Should I use the disavow tool even if there’s not a manual action on my site?

Should I use the disavow tool even if there’s not a manual action on my site? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

Today’s question comes from James in Bristol, UK. James asks, should webmasters use the disavow tool, even if it is believed that no penalty has been applied? For example, if we believe ‘Negative SEO’ has been attempted, or spammy sites we have contacted have not removed links. Great question. So the primary purpose of the disavow tool is, you’ve done some bad SEO, you hired a bad SEO, they messed things up, now you need to clean up. You’ve done as much work as you can get those links off of the web, but some people don’t respond or for whatever reason you can’t get every single link taken off the web. That’s the perfect use case to do a disavow and say, OK, these are the links that I’ve tried to get taken down and, I can’t manage to get them taken down. But at the same time, if you’re at all worried about someone trying to do a negative SEO, or it looks like there’s some weird bot that’s building up a bunch of links to your site, and you have no idea where it came from, that’s a perfect time to use disavow as well. I wouldn’t worry about going ahead and disavowing links even if you don’t have a message in your Webmaster console. So if you have done the work to keep an active look on your backlinks, and you see something strange going on, you don’t have to wait around. Feel free to just go ahead and preemptively say you know what, this is a weird domain. I have nothing to do with it. I don’t know what this particular bot is doing in terms of making links. So just feel free to go ahead and do disavows even on a domain level. So again the main purpose is if you’ve made some bad links yourself and you need to clean it up. But if you’re at all stressed. If you’re worried. If you’re not able to sleep at night because you think Google might see it, or we might get a spam report about you, or there might be some misunderstanding, or an algorithm might rank your site lower, I would feel free to just go ahead and disavow those links as well.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


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