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The Link Disavow Tool – Google Just Isn’t That Into You

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The Link Disavow Tool – Google Just Isn’t That Into You

When the link disavow tool was introduced at Pubcon 2012, many greeted it as an answer to their prayers. Looked upon as a reset button to rebuild a website or link profile, many were stunned when their link disavows were met with – nothing.  I’ve read a few stories where websites have bounced back after a link disavow was processed, but in every one of these cases, a painstaking process of link removals and reconsideration requests were also involved.

Meanwhile back at the Google Ranch

In slide 12 from Matt Cutts Pubcon presentation , two important points were highlighted in red:

“Don’t use this tool unless you are sure you need to use it”
Most sites shouldn’t use this tool

In Matt’s Disavow Links Video, he drives home the point that you need to make multiple link removal requests on your own. Once you have a “small fraction” of links left to remove, you should then use the tool.

In a follow up interview, when asked how long it would take to see results, Matt answered:

“It can definitely take some time, and potentially months. There’s a time delay for data to be baked into the index. Then there can also be the time delay after that for data to be refreshed in various algorithms”.

I’ve suspected from the introduction of this “new tool” that it may be nothing more than a “new feature” added to an old tool – The Spam Report. I don’t think Google is interested in a micro approach to fixing link spam one website at a time. Like spam reports, I believe Link disavow reports go directly to Web spam engineers and are used to devise scalable solutions. This could also explain the “baked into the index” comment.

That’s my take – what do you think?


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Chuck Price

Founder at Measurable SEO

Chuck Price is founder of Measurable SEO and former COO of We Build Pages (now He's been in digital ... [Read full bio]

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