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The previous owner had disavowed 400+ backlinks, but I know that some of them were very good and high quality. I un-disavowed them. (Avowed?) I don't know what they were thinking, but how do I determine and know if backlinks are hurting my SEO Rankings? Google's disavow tool says:

We recommend that you only disavow backlinks if you believe that there are a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.

However, it doesn't say how you can be confident the link is causing an issue.

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    Though the questions are not exactly the same, this answer I gave should help: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/71644/… I suggest avoiding disavowing links unless they are thoroughly toxic. A bad link is not necessarily a bad thing. However, a bad:good link ratio can be. – closetnoc Jan 9 '15 at 5:46
  • Considering that you already know that you have the links ! What you can do is check the PA and DA of the page where link is coming from ! Also check wether the domain you are getting link from is related to your nice ! – user44127 Jan 9 '15 at 7:49
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    This is something that only comes with experience and unfortunately, you've fallen victim to giving someone access to something as potentially lethal as the disavowing of links on your domain. There is no conclusive evidence that removing entries in a disavow file will reinstate that link back into the link graph Google looks at. You can read more on this experiment here. – zigojacko Jan 9 '15 at 8:41
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A couple things you can do:

  1. Look at the authority of the page where the link is coming from. If it is high, then keep them.
  2. Look at intent. Is the link a true online representation of an offline relationship? If it is then you should keep it.
  3. What does the link source neighborhood look like? If there are other spammy links outgoing from the page or domain or if it is clear that the content is all over the map on one site (travel review to Florida, review of gun hardware, etc) then that is a spammy site.
  4. What are your most successful competitors doing? The best thing to do is look forward and start making the connections with people that are also interested in your product. Establish a drumbeat of good quality links coming in to make questionable links a smaller proportion.
  5. Be honest with yourself. Sites don't get dinged without any knowing why. I wouldn't use the disavow/avow tools willy nilly going forward. Lots of activity back and forth would be a red flag.

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