Last week, I was reading 2 great posts written and published by the digital guru Neil Patel on his own blog.Â I respect his knowledge and admire the fact that he still manages to compile long, detailed and informative mega posts regularly even though he has a ton of stuff to meet for his loyal audience. Iâ€™m one of them.
In one of those posts, Neil wrote about link penalties and tried to shed some light on how to use the Googleâ€™s Disavow tool against the sites that are outranking your site for your own content. So, the original content is yours, but people are finding a way to rank their sites above your site on the search results with the help of syndicated content policy.
If you think that is wrong, you are free to claim this by disavowing links on those sites that have syndicated content.
Read on to discover why you should disavow links, how you would do that and a lot moreâ€¦
Googleâ€™s disavow tool
The disavow tool allows you to disavow or disclaim your association with the links that you think are stealing important rankings. In an ideal scenario, the disavow tool is definitely useful because you can use it to fight negative SEO and improve your siteâ€™s rankings.
Negative SEO is rare, but it still has some existence. Most websites with a drop in their rankings suspect that negative SEO has caused the rankings to drop, but that is not true. Only a few sites are affected by negative SEO, and when that happens, the affected websites have to use Googleâ€™s disavow tool for recovery. The use of disavow tool for recovery is always a success.
So, other than fighting negative SEO, there are a couple of other uses of the Disavow tool.
Sites that were involved in bad link building in the past and are now trying to switch to good ways of building links can make use of the Disavow tool.
Sites that are hit by a manual penalty also need to use the Disavow tool when they submit a reconsideration request to Google in order to get out of the penalty.
How you would use the Googleâ€™s Disavow tool
There are instances where using the disavow tool gives a negative result. Webmasters use the tool to unfortunately disavow the links that are not bad. Google considers those links very good for ranking, but unfortunately the SEO professionals end up disavowing those links and in turn the rankings get affected negatively.
So, before you disavow certain links, you have to be 100% sure that those links are suspicious and not going to add any value to your rankings or website health.
Using Googleâ€™s disavow tool is easy.
Once you have made sure which links you would disavow and you have the list of those bad links ready, you can go to the Google disavow tool page here. Ignore the warning since youâ€™re sure that you are going to disavow the right links. All you need to do is select the property and proceed further.
Once youâ€™ve submitted the request itâ€™s all up to Google then. Google will take a few days to process your request and disavow the links youâ€™ve submitted.
But keep in mind that
Disavowing links is only the last option after every other option has failed. If a manual removal does the job for you, there is absolutely no need to go for disavowing links.
You have to select all the right back links for disavowing, because if you select the wrong links, then you might end up damaging your SEO.
Disavowing links, if correctly done, will make your link profile clean and healthy.
Why you should disavow links ?
The disavow tool was originally created to help website owners fight the negative SEO. If there are bad back-links (for example sketchy links pointing at your website, links from spam sites, links in spam comments or back-links from sites in your non-target countries) you should either remove those links or disavow them.Â Disavowing links is the last and final thing you would consider to tell everyone, more importantly Google, that you are not at all associated with those links or the sites that contain those links.
So, always remember that you would only use the Disavow tool as the last option, when everything else fails.
Hereâ€™s the caution again: Google warns you about using the Disavow Tool. The warning message on their support page says the Disavow Tool is an advanced feature that can only be used with caution. If you use the tool incorrectly, then it may backfire and harm your siteâ€™s performance in the search results rather than helping.
Canonicalization or Disavow?
So, if a site is outranking your site for the content even though the content originally belongs to you, disavowing links is a very good choice for you.
If you see that the site with syndicated content from your site places a canonical tag on all syndicated content, you should do that.
With that said, if there is no danger or harm to your websiteâ€™s ranking, then there is nothing to worry about. I mean, if the site is republishing your original content by using the syndicated content policy but it is not a toxic or spam site, and is not outranking your site for the content or harming your other search engine rankings, you donâ€™t need to disavow links from that site.
So, to sum it up,
Disavowing links works when a site is spam or has republished your own content and outranked your site for the same content.
The main purpose of using the disavow tool is to fight negative SEO rather than keeping your competitors from ranking for your original content that is syndicated.
But you should not use the tool haphazardly. Use it only when you are absolutely sure about using it. Donâ€™t take it lightly.
If you are looking for a full-service search agency that would take care of your SEO needs and help protect your site against manual penalties or content syndication issues, SEO Extent could be a great option for you. Let us know your struggle, and we will be right there for help.