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/webmasters/community?hl=en
3/1/14
Original Poster
Cha Cha 88

Should I use disavow tool for irrelevant links?

I've read the FAQs and searched the help center. 
My URL is: www.trine.com

Hello!  I have a client that I am helping with SEO.  After optimizing her site, her PR is 2 and we have seen positive results.  However, her backlink profile has about 50% of irrelevant links.  She use to have a gardening site about 10 years ago, and in the last several years has changed her topic to a spiritual journey site (same domain).  So a lot of her backlinks are from gardening sites, and several are pretty good edu sites.  I've been having a lot of trouble contacting the irrelevant sites to have her link removed because they are seriously out-dated or have not responded.  

So my big question is, should I use the Disavow Tool to have the gardening links removed from her site?  She does not have good backlinks pertaining to the current subject manner, so I fear if I use the disavow tool, her site will drop dramatically in rankings.  Your thoughts?

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All Replies (21)
Lysis
3/1/14
Lysis
It's a shame you're charging someone for such bad seo advice and sounds like you're actually hurting them.
3/1/14
Original Poster
Cha Cha 88
Excuse me Lysis?  What exactly do you mean by giving bad seo advice?  I have only been working with her for the last 6 months and have been helping her tremendously.  Trying to clean up her backlink profile is not bad advice.  
StevieD_Web
3/1/14
StevieD_Web
I guess you need some reading material.... read the best answer:





3/1/14
Original Poster
Cha Cha 88
Hi StevieD_Web,

Thank you for directing me to the forum.  Your post on best practices for the Disavow tool and RR was very informative.  I read through the post several times and am not exactly sure where the answer to my question fits in.  My client's site was not redirected, and the irrelevant links on her site were not fungus or foreign links, they were most likely because of her efforts several years ago when her site used to be about gardening.  I believe the answer is to disavow the backlinks to the gardening site because they are irrelevant now to her current topic about spirituality.  But my fear is that her site will drop in rankings dramatically because the irrelevant links constitute about 50% of her backlink profile.  So if you could be so kind to spell it out for me, should I still use the disavow tool to remove the irrelevant backlinks even though they take up 50% of her backlink profile?  

Thanks very much for your feedback and look forward to hearing from you.
3/1/14
Original Poster
Cha Cha 88
Lysis,

I just need to add that the Google forums are supposed to be used as a helpful, discussion tool, not for derogatory comments.  I posted the question to seek help about a topic I was not completely clear on, and your response was negative and unhelpful.  I am always seeking ways to improve what I do, and if there was a disagreement about something I said, than the adult way to approach it is to point out what you disagree with so I can make improvements.  Your comment was disappointing, hurtful and unnecessary.  
StevieD_Web
3/1/14
StevieD_Web
1)  you are assuming those historical links were beneficial or remain so now.

2)  IF the links are beneficial today.... the amount of benefit is going to be minimal... remember Google uses 200++ factors to evaluate sites and links (ie PageRank) is just one of many factors

3)  Removing a minor benefit (if it even exists) is not going to harm

4)  If the site is not penalized or being demoted due to links, then the links (good/bad/otherwise) are not relevant to any discussion, so why disavow any links?

5)  Irrelevant links = one of the many classes of fungus... hence the link to the prior discussion.

6)  I would contend that Google sees these historical links as irrelevant and ignoring them.  Which means there is no benefit or harm.  Which also means the site is ranking in spite of the links.

7)  Oops, the site does have a link problem.... can anybody tell me what is wrong with this link ?

8)  See #7... there is a lot more of those hanging around and they have nothing to do with the site's past.

9)  Cleaning up the current issues before they become a big problem should be your objective.

10)  If you disavow those historical links, nothing good/bad is going to come from it.






Cheerful Charlie
3/1/14
Cheerful Charlie
Do you want to get rid of unnatural links or unwanted links?

Unnatural links are any links which have been placed by the site owner or someone that works for them, and that includes directory links, links exchanged, forum links, anything of that nature. Google wants to see them gone anyway, so StevieDs guide is suitable for that.

If you want to get rid of unwanted links, which is possible because your client doesn't want to come up in the search results for gardening terms, you should take the same course and disavow. Disavowing is the same as telling Google to ignore those links.

You have to remember though that removing or disavowing any links means that Google will see your client's site as less authoritive, as it has less "votes" - especially if you remove/disavow links from reputable .edu pages. Expect a drop in traffic because her site will rank naturally for her keywords.

And remember, that Pagerank number is just one of the 200 signals that Google takes into account when ranking sites - and some Googlers have said it isn't updated often and it's value is low compared to other signals, so it's safe to ignore it.


StevieD_Web
3/1/14
StevieD_Web
Hey Cheerful Charlie is got himself an avatar.  Congrats.


One correction

The PUBLIC PageRank Score is updated infrequently.  Several years ago Matt Cutts stated in an interview the real (internal) PR score is updated 2x/day and there is no indication that 2x (or more frequent) is not the same today.  In fact recently Matt Cutts said in a video in response to a question that Google had a version of their algorithm without taking into links (PageRank) and the results were not pretty.  So clearly Google continues to use links (PR) as part of the algorithm.

Yes, it is safe to ignore the public score, if for no other reasons than

A) It was out of date when it was published.... and for all we know it could be several weeks or even months out of date when it was published, see B for reasons why.

B) to keep the Google algorithm from being cooked by others, it is highly possible that the public PR score is intentionally not correct (or even grossly out of date).


3/1/14
Original Poster
Cha Cha 88
Hello StevieD_Web,

Thank you for elaborating and for taking the time to look deeper into the issue.  Her site has not been penalized so there is no need for a RR and now I see the disavow tool is also unnecessary for this situation.  I guess I assumed that the irrelevant links were workings against her SERPs, but it appears that since her site is ranking, Google is not placing much value towards the historical/irrelevant links.  

And regards to point #7, I'm going to say the link problem is because the backlink is pointing to a non-existent page (404 error)?


Corruption Private
3/1/14
Corruption Private
I am wondering why the change in the site at all. You could have had 2 sites working together. Spiritualism and gardening sites can help each other.
The spiritual site could mention things like herbs, sacred plants and other things, with links to the relevant gardening site's pages on growing them. Things like that.
As long as both sites used noFollow links between them, they would have both flourished. Instead you tried to graft one onto the other, and it's not working.
10 MORE
BKDZ
3/6/14
BKDZ
Hey John, 
My question is that my site has .org links from chamber of commerce business listing websites, all these links are do-follow links, Is it okay or do i make them no-follow?
Hope to get your reply,
Thanks
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