Should I use the disavow tool even if there's not a manual action on my site?

Should webmasters use the disavow tool, even if it is believed that no penalty has been applied? For example, if we believe ‘Negative SEO’ has been attempted, or spammy sites we have contacted have not removed links.
James, Bristol, UK

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21 thoughts on “Should I use the disavow tool even if there's not a manual action on my site?”

  1. RE: Making Disavow links easier to use.  I made a similar suggestion in Google Webmaster forums a few days ago and got laughed out of town by the script-kiddies.  We also have a site receiving thousands of bag links with porn in the anchor text.  This has killed our raning – and so far Disavow has done nothing.

  2. Or someone else (i.e. Your competitor) has hired a bad SEO to drive spammy links to your money site. How come no one, especially Google ever talks about the Penguin feeding the Elephant in the room?

  3. When Google first introduced this tool they suggested to be very careful with it and don't use it unless you know exactly what your are doing. Now it seems to becoming the part of our everyday jobs.

    Obviously we don't want to use this for 1 or 2 links. My question is, what is acceptable percentage of suspicious links over natural links?. For website like ours we have more than 300,000 backlinks. Should we always be watching our back?

  4. I've used the Disavow tool and 3 months later the same sites are still appearing to link to my site in my webmasters report – when can you expect google to acknowledge you don't want to be associated with certain sites and remove them from your incoming links on webmaster tools ?

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  6. The real problems are all those scrapers and sites linking to our pdf's that have nothing to do with what we are and what we sell. Why are they linking to my PDF's? Should I disavow them? And what about all those directories that scraped content… there must be 200 directories with our listing on them.

  7. … in other words negative SEO works. This opens a door to a really sad tactics that we will most likely see in some competitive niches – build a bunch of spammy links to your competitor for few months, submit few spam reports and bingo – one site down deep in manual penalty/disavow/reconsideration requests and so on – 6 months down the drain never mind the expenses. 
    Why not simply assign value 0 to those "spammy links" instead of penalizing?

  8. Dear +Matt Cutts – i am really offended by the fact you always say "did bad seo"… in the real world people spam each other websites to gain better positions in the search results… They don't care – it only takes 15 minutes to set up a working software and then its click & forget.  

    You should not punish websites which are being linked from bad places but punish the websites that are containers for bad links which are mostly un-maintained forums…. as easy as it is (i even built a helper tool) to do the disavow it still takes time and encourages spammers to spam your website.

    You should really re-think the drive you put behind the disavow campaign… better to de-index spammy websites – they have no to little content anyway… better to notify those websites via the webmaster tools and not to encourage spammers to spam even more. 

    Also (final note i promise) think about the small business owners. you are basically perpetuating un-needed seo work (and not a good brand & unique content building part) by putting such emphasis on bad links. Small business owners don't have the time or the know how (and they really shouldn't have) to clean bad links themselves…

    in short – you should hire a good seo guy to consult you LOL <– hiring? ;))

    Just some food for thought 
    Best regards, Sagive

  9. Doluble speech, as always.
    You said that this wasnt a tool to use frecuently and also you said that tool was no for everyone. You have to be careful
    Now : feel free to use it if you cant sleep

  10. im really pleased with this question – and answer!  My site got hit hard by penguin and the homepage (which previously ranked in position #1 for 'all inclusive holidays') still does not appear in the first 20 pages despite easily being the most informative site within our niche (by a long way)  We employed an seo and didn't understand what they did – big mistake however we didn't ever receive any kind of warning in WMT.  Perhaps now we can disavow everything and wipe the slate clean?

  11. Thanks. Was actually wondering about this, even though we've never had a manual action; we do have 230,000 sites linking to us (or some crazy thing) after 14 years, and it's been interesting to look at some of the junk sites linking to us for no apparent reasons.

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