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  • An an online discussion on shows the statement of Uli Lutz, who works for Google’s search quality team in Germany.

    A webmaster asked Uli if it was possible to accidentally hurt a friend or a good resource by including it in a disavow link report. The main statements of Uli Lutz are:

    • You don’t have to worry about damaging other people with the disavow links.
    • Hurting other websites with the disavow links tool is not possible.
    • If you want to disavow many links from the same website, there’s a site-wide disavow option.

    Should you use Google’s disavow links tool?

    You should only use Google’s disavow links tool if Google sent you a notification that your website was penalized for unnatural links. Even then, it’s very likely that Google’s Penguin update already disavowed all inorganic links that point to your site.

    If your rankings dropped after the Penguin update, that’s because the unnatural links don’t count anymore. The Penguin update probably added an internal rel=nofollow to all unnatural links that point to your site.

    The following will happen if you report links to your website with Google’s disavow links tool:

    1. Any links that you report with the disavow links tool will count as rel=nofollow links in your link profile, i.e. Google won’t consider them at all.
    2. As you cannot know which links Google considers spam, you might acidentally remove good links that point to your website. That can have a negative effect on your website rankings.
    3. After using the disavow links tool, you have to ask Google for a reconsideration request. That means that you are self-reporting your website for spam.
    4. Google will take a closer look at your website to find spam.

    If you did not spam Google, there’s no need to use the disavow links tool. Using the tool is a confirmation that you spammed Google in the past and that you know it.

    What you can do to recover from the Penguin update

    Since Google’s Penguin update, automatically created low-quality links don’t work anymore. Google discounted these links and there’s no need to invest time in sending Googel a confirmation that they discounted the right links. Better invest your time in the following:

    1. Try to get natural backlinks from other websites that have a higher quality than the previous backlinks.
    2. Vary the anchor texts that are used in the links to your site. Of course, the links that point to your site still should contain words that relate to your topic. Do not use exact match anchor texts.

    That’s all there is to it. It’s all very easy: Google doesn’t want to be tricked. If you tried to cheat Google in the past with shady backlinks and shady search engine optimization methods, then it will take some time until your website recovers.

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