If you have been thinking about disavowing some of your backlinks, but have been putting off doing so because you haven’t received a manual penalty notification in your Webmaster Tools account Google’s Matt Cutts gives the go ahead to do so.
Naturally some people were more than eager to use the disavow tool to do away with spammy sites linking to them when it first came out. Others were, and still are a little uneasy about doing so.
In a sort of interesting new video posted to the YouTube Google Webmasters Channel Matt recently answered the following question that many people have been seeking clarification about:
Should webmasters use the disavow tool, even if it is believed that no penalty has been applied? For example, if we believe ‘Negative SEO’ has been attempted, or spammy sites we have contacted have not removed links.
In short his answer was yes.
For a longer detailed response from Matt watch the video below.
Should I use the disavow tool even if there’s not a manual action on my site?
In the video he states that the primary use of the disavow tool is for if you have done bad SEO, or you hired an SEO company that built bad links to your site and you can’t get those links removed. He goes on to add feel free to use it even if you don’t have a manual penalty notification in Webmaster Tools.
Up until this point I hadn’t seen anything where Google said go ahead and do so. The majority of what I have read about the Google Disavow Tool generally talked about using it when a manual penalty warning was received in Webmaster Tools.
To me Google seemed to discourage using it by not providing a direct link to it in Webmaster Tools, and they have a noticeable warning displayed on the page as well.
If you watch and listen to the video closely he mentions that you might use it if:
- You think your site may have been hit by negative SEO.
- You see links to your website that you don’t want to be associated with.
- There is a possibility that there was link bomb attack on your website.
- You tried to get a site owner to remove a link, but they ignored your request.
- You are concerned that someone will submit a spam report about you.
- You believe that a Google algorithm update may be affecting your rankings.
I am not so sure that I agree with the way Google does things that are very apparent from Matt’s response in this video. The reason that I say this is not every site owner follows Google SEO. There are plenty of sites out there that could be affected by an algorithmic or manual penalty, and not even know it. Not everyone has a Webmaster Tools account for that matter either.
Who the heck has time to check backlinks on a regular basis to see if you have negative SEO, a link bomb attack, or sites that you don’t want to be associated with linking to yours? Not to mention it is widely believed that you don’t even get access to all of your links in Webmaster Tools. Exactly how do they propose that you go about checking them if you can’t see them all?
As for contacting a website owner and asking them to remove your link, that’s a complete joke if you ask me. Where do they come up with this stuff? Additionally if someone were to contact me using a random GMail address how do I know they are really who they say they are? They could be anyone when you think about it.
If you are interested in disavowing some of the links or websites pointing to your site be sure to check out:
Google Seo and the Disavow Tool
You will find a very good free backlink analyzer and disavow creator tool near the bottom of the article. It’s definitely worth a peek.
A word of warning though, the disavow tool isn’t something you want to mess with if you don’t know what you are doing. Your rankings can potentially decrease if used improperly. Make sure you do plenty of research first.
Although I don’t agree with the extremely time-consuming task of monitoring my backlinks that Google implies we should be doing it is clear that we can disavow them even if we don’t have a manual penalty.