The Google Disavow tool is a popular subject with all the link penalties floating around. But the big question is, does it actually help your site to rank better?
In November of last year, we ran a poll asking our audience and over 400 SEOs responded. The responses are not shocking at all.
Only 15% said it benefited their rankings by disavowing sites. 50% said it had no benefit at all. The rest were unsure.
Why is this not shocking? Well, we said this before, disavowing links won't always improve rankings because the links you are disavowing once benefited you in the rankings. When you remove those links, those links no longer count - and probably didn't count when you used the disavow tool because Google penalized them. Either way, you need new links to make up for the links that no longer count. Yes, it might remove the penalty but it won't necessarily improve your rankings.
The disavow tool is not the answer to rankings - it is a solution for fixing a penalty but not necessarily for improving your rankings.
So when the WebmasterWorld thread picked up some steam again, one person said:
Case 1) Had a site that was penalized. Disavowed a bunch of domains, opened reconsideration request. Manual penalty removed. Two months on, the domain gets even less traffic than before.
Case 2) Domain is penalized. Sent in a huge disavow file. Site falls further in rankings and is still penalized.
If I was a webmaster I would just ignore the disavow tool completely. It's useless.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.