We recently took on a new client whose previous SEO company had partaken in some dodgy link building tactics.

They appear to have done some blog comment spam, very poorly.

The situation we are now in is this:

We have a site with an internal page deemed more important than the homepage (the homepage has 60 linking root domains and the internal page 879). It looks as though the previous SEO company submitted a disavow request, there's a message in Webmaster Tools from a few weeks back saying it had been received, but no further correspondence.

I have doubts as to whether this disavow request was done correctly... Plus I'm not sure that Google has issued the site a warning yet as they are ranking position one for the keywords on the internal page.

Our clients want us to handle this in the correct manner, whether it be to simply ignore it and wait for Google to send a warning about the links, remove the offending internal page and leave a 404, or try to disavow the links that Google doesn't know about yet from 800+ websites.

Suggestions for the best practice for dealing with this situation?

  • as Google stated, the disavow tool is merely an indicator and Google may (or may not) use your submitted information. Disavowed or not, you could always re-disavow again. But come again ... why is your internal page "offending"? If the information is good, why shouldn't it rank higher than a generic homepage?
    – David K.
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 11:13
  • Because the site is a large national site with almost 3mill pages, its already suffered a hosting issue where another domain was pointing to the root folder causing duplicate content. A disavow request was sent for this after recieving a warning, and we are currently resolving via the hosting company. However, disavow requests are handled manually and im concerned that this situation screams obvious spam links, which could cause the site to be penalised further down the line.
    – Silkstream
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 11:17
  • to be honest, you need to talk to a SEO about that which can look at the issue holistically. don't want to step on anybody's toes here, but your "duplicate content" through multiple domains issue was handled wrong. very wrong... on the other hand, if incoming links are "screaming" spam links, Google does a pretty good job in filtering out those links ...
    – David K.
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 11:21
  • Yeah we figured that was handled wrong by the companies previous seo company, hence we are in contact with the hosting company. I only managed to discover the details of the disavow request they submitted by downloading a copy through webmaster tools yesterday.
    – Silkstream
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 11:26
  • So your opinion would be not to worry about the links as they have received no negative impact as yet?
    – Silkstream
    Commented Mar 15, 2013 at 11:27

2 Answers 2


To answer your question at hand. At the moment, you have only two possible solutions to remove "bad incoming links".

  1. Approach the Link-Setter and ask for removal (tedious work, may not work all the time).
  2. Use the Google disavow tool.

You can disavow as much as you want, just make sure you disavow the "right" pages. Google looks at the disavowed pages holistically and may or may not count these as nofollows for your serp-positioning calculation.

In my experience, the usage of the disavow tool is in 99 out of 100 cases unneeded, since Google themselves do a pretty good job of identifying spam links and removing these from their serp-calculation. It's the one case, where a black hat seo company (or someone else doing you bad) did a VERY GOOD job of building a bad backlinking profile to your site.


I just wanted to add to the conversation some info and maybe help a bit. I see a lot of people runing to submit a disavow report which is a great first step (Escpeially if you got a notice) but its only the first step)

Take a hard good look at your site. Is it natural to have 10000 links from 50 domains? (example)… probably not!

i see people think is a lost cause but you can recover and improve your website presense online and actually do it in an easy way over 60 days. really check the following stuff

  1. link profile
  2. social presence.
  3. Freshness
  4. Keyword stuffing.
  5. local mentions (not links)
  6. create branded links & mentions "company name"
  7. get rating and reviews as much as possible
  8. fix over optimization

Analyze the way / keywords you are being linked to and diversify the word being used, You can easily "recover" from penguin! just think of it like this. a real big company could never "give up" on their website... they would just ignore a temporary setback and keep fixing & imporoving stuff.

  • Please do not promote your products and services in your answers. Also, do not use link shorteners when linking to websites, especially your own.
    – John Conde
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 2:01
  • oops. ok, sorry. just trying to help. i am doind a research how to spin out of the pinguin update and wanted to share methods & Tools...
    – Sagive
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 3:29

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