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Disowning the Disavow Tool

By October 30, 2019Wednesday Workshop

In this week’s Wednesday Workshop, Kelcey shares why it’s time to stop using the disavow tool in Google Search Console so liberally. Using this tool incorrectly can come with some pretty negative consequences. Watch now or read on to find out why you should disown the disavow tool.


Welcome back to another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn!

Have you heard of Google’s disavow tool? In case the answer is ‘No,’ we want to define it for you.

The disavow tool is an element of Google Search Console that allows a website to tell the search engine that they don’t want certain external links to be considered in their backlink profile.

In theory, it’s a pretty neat tool, as it removes all associations of a negative link to your site; but many websites are abusing its capabilities. Today, we’re going to talk about why you should disown the disavow tool for your site.

The disavow tool launched about seven years ago, but its use has been chronically misunderstood pretty much ever since.

While this tool is good for sites that have received a manual action penalty, Google has confirmed several times that there isn’t much of a need to use it nowadays due to the positive repercussions of the Penguin 4.0 algorithm update.

What’s more, many Google Search Console users who haven’t faced a manual penalty aren’t even sure that the tool has done anything to improve their rankings.

Some have even said that using the tool harmed their website’s visibility, as blind use of the tool can negatively impact your backlink profile.

So, what are you supposed to do if you have a bad link pointing to your site?

First of all, you need to try getting the link removed more directly. It’s much safer to ask that the link in question be removed or nofollowed on the originating site.

Then, if this method doesn’t work, submitting a disavow file can give you some peace of mind; but remember: the algorithm is discounting bad links anyway, so this tool kind of archaic.  

Here’s the key takeaway: It’s time for you to disown the disavow tool unless you have a manual penalty on your site and you know what you’re doing. Proceeding in any other way can really harm your site’s visibility.

That’s all the time we have for today’s workshop. As always, if you have questions or comments leave ‘em down below, and we’ll get back to you shortly. Thanks for watching. We’ll see you next week with another Wednesday Workshop from DealerOn.

Author Kelcey Drapp

Kelcey Drapp is an SEO Manager working at DealerOn since 2015, and in the digital space for nearly a decade. Kelcey enjoys digging deep into SEO research to discover the 'why,' and helping clients realize their potential for success online. In addition to her work in local SEO, Kelcey also likes to volunteer her digital marketing skills for non-profits in need. When Kelcey is not working, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and spending time with her husband, son, & three dogs.

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