Are you in the dark as to why your website recently lost search rankings?
Maybe you once had page one rankings and now find your website search rankings in the toilet.
Or maybe you’ve been working to optimize your site now for a year or more, and have yet to rank within the top 50 search ranking positions.
If you don’t closely follow SEO algorithm updates on a regular basis or are new to SEO in general, then you could very well find yourself SEO’ing in the dark.
Well, it’s time to shed light on your SEO woes and rehab your website’s search rankings.
Today we’re going to talk about one method to do so: using the link disavow tool in Google Webmaster Tools.
We won’t get into the nuts and bolts of how the disavow tool works, but we will discuss when it’s best to use the disavow tool to rehab search rankings.
The missing link to search rankings tanking
I’ve had a number of conversations with both potential and existing customers about why their website search rankings are less than stellar, or were once ranking on page one and now have tanked. For some, identifying their less than stellar search rankings is quite easy.
Sometimes websites are manually or algorithmically penalized for a subpar user experience that includes:
- Too many ads on a page
- Too many ads above the fold
- Excessive sitewide links
- Convoluted site architecture and navigation
- Duplicate content
- Thin content
- Keyword stuffing and the list goes on…
Website owners either unknowningly or knowingly participated in some deceptive SEO tactic or strategy trying to increase website search rankings and traffic.
But most of the time, participation deceptive SEO includes some sort of link building scheme for the sole purpose of manipulating search engines to rank their website.
When and why you should disavow low-quality links
For instance, website owners that use guest posting and blogging as a way to build and increase their backlinking profile.
There is nothing wrong with guest posting and blogging, per se.
However, guest posting and blogging on any and every website known to man will tank your search engines.
One of the very reasons I don’t guest post or blog is the fact that I could be associating my website and all of my hard work in sound SEO to someone’s site that could be using deceptive SEO practices.
My website could lose it’s domain authority and search rankings all because of guest posts and blogs of content with a few inbound links.
Another thought to consider is based upon your website being linked to a website that was once deemed high quality and now severely penalized by search engines.
Their severe penalization will ultimately impact your website if a good percentage of your backlinking profile is their website or another low-quality, penalized website.
And at the crossroads of bad linking building strategies is where I find most of my potential customers.
Whether by paid links, guest posts and blogs, negative SEO on behalf of a competitor, press release abuse, or partial or exact match anchor text linking to name just a few, I find that most scenarios where search rankings have tanked to be nothing but a link disavow tool away from rehabilitating search rankings and the website back into the good graces of search engines.
Now, I caution you about the use of the link disavow tool (see video below).
DO NOT use this tool as a quick fix method for your bad decision making to have participated in deceptive link building schemes as it could cause more harm for your website to the point of being de-indexed.
That said, if it is you that participated in paid links of any sort or you have a manual penalty, then I recommend that you put in the hard work yourself to contact website owner with an inbound link to your website, asking them to remove the link.
Yes, this is a lot of hard work if you have thousands of links running rampant throughout the Internet, but it is the consequence in trying to shortcut your way to page one rankings.
So there, deal with it!
In your case, I would only recommend using the disavow tool when you have exhausted all other methods and measures of communicating with the webmaster of the websites linking to your website.
If you choose to use the link disavow tool as your first open without making an effort to manually clean up the bad links, you’ll only end up in an endless game of reconsideration requests.
Disavow links associated with negative SEO
Another example of when to disavow links is negative SEO directed at your website.
I’ve had both potential and existing customers to experience a loss in rankings due to negative SEO because they were not keeping a close watch on the links point to their websites.
Realize that there is nothing in this world that can stop your competitors from redirecting penalized expired domains to your website, creating minisites with spammy content linked to your website, buying and having paid links directed towards your website from services like Fiverr.com.
In closing, if your website has high-quality content, no duplicate content, sound search-safe and search-friendly site architecture and navigation, no indication of manual penalty and still not ranking or lost ranking, then I suggest you check your backlink profile.
It’s very imperative that you keep a tab on your website’s backlink profile at all times.
Who your website is associated with will and can drastically impact your search rankings both in a positive and negative manner.
Should you find or suspect low-quality links or domains pointing to your website from domains or websites with low-quality domain authority, spammy content, or known to use deceptive SEO practices, it is best that you disavow those links as discussed in the video below by Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam.