Preemptive disavow?


There's a lot of talking about the proper use of the disavow tool. One of the trickiest situations: So you have a new client sign-up, you research the links and see this client has quite a shady past, what do you do? The client isn't hit by anything yet but he/she may be hit in the future (and he/she will probably even blame you for that as it "used to be fine")

Is it a smart decision to do preemptive disavow?

Chuck Price over at SW recommends disavowing *only* if you are sure you need to. Matt once said to use it only after link removing ("only after there is a "small fraction" of links left to remove"); later Matt asks to use the tool more aggressively ("disavow domains")

@Marie_Haynes says she tried doing "preemptive penguin disavow" and saw a decline in traffic (but maybe for other reasons...)

What are your thoughts?


I would disavow

If a site has bad links that you absolutely cannot get removed, then you should disavow the links. Google Penguin or not. And oh yeah, by the way: Bing has disavow, too.

Burned either way

Thanks for bringing up this topic, Ann.  I am deep in the midst of assisting my two primary clients recover from penalties. It is all a guessing game. What links are "bad"? Which ones are ok? Links I thought were a problem, Bill Hartzer says aren't. So meanwhile one client's first reconsideration request has already been declined and now we're back to trying to guess what it is Google doesn't like.


In your scenario you have the same issue. If you know links are definitely bad I would try to remove them and disavow if I couldn't. But we have to keep in mind that blackhat works. It works really well. The rules are not applied evenly so all we can do is make our best guess. Maybe remove sitewide bad links in footers and sidebars and leave other types of bad links until you get hit because they're bringing in sales. But then so might the others be.


Many of the best and brightest minds are wasting their precious time removing links that Google can and should just ignore. They are destroying ethical businesses and much needed jobs. Conveniently, they penalized the one client just before their busiest time of the year - and they do have competitors that would definitely do them in with reverse SEO. So if we do recover, how long will it be before a competitor gets them penalized again? (Probably right before their highest sales time of the year.)


Google has openly created a way for businesses to make their competitors disappear. If destroying small business is not Google's intention they need to fix this. I doubt they will, though, because their CEO is on record saying he plans to clean up the "Internet cesspool" by favoring big brands.


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