This post outlines some common mistakes people make when submitting a disavow file. Here is a quick run down of things to watch for:
- Only submit a plain text file (.txt)
- Disavow sites rather then trying to find specific pages to disavow
- Make sure the syntax is correct
- Explanations go in the reconsideration request, not in the disavow
- Don’t use comments, and if you must make sure they are properly coded
- Clean up your link profile first, then disavow what you can’t actually fix
This article covers an experiment and research into how Google’s Disavow Tool works. The author disavowed all links to his site in order to see what affect it would have. Initially there was no change until the Penguin update was released. Based on this and information from other SEOs they came to the conclusion that the Disavow Tool takes affect either when a reconsideration request is filed or when there is a data refresh.
The article suggests that disavow can be used to help recover from Penguin 2.0 but it should not be the first option. Disavowing can have negative consequences so it is important to try other routes first. Identifying and removing as many bad links as possible should be done before attempting to disavow links. If that does not get results disavow can be looked at as an option. It is also important to document the link information for all links that are being submitted to disavow and make sure that everything is formatted correctly. The article has step by step instructions for dealing with bad links.
This article addresses linking out from your website to another. It is a common misconception that linking out will automatically harm your rankings. While linking out to random pages with little value certainly won’t help you, linking to other sites that support your content or are mentioned in your article is perfectly natural. These links can help usability, create trust with users, and create relevancy. While linking without purpose is useless, linking to relevant content on other sites should not be avoided for fear of the Penguin update.