Can Disavow Hurt My Competitors?

In Google Update

As we run SEO agency and we are one of the leading companies in India, we often attend seminars and sometimes, we give lectures as well. Sometimes there are some open forum or question answer sessions where we need to answer. Finally, our clients and their clients, (I mean, so many SEO companies outsource their work to us and you know the usual) ask us questions. Sometimes these questions are weird, sometimes funny, sometimes infuriating and sometimes just brilliant.

Disavow Links

Recently we received this question from the client who was asked by his client. Let me explain in context.

Our client has a client whose website was not doing great and so we thought of disavowing some links.  Of course we did everything we could to get those links removed before failing and putting them altogether on the disavow list. When we sent it for approval, the client of our client asked him a good question. What if we add the links to our competitor’s site in this list? Will they lose ranking due to this as many links to his sites will be disavowed? And if yes, what is the guarantee that my competitors are not doing that against me? And again, if it is that easy, why Google is allowing it? So on and so forth.

That is indeed a very good point. So good that we thought of answering it elaborately and sharing it with the world. We have seen with our own mortal eyes for negative SEO to work.  Before we answer this question, we need to clarify another question. Do the disavowed links lose their impact completely? Also, if I disavow a link, does that mean the link hosting site is completely ineffective for every other site?

What Google has to say about this? Google says, A URL is disavowed only when you use the Google Webmasters Tools and only for verified sites which are added in that Webmasters account. When the Disavow file is uploaded, it will have its effects on the sites which the user either owns or controls and no other site will be affected.

We interpret the answer from Google in this way. When you disavow any link, you do it for your own site only. It doesn’t touch other sites which are getting backlinks from the same site. At least, those links don’t get disavowed. Whether a link is rubbish or spam for Google is not possible for us to know so that question is irrelevant. What might look like a great link to you, might look a complete junk to someone else and Google has his own ideas of course. It all depends on their super secret search engine algorithm.

Some people still think that getting a backlink from DMOZ can have radical effects on SEO ranking for any site. I do not believe that although I used DMOZ extensively for almost a decade. If you have one site which has failed to get  backlink from DMOZ even after trying for years, you are one of the thousands of sites which have failed to do so. You can plan of a revenge and disavow the complete domain and degrade the link quality for those who are getting backlinks from dmoz. Even if DMOZ isn’t linking to your site, you can do that, provided that you can disavow any site for any site. That is absurd on the face of it and I don’t think you consider Google that much of a stupid.

Do you find faults in my logic or do you agree with it? Do let us know in the comments.

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