Google’s disavow links tool apparently doesn’t work with the new domain properties in Search Console.
This was discovered yesterday by Kristen Stack who alerted us to the issue on Twitter:
Did you know you can't disavow in new GSC? Verified a domain property a couple months ago – I wanna ❌ a gambling site that linked to me. But if I go to the disavow tool in webmasters, the dropdown won't work.@sengineland @googlewmc @lilyraynyc @sejournal #SEO #Google
— Kristen Stack (@thekristenstack) May 24, 2019
Domain properties were introduced as a way to streamline the process of adding domain variants.
Instead of verifying the www, non-www, HTTP, and HTTPS versions individually you can simply add a domain property which automatically pulls in data for all variations of a domain.
It has now come to light that adding a domain property also removes the ability to disavow links pointing to the domain.
In addition, those who verify exclusively with a domain property also lose access to the old Search Console and all the features that haven’t been ported over yet.
The disavow tool is among the legacy features that haven’t been ported over yet, but it’s still accessible from the old Search Console as long as your domain variants are verified individually.
Is the disavow links tool still necessary?
According to recent comments from Google’s John Mueller, there are some within the company who are in favor of removing the disavow links tool.
Here’s his statement from a Reddit thread (emphasis mine):
“There’s a lot to be said for removing a feature that worries many folks, and suggests they need to do unnecessary work (assuming we can be sure that we handle it well automatically)… That’s certainly one way to look at it, and it’s a view that some folks here share as well. If we can remove unnecessary complexity from these tools, I’m all for that — there’s enough other work involved with running a good website.”
Mueller refers to the fact that Google’s algorithm has a way of identifying bad links and ignoring them when it comes to determining where a page should rank.
If you’re not comfortable with putting all your trust in an algorithm to disregard spammy links, then you can continue to access the disavow tool by avoiding the use of domain properties.