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Should I disavow?

Discussion in 'Link Development' started by Chris Clarkson, Mar 14, 2013.

  1. #1
    Hi,
    I have a website which used to do well in the searches. I am a therapist and rely on my website to be found. Unfortunatley it has slipped off the radar, then took 6 months to raise, and now looks to have slipped again.
    The site is packed with original (written by me) content and is informative.
    I am about to get an audit on my site (not sure where to seek this though), so I can address any onsite material.
    But I am guessing its the links?
    I have an ahrefs report and can't make head nor tail of it. Not sure which links may be punishing me, or whether it is the ratio of keywords.
    I had used SEO services in the past and now regret it. I am now scared to do anything with my site, including the disavow tool.
    With all your knowledge - should I disavow (and what do I look for as bad links?) or should I ride it out as I have been doing and carry on creating good content?
    Have to admit to being very jittery about it all.
    Wasn't sure if I could include my report or website, so have left them out.
    Any help would be awesome!!
    Best wishes
    Chris
    Chris Clarkson, Mar 14, 2013 IP
  2. Kianu42

    Kianu42 Member

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    #2
    Hey!

    First of all, do not be afraid of SEO services. Just read some reviews and choose a proper tool, there are even good free ones.

    So here speaking of backlinks I suggest to do 3 things:
    1) Are your backlinks looking natural? If you lack some information on it, there are plenty of articles on which links are good for Google. If they look like spammy or paid, disavow them. disavowing bad links may even improve your rankings.
    2) Pick up a decent backlink tool that has various metrics. So you will automatically see which links are good and which are bad - some tools may generate suggestions on it.
    3) Look at your competitors' link profile (the best ones) and take some ideas from it.

    But you should remember, that your dances with rankings or traffic may be not only because of links, but because of many factors. So here I strongly recommend to do the audit as soon as possible. You may find that you have problems with other factors (keywords, onpage optimization, whatever).

    again, there are great tools that generate full audit reports on the website SEO condition, in case you don't want to hire a pro.

    good luck and keep us updated!
    Kianu42, Mar 14, 2013 IP
  3. Chris Clarkson

    Chris Clarkson Peon

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    #3
    Many thanks for replying.
    I have looked at the people who are in the same therapy business and above me and they have pretty much no links whatsoever? Just a few directory sites etc.
    And their sites are a lot lighter than mine.
    It's really baffling?

    Cheers
    Chris
    Chris Clarkson, Mar 14, 2013 IP
  4. dillon

    dillon Member

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    #4
    I would NOT just ride it out and wait for your site to recover if you suspect your past link building efforts are getting you penalized now. The penalty is not likely to go away.

    First option I would consider is start over with a new domain. You could take your existing site down and take all of the existing content and put it on a new site. Wait a couple of months after you take down the old content from the old site so that Google and the other search engines have had time to clear their caches and drop the old pages. Then be much more prudent in your link building efforts for the new site going forward. DON'T over-optimize anchor text and mostly only directly link to your site from relevant sites.

    Second option would be the "disavow" route. I know that the Google disavow tool works but in order for this to be effective you really need to get a good list of all your links. If you are like many website owners, you don't have a good list, and if you used all sorts of directory submission tools, fivr jobs, DP services, etc, it would be really tough to get anyway. You said you have some list and you don't know which links are good or bad. If you really want to pursue this route, lean toward caution and disavow any link that is not from a relevant site or at least looks natural.

    I still think option #1 is the better, cleaner way to go. Yes, you will have to wait a few months to get the new site up and going, but you might be surprised and where you start ranking with the new site once the old penalized site is all gone.
    dillon, Mar 14, 2013 IP
    ryan_uk likes this.
  5. Kianu42

    Kianu42 Member

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    #5

    It means that they put effort in other factors. Maybe they have perfect keyword and onpage optimization, plenty of unique content etc, I cannot see those sites but I know that Google has many factors to rank them. Also not all tools are great in searching for all the existing backlinks, so maybe try to check with another tool and it will find more backlinks for this site. That's why it is essential to audit your competitors, you will see what they do specifically.

    I wouldn't suggest starting a new site right now. Because:
    - I guess your site is not completely penalized and you still get some visitors, if I am not correct please tell me, but in that case making a new website will mean losing all the visitors from SERP for at least a weak, maybe a month, which is not acceptable.
    - again here we are not aware of your website full status, I mean we still don't now is it a penalty or just a rankings drop, but I think you should firstly understand what causes rankings drop. What's the point in creating new site with the same content when you don't know your possible mistakes and have all the chances to repeat them?
    - if I am right and this is not a severe penalty, just a rankings drop, you will waste your time creating a new website and do unnecessary work. Your site used to attract visitors, and unless you bought a bunch of paid links, I believe things are not very bad here, so why loosing a website that is not disastrous and just needs auditing and cleaning up the details?

    So yeah, do some auditing and you will see how to come up next. Wishing good luck with that!
    Kianu42, Mar 15, 2013 IP
  6. magdev

    magdev Member

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    #6
    I have used disavow tool to block more than 15000 bad links to one of my sites. The result is excellent, within few days my rankings, searh query traffic all got raised up. The reason is that you can not manually contact 15000 + webmaster to elimiate your link. A tweak is to blok these links thorugh robots if possible. But yes, if you have bad links identified then go ahead for disavow tool, its my personal experience and is best.
    magdev, Mar 16, 2013 IP
  7. Chris Clarkson

    Chris Clarkson Peon

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    #7
    Thanks again Kianu.
    I will get a full audit done on my site and on my competitors and start to look more deeply into keywords. The odd thing is, that for a particular phrase, the site that comes out on top, uses the phrase the least in the copy. I thought I knew a little about SEO, but I don't think I know anything?
    I do have another site that I created, but it has completely different content and is very lightweigt compared to the other, and it is on page 1 for main keyword?? It's all rather odd.
    Magdev: How do you know what are the bad links? I have a link report form AHREFS, so I guess the the links shown at the bottom of the list, with the least refs points are the bad ones, although when I look at the actual page they come from, the page rank is a 1 or a 2. But looking into this, I see there are many other comments on the same blog page, I am not sure if this makes it a bad link, or whether it really is the fact that my anchor text structure is a little suspicious.
    Chris Clarkson, Mar 17, 2013 IP
  8. magdev

    magdev Member

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    #8
    For my site, i used Webmaster, when i took over the site , i checked webmaster, links to my site, audit each link, over 15000 links were broken links and were created automatically by bots on spam sites, porn etc. I hope you understand what i mean by spam sites but just to give you a clue, see below example

    asfd adsfd dfdf fdf asd fdfdasdf fddf
    asfd adsfd dfdf fdf asd fdfdasdf fddf
    asfd adsfd dfdf fdf asd fdfdasdf fddf
    asfd adsfd dfdf fdf asd link to my site fddf
    asfd adsfd dfdf fdf asd fdfdasdf fddf
    asfd adsfd dfdf fdf asd fdfdasdf fddf
    asfd adsfd dfdf fdf asd fdfdasdf fddf


    thanks
    magdev, Mar 17, 2013 IP
  9. qbert_seo

    qbert_seo Active Member

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    #9
    First, one should use extreme caution when hiring an SEO company. I can speak this from all sides of the table and selecting one is not simply (if you elect to hire a firm). A nice check list if to follow Google's own recommendation for selecting an SEO company: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291

    Now depending upon an array of factors but primarily the competitiveness of the industry then starting with a fresh domain can often make quite a bit of sense. Based upon your circumstances (a local market niche without much off-site work done by competitors) this is likely a better option. However, there are many reasons you may not want another domain (e.g. the domain is the same as your business name, other advertising material includes the website name, etc.)

    However, if you do want to keep the domain then a disavow file is an important component to combat web spam (not the only step). Depending upon your skillet then and SEO knowledge you may wish to create the file yourself. Start by downloading the latest links from GWT then either go through each line or if there are a larger number apply various filters to speed up the process.

    Hope this helps!
    qbert_seo, Mar 21, 2013 IP
  10. CNlinkbuilder

    CNlinkbuilder Member

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    #10
    Before you decide whether or not you are going to use the disavow tool you need to find out what the problem is. I would do a through analysis because it can also hurt your site more. What link building practices were you using. Have someone look at the backlink profile to see.
    CNlinkbuilder, Mar 22, 2013 IP
  11. affilorama

    affilorama Active Member

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    #11
    The disavow tool should be used with caution. I suggest you read the Help page on the Google Webmaster page about the disavow tool before using it. Bad or negative links are usually spam links. You would need to go over each of your backlinks and see which ones appear spammy and get rid of those.

    Hope that helps. Have a good day!
    affilorama, Mar 27, 2013 IP