I have been recently investigating how the disavow tool that has been hidden from webmaster tools is still used and if there is any utility for it in 2020. Firstly, the tool still exists and can be accessed here: Disavow Tool.
I started a new website last year and noticed that it was ranking well for a few terms that I didn’t realize immediately were easy to rank because of little competition.
I started to start losing ranking and I couldn’t work out why this had started to happen. It would seem that I had trodden on the feet of some others that wanted to have the rankings for these keywords or phrases to themselves. So, I started to have a look at backlinks to the site and notice there was a burst of spammy websites that were linking to my popular pages! Now you’re going to say but I though Google has stopped looking at these spammy links and won’t penalize your site! Well I thought that too.
These sites had more than just my pages they wanted targeted there was results for other smaller websites that had similar pages. Looking at these spam links usually posted on forums that are no longer moderated they look legit on the surface but they are loaded with keywords and some picture to give the impression that it is a helpful post.
From all the research I have done, the consensus seems to be that low-quality links to well established sites do not affect the sites performance, however smaller sites and new sites are absolutely crushed when low quality links are found.
So, I decided to use the old Disavow tool that Google said doesn’t need to be used anymore. I listed 65 domains to be blocked that had similar spam forum posts that I believe to have been targeted attacks against my small I started last year and also other sites. I am one month into the Disavow TXT file being uploaded, and I have seen little change. I am going to update this article as soon as I have real changing results.