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Why Google Disavow Is Bad News For Us All

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by MatthewWoodward, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. MatthewWoodward

    MatthewWoodward Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Google has officially released the new Disavow Links Tools to webmasters around the world. It was first mentioned at SMX in July and Matt Cutts has now officially announced the tool at PubCon.

    What Is Google Disavow?

    Essentially you upload a list of backlinks and tell Google to ignore them when it is ranking your site.

    Here is the official explanation-
    "If you believe your site's ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site."

    If you read that and think that is the holy grail solution to fix all of your current ranking issues - stop right now and think about this properly.

    Fixing A Problem Google Created

    First of all the only reason we need the Disavow tool is solve a problem that Google created. Historically Google just used to ignore what the algorithm considered to be a low quality link. In fact in 2009 Google even went as far to say not to worry about low quality links.

    Since then they have changed their mind on low quality links and instead of ignoring them like they used to, they now use them as negative votes against a sites ranking.

    Negative SEO Is Born

    This shift in the algorithm is what has allowed negative SEO to be so successful and easy to do. Negative SEO has caused Google a huge problem as they gave SEO's the ability to destroy competitors businesses.

    In less than 10 minutes and a few clicks of a mouse an experienced SEO can cause lasting wide reaching damage to practically any site they choose.

    This is what led Google to create the Disavow tool.

    Crowd Sourced Web Spam Team

    Essentially the Google Disavow tool is nothing more than a glorified crowd sourcing project. Why try to identify low quality links via algorithmic signals when you can get an army of millions of webmasters around the world to do it for you?

    And what better way to motivate that army than by telling them if they do all this work it will help them?

    Why It Is Bad For SEO

    This is nothing more than a bulk snitching tool dressed up as a solution to a problem it doesn't actually solve. Google will be using the data it collects from this tool to clean up the web, discount bad links and hand out penalties left, right & centre.

    The problem is there are so many SEO's that don't really know what they are doing. They are not really sure what is wrong or why they have being penalised. It's these kind of webmasters that will flock to the Disavow tool in the thousands reporting every link they ever bought or built to Google even when it's not a low quality link.

    It could be they are facing an onsite penalty such as Panda or the recent low quality EMD update - but they actually end up reporting a bunch of links that are actually helping them. Google will suddenly have huge volumes of data on what real people consider to be low quality links - it would be naive to think they wouldn't take action with that amount of data in hand.

    A Real Example

    Let's say you used a link building service that delivered great results - you diversified the anchor text well and saw positive movement in the SERPS, fantastic.

    Another customer of that service did the same thing but didn't diversify anchor text correctly and then got a Penguin based penalty. That customer will then go and report all of the links they got from the service provider as low quality links and to ignore them.

    But you also have the same ‘low quality' links pointing at your site...

    See the problem here?

    It's also likely that they would report links they have built/ordered from other services during that period as well in an attempt to undo the damage putting even more webmasters at risk.

    Grass En Masse

    The data Google collects from this tool only serves to hurt SEO's.


    [​IMG]


    You might find some of your most valuable backlinks have being discounted because someone else has incorrectly reported them as low quality.

    You only have to spend 5 minutes on DP to realise how scary giving other people that kind of power actually is. Didn't Google learn anything from the negative SEO mess they created?

    Does It Solve The Problem?

    The whole point of the Disavow tool is to help protect against negative SEO attacks etc

    But does it actually solve the problem?

    No is the answer

    Legitimate websites owners now have the added responsibility of monitoring and cleaning up their link profile - something that used to be done at the algorithm level.

    The Disavow tool won't protect people against penalties - most webmasters don't anticipate a penalty and are only aware of problems when they are penalised. By that point it's too late, the site has already tanked out of the rankings and the damage is done.

    You then have to spend the next few months cleaning things up, often due to no fault of your own. So does the tool protect against negative SEO attacks? Not even a little bit - all it does is help in cleaning up the aftermath of an attack.

    Food For Thought

    I can create millions of low quality link per day at the click of a button - Do you think a webmaster with the Disavow tool could keep up with that volume?

    I doubt it.

    They would have to spend all day every day going through the links and by the time they've done that.... I've built a million more while I was asleep.

    So what is the point?

    Reading Between The Lines

    What all of this actually tells me is that Google are having a hard time keeping up with modern day link spam. It has got to the point now where some link building tactics are so advanced that Google just cannot identify the spam via an algorithm anymore and need to crowd source the discovery and identification of link spam.

    It's ironic because Google put a lot of effort into fear mongering and claiming their algorithms are more sophisticated than they actually are. Then in the next breath they drop their pants & wave the white flag by releasing the Disavow tool.

    [​IMG]

    Credit Where It Is Due

    Google created this tool to solve a problem they created that they cannot solve algorithmically.

    They clearly lack the ability to identify and discount ‘low quality' links at the algorithm level so have dressed up the disavow tool in a way that enslaves an army of unknowing grasses.

    Credit where it is due! That is a superb piece of marketing right there, there is one problem though...

    The New Age of Negative SEO

    What provides additional comical value is that you can use Disavow tool - you know the one to protect against negative SEO attacks, to launch negative SEO attacks against your competitors. What happens if a site gets multiple reports against it via the Disavow tool? Does Google downgrade that sites authority? What's stopping me from logging multiple complaints against the same site?

    It wouldn't be that difficult to do.

    You could use trackback spam to get your link onto the competitor's site and then report it as a low quality link.

    Do that 100 times with 100 different webmaster tool accounts & sites and you're laughing! Heck I could even automate the entire process end to end with a series of web 2.0 sites, Scrapebox and Webmaster Tools accounts.

    Not that the Disavow tool even protects against the initial attack anyway, you can still take a site out with negative SEO just as easily now as you could before. Now we just have another tool in the negative SEO arsenal, thanks Google!

    Welcome to the new age of Negative SEO.

    Don't Be A Mong

    So in summary, don't be a mong by using the Disavow tool.

    Leave the monging to Google, they are doing a fantastic job at that on their own.

    This was taken from my blog post http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/tips/why-google-disavow-is-bad-news-for-seo/
     
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  2. davids355

    davids355 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I disagree. From googles point of view, it's sensible what they are doing with regard to penalising low quality links and the sites they point to - its a sure way of finding spam - obviously this can be used to disrupt a site from a negative Seo point of view, but that will be the same whatever preventative measures google introduce.

    The answer for us is just to take heed of googles new algorithms and build links that don't get flagged up - no different than Seo has ever been.

    Is the tool bad, I guess so because by using it you are effectively giving google inside information.
    However, one of my sites has about 3k back links and received a penalty, so I either risk building another 2-3k to even out the numbers, or I get them all disregarded- I think the later is the best option for me.
     
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  3. ja1myn

    ja1myn Senior Member

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    I really wish you didn't include the last part of your post seeing as though you know there will always be dumbasses out there trying to use this thing to their advantage and to their advantage only. Half the people in internet marketing have the IQ no higher than that of a paperclip and you pretty much just laid out a complete road map for them to use this thing to further negative SEO their competitors.

    All in all though, I am also not in favor of this new "tool". Tools are pieces of technology designed to help make life easier but, as you stated, it only screws up the world of SEO further.
     
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  4. bryanon

    bryanon Executive VIP Premium Member

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    Well said.

    I don't agree with all of it and quite frankly don't believe that Google are as "evil" as some people want to make it sound, but your post does raise interesting points and even if the original plan for the tool was to provide genuine help against negative SEO and unfair penalties, Google would be stupid not to use the wealth of information they will get in deciding how to rank sites.
     
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  5. pangolin123

    pangolin123 Regular Member

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    This thread need to be Stickied and displayed in a Pop Up for all SEO webmasters to see. Good post!
     
  6. adkisraels

    adkisraels Newbie

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    This thread need to be Stickied and

    in a Pop Up for all SEO webmasters to see. Good post!​






    +1
     
  7. MaxTucker

    MaxTucker Regular Member

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    MatthewWoodward is right, and I know something even more shocking about Google!!!

    Google is really run by aliens know as The Baylesions. The Baylesions landed on Earth from Raptichicala 124 years ago. Ever since that time they have been taking control of every large corporation. With all their money they form new corporations. They own Google, they erected the Google empire to steal all of our identities!! Don't you all see? They own Google, Apple, Windows and the world media.

    They serve us false news and hide the truth about the Baylesion lizard people sightings but I see them! They are even making their own mobile phone devices now and they ironically named them Androids!!!!

    They plan to use Androids for their evil plans to suck in our souls (but only a very small portion of our souls since it only has a 64gb storage capacity and the average soul is well over 20tb large). Every time you look into the screen you lose a part of your soul in the storage device.

    Once they evil Baylesions take enough souls they will put them together using the combined power of the Google search algorithm computer. Then with one very large soul they will create the Baylesion super soul lizard and he will bring damnation upon us!!!!

    They own McDonald's and all other fast food chains too. The food they feed us through those chains serves to weaken our defenses against the Baylesion super soul lizard.

    .
    .
    .

    Shit, sorry, what am I talking about? I just got caught up in the whole conspiracy theory vibe of this thread and went a little crazy for a minute.

    Back to reality.

    Maybe Google is not lying, maybe there isn't some dark hidden conspiracy behind everything they do. Maybe, just maybe, they created the tool for the very reason they stated and nothing more. I know it is crazy to think this way but maybe Google isn't as bad as everybody here thinks.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  8. DamageX

    DamageX Elite Member

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    The sky is falling!
     
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  9. jstover77

    jstover77 Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Yeah maybe, but I am still going to try it on a couple sites that have been wacked. What do I have to lose? Nothing.

    I think you are jumping to conclusions here. Ultimately you/we have no idea how this tool will affect the SEO community as a whole. It's all pure conjecture.
     
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  10. manny521

    manny521 Supreme Member

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    I'm trying to figure out how to decide which links are bad and which one's I should not report. I just downloaded my link list from GWT and there are about 9,000 links in the list.

    Tell me guys what you think of this.

    I track about 140 keyword phrases for my site. I know the keyword phrases where I have been penalized, so I am thinking if the keyword phrase has been penalized and if I see a link on the list with the exact anchor text as the penalized keyword then I will ask for it to be deleted.

    I think its a pretty straight forward strategy as I don't show up for those keywords anyways, so not having those links doesn't really matter.
     
  11. peter-porn

    peter-porn Newbie

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    very good point of view...
     
  12. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

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    This is simply a tool. It will get used for its purpose and any other purpose that someone can think of. Like all tools, it can be useful or detrimental.

    This is my problem, trying to find all the links to your site is impossible, you only find what the scrapers show you. No one in their right mind will actually say they know how exactly how many links point to their site. If you cant even find them all, how the hell you going to disavow them?
    I see this tool as a bail out bucket. When you get the unnatural links message, you start trying to keep the site afloat by bailing out those inks.

    The biggest problem I see on my end is I now must actively monitor all my (customers too!) sties new links as they appear in able to disavow the ones from bad neighborhoods.

    This adds maintenance to my schedule that I did not have to do before, and I have to take action when these are found or risk my rankings.

    I just hope there is a "no penalty" threshold for most sites, especially local.

    PROGRAMMER ALERT

    Build a scraper using a list of known bad link partners that some one can run their site against so it will automatically locate links from these known bad actors and submit the disavow automatically.

    Charge a monthly fee to "keep your website link spam free"

    Profit
    (cut me in at 5% for the idea)
     
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  13. jstover77

    jstover77 Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I would say get rid of the links that are obviously for the purpose of gaming Google's algorithm. Look at factors such as relevancy, website authority, amount of OBLs ect..
     
  14. manny521

    manny521 Supreme Member

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    I agree with what you are saying and that is all fine and dandy, but in reality every link I built was built to game Google's algorithm...but I still rank for the majority of those 140 keyword phrases (all long tail) whereas the money keywords is where I have been hit. Yeah, not very excited about going through these links!
     
  15. jstover77

    jstover77 Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    In that case I wouldn't even touch it then. Again, I want to test this tool out, but only on sites that have no rankings and very little traffic compared to what they used to.
     
  16. thejake

    thejake Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Love how OP assumes that disavowing links affects other sites and several swallow the related rhetoric.
     
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  17. ja1myn

    ja1myn Senior Member

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    Lol don't disavow any links then. You're gonna catch Google's eye once they look deeper into your portfolio of backlinks.

    I do have to agree with the OP though. Who else is going to disavow links besides SEOs? Obviously a huge majority of the webmasters that do disavow links will have partaken in black hat tactics. It's gonna raise a massive flag like I said above.

    He's saying once a ton of sites start reporting the same links it's going to shut down a lot of black hat methods, which makes perfect sense. Not that just because one site gets disavowed will it get slammed automatically.
     
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  18. MaxTucker

    MaxTucker Regular Member

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    Here is my own personal conspiracy theory. I think Matthew is gearing up to sell something. He is raising his profile on BHW by starting threads like this and his 2 hour long backlinking video course. He is giving away prizes worth hundreds of dollars. He is giving away tons of free crap, why? Is it because he is a nice guy?

    No, he is creating a profile as a Google hating Blackhat guru who at some point is going to release some 'revolutionary' product we all must buy.

    Yes, this is all conjecture, but it follows nicely with the theme of this thread.
     
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    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  19. eng152

    eng152 Power Member

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    [​IMG]
     

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  20. TwistedSEO

    TwistedSEO Regular Member

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    Not to mention you'll have to be careful linking out to related authority sites on buffer pages since the authority sites can even report your buffer link as low quality. And who knows if google gives more weight to disavow votes coming from higher authority sites or not.