Google’s Disavow Tool has caused a lot of confusion among webmasters and SEOs. While some SEOs swear by it, others say its only purpose is to help Google find spammers. Unfortunately, Google has only made the issue more confusing, perhaps on purpose, by going back and forth on how and when to use the tool.
When to Use Google’s Disavow Tool
I recommend using the tool in limited circumstances:
- If your site has been penalized.If you notice a nosedive in organic search traffic, there is a good chance your site has been penalized by Google for spammy linking. If you’ve bought or exchanged links, the odds are very good. It might not even be your fault: perhaps you hired an unscrupulous SEO firm or are being attacked by one of your competitors. Either way, it’s important to act fast.Your first order of business is doing as much as possible to manually remove the links. This might involve paying webmasters a nominal fee to do so; beware of pricey services though. Compile all the suspect links and submit them via the Disavow Tool. Follow Google’s formatting instructions closely.Please note: Your rankings will likely not be restored to what they were before you were penalized. In extreme cases, you might have to start your site over from scratch on a different domain.
- If you’ve been warned.If Google has warned you about your link profile, now is a good time to clean it up. Again, do as much as possible to manually remove links before using the tool. Only disavow links that are clearly spam. Just because you haven’t heard of a site that’s linking to you, that doesn’t mean it’s spam. I’ve seen a lot of people needlessly fret over sites linking to them in forums.
When Not to Use the Disavow Tool
If you haven’t been warned or penalized, there’s no need to use the Disavow Tool. You may do more harm than good. Every site has spam sites linking to them. Google expects this. It’s only in extreme circumstances, where linking has obviously been manipulated, that the Disavow Tool should be used.
Have you had success with Google’s Disavow Tool? Comment below.