Not my case study, this one: https://www.blueglass.co.uk/blog/removing-disavow-file-seo-test/?blu=BCLqj2 Read it yourself. Short story, they had a domain penalized in May 2012 that they recovered in October 2013 with a disavow of 977 domains and a reconsideration. Checking the links again in late 2016, they found 69% were still active (674 unique domains). So they killed the disavow file as an experiment. Five months later: The average position is now up to 8.3, from 10.3 Average CTR has increased from 6.75% to 8.26% (22.3% increase) a 37.31% increase in organic traffic Now for my thoughts and a question. Thought One: If those links were so shitty as to warrant disavowing and to get a recovery when they're disavowed, then they were shitty links and are still today shitty links. Thus, this study would suggest that even shitty links can improve rankings. Thought Two: I'm obviously speculating, but for them to recover and then have 1,982 daily clicks before the experiment, this site obviously has some link mojo / equity / authority / whatever. They've got at least 100 referring domains that weren't disavowed, if not way, way more. Thought Three: With the latest Penguin, there were indications from Google that they no longer penalize bad links, they ignore them. This would seem to provide some proof of that, since adding back 674 shitty links didn't hurt, and indeed helped. Thought Four: I've speculated for a while that Google has some kind of authority threshold, after which shitty links can never hurt. They're either ignored or they help. This site, because of it's good link profile, is above that threshold, and so can benefit from shitty links. Thoughts? Rants? Tell me I suck? I didn't see anyone else post this, if they did then a mod can delete it or whatever. Also PBNs are dead SEO is dead we're all going to die.