SEO 101: Is a Fast Google Penalty Recovery Possible Using the Google Disavow Tool?

3-Day Google Penalty Recovery using the Google Disavow Tool?

If your website falls prey to a Google Penalty, could you “resurrect” your website in search engine rankings within a very short period of time (such as 3 to 5 days) as some companies claim? Google penalties and link disavowing have probably generated more buzz and notoriety in the SEO world than any other subject. Throughout this article we will outline the main steps of the whole disavow process and figure out whether a small number of days toward recovery is possible by analyzing Google’s position and listing all the necessary steps and timings in a disavow process.

First, let’s see how much time is Google telling us it might last. Below, you can see a screenshot taken form the Google Webmaster Support that outlines the fact that the process might take a number of weeks as recrawling the web takes a while.

Is a 3 Day Google Penalty Recovery Possible Using the Google Disavow Tool?

Screenshot taken 16/05/2014 of

Yet, as the world-wide web got bigger and bigger so did the search engine, and as Matt Cutts says, the engineers from Google “refresh a large fraction of the index every few days”. This could mean the  disavow process might be, indeed, shorter than a few weeks but a 3-5 day recovery is still a long shot.

However, the index is not the only part we are interested in. The recovery process also includes the time necessary for a website to be back on the track . So, beside the time that it takes to recrawl, we are also be interested in the overall time that it takes to be on Google’s golden list. In an interview he gave to Danny Sullivan, Matt Cutts mentioned the whole process might take some months so a 3-5 day recovery sounds more and more like a fairy tale and less like a grounded theory.

Is a 3 Day Google Penalty Recovery Possible Using the Google Disavow Tool?

Screenshot taken 16/05/2014 of

We’ve searched the internet, but we didn’t find any reliable case study of a “3 day recovery”. There may be processes through which you could speed up the Google bot to recrawl a list of links faster but, as we mentioned before, the recovery procedure takes way longer and it does not just involve the recrawl time. Why does it take longer?

Lets review the steps that need to be followed in this complex process, so we can have a clear image of why this whole process needs to be treated with the maximum seriousness and with a great investment of time and energy.

Use With Caution!

The old concept of SEO, which is blamed for the Google penalties, is very much like a blade, in that there are both intended and unintended ways of using it.

In the most basic sense, if you use a blade to spread peanut butter on bread it’s good, whereas if you use it to stab people it’s wrong.

Similarly, if you use SEO to organically grow it’s good, whereas if you use it to simply bolster rating through whatever means necessary, it’s not  Of course, sometimes you may find yourself in a predicament where Google suspects you’ve been rigging the game, but you have no knowledge of it. That’s usually when you want to set the record straight and come clean as soon as possible. Apparently, Google wants that as well, so it created a tool specifically designed to help you clear your name (and website) if you feel you’ve been wronged: the Google Disavow Tool. It’s not really supposed to be the weapon of choice, though. “Most people do not need to use this tool” said Matt Cutts. If you’re a normal webmaster doing normal stuff, not doing really aggressive SEO or paid link networks, most likely, you don’t need to use this tool. Under normal circumstances, you shouldn’t need to use this. Even when you’ll try to load the tool you’ll see a lot of disclaimers, warning you that under normal circumstances, this tool shouldn’t be needed.

3 Day Google Penalty Recovery using the Google Disavow Tool?

You should only use this tool if you get a message in Google Webmaster Tools “encouraging” you to do so, or if you really think there is an issue with your links and want to clean up. You should know a bit about the technical things behind the tool before you do it. This is a really powerful tool that could bring your site up or down in the Google SERPs. You shouldn’t go overboard with it -disavow is not the answer to all your site’s ills. Much like the “Don’t try this at home!” warnings at the beginning of stunt performances, “Use with caution” is the omnipresent label at the beginning of every article and tutorial about this tool.

If you pick the wrong backlinks to disavow, you may harm your site’s rankings in Google.

Unless you are absolutely sure which backlinks are helping your site rank and which are harming it, avoid further hurting your site’s performance in search by trying different avenues. Matt Cutts cannot emphasize enough that the disavow tool should not be used as a “reset button.”

Razvan Gavrilas
Razvan is the Founder and Chief Architect of cognitiveSEO, an SEO Toolset focused on in-depth analysis of ranking signals. His passion for search engine marketing led him to create his own SEO Toolset, trying to solve the issues that he is facing in the search engine optimization field.
Razvan Gavrilas

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15 thoughts on “SEO 101: Is a Fast Google Penalty Recovery Possible Using the Google Disavow Tool?

  1. It can definitely be done. I rarely ever comment on anything, but this is crazy that this post came up on my feed as we just had a new client we submitted a disavow for on Wednesday and I just literally got word 5 minutes ago that the partial penalty has been lifted. On the opposite side of the spectrum, we also had a newly onboarded client with a site-wide penalty that took about two+ months and a third time disavow file to get back into the good graces.

      1. Hello, Razvan

        Your stuff is great and simply guide for me and also all SEO’s…

        Just one things.

        I am too surprised with Google action, and did’t get any notification in webmaster, but traffic & ranking has hug drooped in SERP, Analytics. Can’t able to Look which penilty is applyed, if it’s manual penalties/Algorithm then should be notify, but did’t getting anything so please tell.

  2. That Disavow tool is totally waste of time, it take months and some time years to update. Don’t try this at all.

    1. I totally disagree. the disavow tool is used as it should helped and helps a lot of sites to recover. a lot of documentation on the net on how to best do it. and a lot of confusion also. just need to read between the lines and extract what is really worthwhile.

  3. I have tried Disavow tool. Although my site didn’t get a penalty but there was a drastic drop in the rankings due to a slightly “irrelevant” backlink. Its been almost 6 weeks now and that link still shows up in my back-links file from GWT. I am still waiting for the ranking to improve. Meanwhile, for the lost traffic, I have put accelerator on the social scene.

    1. the link will always be in GWT. disavow does not remove the link from GWT. you need to use specialized software to track the links and mark that as disavowed if you need to have a correct view of the link profile.

  4. I client came to me with 2 manual penalties for links. One affecting an internal page, the other sitewide. I completed a disavow and a week later they were ranking again.

    It seems odd there is no rough time after submitting a disavow to it taking effect. Must just be luck of the draw!

  5. Hey Razen,

    I almost read every of your article in your cognitive blogs and here too. Manuel penalty can be recover with in a month but how to recover form algorithm penalty ?. I applied my links in Disvow tool and since from three months ago and every 15 days i update them with editing txt file. Still not saw any improvement in my website. I think Now Disavow tool not working properly.

    1. John, i am humbled to hear that you follow all the post I write here and on cognitiveSEO. Algorithmic penalties sometime can be recovered, sometimes it may need an algorithm refresh from Google. You can not really know until you do the correct Disavow and maybe start to create natural links to your site mixed with some removal. It also really depends on the percentage of unnatural links that you may have. some sites may be that affected that they can not be recovered. Usually 30%-40% unnatural links profiles can be recovered though.

  6. About 6 months back our small business was hit pretty hard in the serp’s, only to discover that we were given a manual action penalty by Google. Once we figured this out we used a company to help get things corrected, and have since returned to a more favorable position. Not as good as we were before, but definitely a place to rebuild from. This online marketing game is tough when you’re a small business and dependent on other companies to guide you.

  7. Razvan, Cemper’s Link Research Tools offer the so called 3 day recovery with a boost that is far too expensive at this point. I am hesitant to try it because of the price, and your breakdown here cements what I already knew and gut feelings.

  8. Hey Razvan,

    After doing my own research, and reading some of these comments as well, I think it’s safe to say the the Google disavow tool is inconsistent at best. Yes there are great success stories, however their are those that are still waiting months later.

    However when you think about it, doesn’t this make the most sense? If Google gave everyone the ability to instantly wipe the slate clean and start over, you would open the door for even more spammers and more rubbish content online. It would be to easy to just keep using the disavow tool until you found the spam tactic that worked. I know others may not want to hear this, but Googles inconsistency is actually the best thing for search right now. Just my opinion.