Do You Need to Disavow Links if Syndicated Content is Hurting Your Search Engine Rankings?

Do You Need to Disavow Links if Syndicated Content is Hurting Your Search Engine Rankings?

When your material appears lower in search engine results than that of a competitor’s site, what should you do? Learn when and why you should utilise the disavow tool.

You may want to disavow links if they lead to syndicated content that is negatively impacting your search engine rankings.
Alessandro from Germany sends us today’s Ask an SEO question. As Alessandro puts it,

Should I disavow all links from a domain (with that is outranking us with syndicated content? Should we instead request that they provide a canonical link in every future syndication?

If you compare Google’s disavow tool to a chainsaw, you’ll get the picture.

You can use it to clear massive blockages, cut down entire forests, or remove the occasional sick or diseased tree.

However, problems may arise if you try to use a chainsaw to make intricate designs.

The disavow tool is no different in this regard.

Google does not provide information on the value of individual links or the total value of all links to a website.

When using the disavow tool, you could accidentally get rid of links that are helping your site rank for certain keywords.

A chainsaw, however, is required if you discover a whole woods full of decaying trees.

The same holds true if there are several blatantly harmful connections referring to your site.

A client’s usage of the disavow tool is something I strongly advise against.

The overzealousness of some SEO professionals has cost their clients badly in the rankings since they disavowed connections that Google saw as beneficial.

My professional opinion is that Google is more aware of the quality of the connections leading to your site than you are, and that if a link looks fishy, Google will likely ignore it.

However, there are occasions when they do count links, and going to disavow them is akin to chopping off the trunk of a good tree rather than trimming away diseased limbs.

Canonization Rather Than Rejection

I have to make some assumptions in order to give you a precise response.

The site in question, I’m assuming, has higher search engine rankings than the site providing the syndicated content.

I’m presuming, too, that the syndication site is authorised to publish the material in question.

The solution is obvious in this example.

According to Google’s guidelines, I’ve explained in previous Ask an SEO articles, the original material should be given priority when a piece of content gets syndicated.

You should insist that the offending site add a canonical tag to any content they republish from your site if you have the authority to do so.

Particularly if the competing site is outranking your own in searches for your own content.

If a site is using your content for republishing, it would not be ethical to disavow links from that site unless the site in question was malicious and actively damaging your rankings.

Even if one site is republishing your stuff, I don’t see how it would warrant pulling out the disavow chainsaw.

Disavowal: Why It’s Done

The disavow tool should not be used carelessly, so I’ll say it again:

You should only utilise the disavow tool if you have solid evidence that your site has been linked to by questionable sources.

The disavow function was first designed to counteract the effects of bad SEO.

I will be the first to admit that negative SEO exists, even though actual instances of it are unusual.

Many potential clients have come to me with concerns about possible negative SEO.

The number of instances of true bad SEO is few, and the number of instances when attempted negative SEO has truly damaged a site is even smaller.

However, it is not unheard of.

When this occurs, the disavow feature becomes crucial for repair.

In addition to sites that have engaged in questionable link building in the past, many sites today employ the disavow tool in an effort to rectify their situation.

In fact, the disavow tool is required almost always when submitting a reconsideration request to Google in an effort to escape a manual penalty.

However, the disavow tool is not designed to prevent other sites from ranking for your syndicated material.

Other methods, such as canonicalization and general link development, are far better suited to outranking rivals.

You may improve your content’s ranking on search engines by optimising it for these systems. Webmasters will tell you “Material Is King,” and it’s true that your blog will rise in the rankings if it has search engine optimised content.

Finding overlooked possibilities might be difficult for a website owner to do on their own, which is why resources like Surfer SEO are so valuable. There are many Surfer SEO alternatives available that provide the same features at a very cheap price and even for free.

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