Google continues to troll professional SEOs by bringing back the disavow tool, a tool they have repeatedly said that hardly anyone needs, whilst not completing the migration of the actually very useful request indexation tool. What are they up to this time?
If you’ve not encountered it before, the Google Disavow Tool allows webmasters to inform Google that they want it to ignore the effects, positive or negative, of an inbound link. Google maintain that only SEOs who have indulged in shady link building practices need to use it and, even then, only if they have had a “manual action” (Google speak for a ban) applied to their site.
When Google started work on the new Search Console, the disavow tool (along with a whole host of other things) was conspicuous by its absence. Google held the party line that the disavow tool wasn’t needed, that the algorithm was “really good” at understanding links, and that there was “no such things as negative SEO“. But… now they brought it back.
If the Disavow Tool is back, should you use it?
The fact that Google has brought this tool back is going to put a lot of fuel into the tank of SEOs who obsess over checking link profiles and who believe in backlinking above all other techniques. It’s also going to give succour to those SEOs who play their trade picking on sites with messy link profiles and promising (but not necessarily delivering) big improvements through disavowing and cleaning up links.
It’s also, unfortunately, going to lead to lots of poor application of this tool and that’s dangerous.
Backlinks are a hugely important part of your SEO and whilst that might make you want to dive into this tool and start pruning your links like a manic gardener going at the autumn shrubbery, my advice is to hold off.
Unless you are absolutely positive that a link is damaging your SEO then you really don’t know what the impact of removing it is going to be. The time spent trawling through your list of links and looking for potential suspects would be better spent making new links or creating new linkable content.
In the meantime if you want to watch some SEOs get really snarky with Google because the “Request Indexing” tool still hasn’t been migrated, you can check out this article on Search Engine Journal: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-disavow-tool-migration-completed/387874/amp/