website, this tool can help you deal with the concern.
If you have not gotten this alert, this tool normally isn’t something you need to stress over.”
Google also offered information of what sort of links could set off a manual action:
“We send you this message when we see evidence of paid links, link exchanges, or other link plans that breach our quality standards.”
John Mueller Suggestions on Link Disavow Tool
Mueller responded to a question about disavowing links to a domain residential or commercial property and as a side note provided suggestions on the proper usage of the tool.
The question asked was:
“The disavow function in Browse Console is presently not available for domain properties. What are the choices then?”
John Mueller addressed:
“Well, if you have domain level verification in place, you can verify the prefix level without needing any extra tokens.
Verify that host and do what you need to do.”
Then Mueller included an extra remark about the correct way to use the link disavow tool.
Mueller continued his response:
“Likewise, bear in mind that disavowing random links that look weird or that some tool has flagged, is not an excellent use of your time.
It alters absolutely nothing.
Use the disavow tool for scenarios where you in fact paid for links and can’t get them removed later on.”
Hazardous Link Tools and Random Hyperlinks
Numerous 3rd party tools use exclusive algorithms to score backlinks according to how spammy or toxic the tool business feels they are.
Those toxicity scores might properly rank how bad certain links seem however they do not necessarily associate with how Google ranks and uses links.
Poisonous link tool ratings are simply viewpoints.
The tools work for creating an automated backlink review, specifically when they highlight negative links that you believed were excellent.
However, the only links one need to be disavowing are the links one knows are paid for or belong of a link scheme.
Should You Believe Anecdotal Proof of Toxic Links?
Many people experience ranking losses and when examining their backlinks are shocked to find a large quantity of very low quality websites connecting to their sites.
Naturally it’s assumed that this is the factor for the ranking drops and a never-ending cycle of link disavowing commences.
In those cases it may work to consider that there is some other reason for the change in rankings.
One case that sticks out is when someone came to me about an unfavorable SEO attack. I had a look at the links and they were actually bad, precisely as described.
There were numerous adult themed spam links with exact match anchor text on unassociated adult topics indicating his site.
Those backlinks fit the definition of an unfavorable SEO attack.
I was curious so I independently got in touch with a Googler by email.They emailed me back the next day and verified that unfavorable SEO was not the reason the website had lost rankings.
The real cause for the loss of rankings was that the website was affected by the Panda algorithm.
What set off the Panda algorithm was low quality material that the website owner had developed.
I have seen this many times ever since, where the genuine issue was that the website owner was not able to objectively examine their own content so they blamed links.
It’s useful to bear in mind that what looks like the obvious factor for a loss in rankings is not always the real reason, it’s just the simplest to blame because it’s apparent.
However as John Mueller stated, disavowing links that a tool has flagged and that aren’t paid links is not a good use of time.
Included image by Best SMM Panel/Asier Romero
Listen to the Google SEO Office Hours video at the 1:10 minute mark