Is it possible to revive website ranking with Google Disavow tool?

Link disavowing has generated a lot of buzz in the SEO world these days. Facts say that it is an effective way to revive website ranking within a very short period that is about 3 to 5 days. However, Matt Cutts from Google has something else to say. He says that website ranking recovery within 3 to 5 days is like a fairy tale, and in actuality, the whole process might take potentially some months because of the fact that data takes time to get refreshed in algorithms. However, the recovery process is not as simple as it might sound. With utmost seriousness and investment of time, it is performed. In any case, it is the only tool webmasters have at their disposal, for giving another shot to their rankings. So, let us take a look at how should it be executed.
  • Google Disavow Tool needs to be used with caution. The webmasters, which are not involved in aggressive SEO or paid link networks, they must not try it.
  • Until unless one is not sure of which backlinks are good for their website and which are not, one must avoid hampering present performance of their website ranking, as things can turn out to be adverse.
  • Matt Cutts has suggested to professionals that this tool should not be used like reset button, at times when things turn out to be negative because of penalty given by Google.
As discussed above using Disavow Tool is neither easy nor a short process. Reason behind this fact is that before the disavowals go into effect, Google need to re-crawl and re-index the URLs, which takes up months. Google Disavow tool Alongside this, it is not a sure-some process as well because Google can ignore the disavow request also. Last but not least, there’s no transparency in the process. However, when everything else has got failed and this is the only way to go, then it can be used, but carefully. Before using the tool, webmaster need to be sure of few things-
  • Has Google made systematical and periodical changes to its algorithms
  • Is there any change in website architecture
  • Are backlinks leading to ranking fluctuations
  • Is competition affecting your webpages ranking
Affected sites will either be facing manual penalty or algorithmic. Manual penalty will get notification via Google Webmaster Tools account and algorithmic penalty will not get any direct notification from Google. Significant drop down changes in ranking will be clear indicator of algorithmic penalty. Once it is 100% sure that it is algorithmic penalty, then comes the procedure of uploading Google Disavow file, which involves few steps-
  • Audit: In this step, bad links are searched, which is responsible for downfall of ranking. These are links from bad neighborhood sites, links from sites created exclusively for SEO purposes, sidebar links etc.
  • Data analysis & interpretation: Analyzing those links is next step to be followed. Though it is not necessary that all links are bad. Some may be useful; some may not be bad links, therefore, webmaster need to prioritize it.
  • Build strong foundation: In order to get rid of penalty, it’s important to get updated with Google policies and updates, so that a strong documentation can be build.
  • Removal of unnatural links: The very first move after determining the links is to remove those from the web.
In order to use Disavow File, webmaster needs to make a text file and write all those URLs from which one wants to get rid of. Once URLs are written, it is needed to be uploaded and rest is the job of Disavow File. At time, when some links are need to be un-disavow, the uploaded file is needed to be downloaded and links that are needed to be ignore they are to be removed and then file is to be re-uploaded. The uploaded file needs to look good because bad file would take make the process even longer than expected. Therefore, following things are to be kept into mind:
  • Use of regular text file instead of doc, excel, spreadsheets, etc.
  • Instead of putting each bad link in text file, the domain with lot of spammy links over your site that must be directly written into the file. This will help Google to easily crawl the problem; otherwise crawling on each link coming from the same domain would take longer time to disavow the links.
  • Avoid giving details of context or extra details in the disavow link text file. In case, if required to give details then it is needed to be given in reconsideration request, not in the link text file.
Moreover, compelling evidences is needed to be placed in documentation convincing Google that things will not happen again. Webmaster must provide details like current SEO state of your site; what happened; who created those links; what actions were taken to recover etc. On the whole, a confession stating that it won’t happen again and in future things would be carried out with responsibility is to be documented. Once Google is convinced with documentation, the links would be disavowed. However, it is not possible to see the successful or unsuccessful disavows. This can only be determined with traffic on the website, as with increase of traffic, it would be clear that links are removed and if not, then links are not disavowed. However, by the time, Google takes time to remove those links; webmaster must focus on other aspects like quality; work towards building and create original content for the website. Last and most importantly stop working on old SEO strategies.

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