More threads by eva evan

Oct 5, 2014
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Hi, This is my first post on this really great forum. Hope to post more in the future. But I have been worrying about the following:

My website was doing very well on local search in London UK, until 2 months ago, when my 'My Business' page was disqualified (sorry dont remember the exact term used). After several calls to Google local help team, and several conversations with different members of the team who tried to help, I was finally told that it was a 'technical issue' and they would come back to me once it had been resolved.

So I decided that in the meanwhile I should concentrate on organic search, as my website was not doing too well on that . Got hold of an SEO, who said he couldnt see much wrong with my website, and the only problem really was there were too many irrelevant links (obviously put there in the past by another SEO) , so he suggested a first step of dealing with those links to get my website up to where it should be. Well today I got an email from Google webmaster tools saying :

You successfully uploaded a disavow links file (Disavowl Links Nov 2014 TML.txt) containing 72 domains and 243 URLs.

But on closer inspection, I found that a lot of the links he had sent for disavowal were perfectly good and useful links. What should I do now? This SEO guy obviously didnt take the trouble to go through the links properly and check which ones could be kept and which should be got rid of.

In the meanwhile, I have also received an email from Google My Business support, saying:

Based on the information provided, I was able to manually verify your listing for you. It might take a few weeks for the status in your dashboard to change from "Pending" to Active." However, your listing should start showing up on Maps in about a week or so.

After that week has passed, you can check to see if your listing is live by going to and then typing in your business name and address. You can also try searching with your phone number. Feel free to update your business information as necessary through the "Edit" option in your dashboard to ensure the data is up-to-date.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions about your listing's status by responding to this email - it'll come straight back to me!

They have not told me what the problem was, or why suddenly after being on maps in the no. 1 position for over one year, and on maps generally in total for the entire existence of my website, which is approx 6 years, an unexplained problem occurred,.... I suppose I should be grateful that it only took them 2.5 months to sort it out !
In regards to the disavow file, one of our members, Marie Haynes, is the top link review expert around. You should reach out to her :)
Thank you so much Colan. Its late here in the UK, but I will do so tomorrow. I do appreciate your help.
I have now contacted Marie Haynes via her own website, and she has been extremely helpful - I will post below what she said, as it might be helpful to others

These are all really tough calls. When I'm doing a link audit, links usually fall into three categories:

1. Definitely unnatural
2. Debatable
3. Definitely natural

The debatable category is a tough one. One of the problems is that no one knows exactly which links Penguin goes after, so we all take our best guess. The idea is to remove/disavow any links that were made solely for SEO purposes. But, I have to say that quite often there are links that really are up for debate.

I would agree with the statement that when you have "grey area" links that it is best to err on the side of caution. With the Penguin algorithm, if you try to keep too many of the unnatural links then you won't escape the filter and you'll always suffer with rankings. '

---------- Post Merged at 08:40 PM ---------- Previous Post was at 08:36 PM ----------

And re. my local seo, some of you might be interested to learn that after receiving an email from the Google team last week, saying that the 'technical problem' had been sorted, I received another email today, from that same team member saying:

Thank you for contacting Google My Business Support about...............your website.
Please note that our technical team is still pursuing all avenues to fix the issue with the business page. We do understand that this may be quite frustrating at the moment. However, we want to assure you that our team is working on it with all due diligence. In the meantime, please do not delete and recreate the page as it may prolong the existing issue. We will notify you once it has been taken care of.
Your kind cooperation and patience is greatly appreciated.

Oh dear, Google, how strange is that !
First off how long ago did you upload you disavow file.
when you update a disavow file it overwrite the existing one you can only have one disavow file. So edit the file and take out the GOOD Links and resubmit

Whilst some people hate the google updates, I find myself finding them great for the seo industry as a whole as it weeds out and shows the seo's that give seo a bad name, I find myself now having to carry out a link audit with every new customer to see if there is anything in there that will come back and bite them in the butt whilst in my loving care.

It sounds like your old SEO who did the disavow just used a link detox service and didn't manually pick the links apart. You can hire a consultant to do that like the one you contacted.

If you didn't have a disavow file before he uploaded one, I would just delete it and start over. Disavow files seem to take awhile to integrate into the system. In fact, I heard rumblings that people that disavowed 1-2 months before Penguin still got hit by Penguin because they didn't take the disavows into effect after a certain period. We had a penalty removal client actually experience this as well.

Now, whether these people just did a poor job of removing the penalty (us included) or the disavow file really didn't count is up for debate.

What all this means is if it was uploaded relatively recently, you should be able to take it down without much effect and then have an SEO crawl through the links.

When it comes to "iffy" links, I actually err on the side of keeping them as long as they have at least some merit of being natural and there aren't a ton of them. From what I've seen, Penguin is starting to ignore a lot of bad links because of negative SEO tactics. However, I wouldn't keep a lot of them. I would probably keep 1 "iffy" link for every 4 natural links. Just figure out which ones have the highest possibility of having you rank, list them, and keep 1 of those links for every 4 natural links and wipe the rest out.

And by "iffy" links I would label those as the ones your consultant called "debatable". I would disavow all the ones that she labeled as definitely spammy of course.

Good luck sir!
Kind of an old thread, I realize, but I did want to comment:

1) Disavow files can be resubmitted. When you do so the new file will overwrite the old directives. Disavows can take upwards of 90 days to be processed (longer sometimes?). The conventional wisdom (and this is speculation) is that when Google recrawls the link in question during its regular indexing of the web, that it will attach a "no follow" attribute to the link pointing to your website. It stands to reason that REALLY spammy links will take longer to be disavowed because Google visits those sites much less frequently. GOOD links get disavowed quicker, mainly because those sites are visited more often. In any event, if you clean up the disavow and resubmit, the link value should return (eventually).

2) As far as what links to disavow and which to keep, it really depends if you have a penalty imo. If I'm working on a penalized site, I am much more strict when it comes to the links I prune. If the site has no penalty, then I'll be a bit more forgiving.

3) Pruning links is one of those rare best practices that can actually harm a websites visibility initially. It does protect you from deep penalizations, however, which in most instances is worth it.

Would love to hear how things are going and if you got your disavow file sorted out. Good luck!

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