In a recent video hangout with Google’s John Mueller, John said that even without using the disavow file or removing bad links, it is possible to recover from a Google Penguin Penalty. So instead of going through all the trouble of removing bad links and creating a disavow file, Google is saying adding good links can solve your penguin problems. I am highly skeptical having seen this personally many times not work.
Though John said it is possible to recover without disavowing or removing links, but he would still recommend you remove bad links.
Is it worth spending all your time trying to get better links vs. removing the bad ones? It is hard to say. Look at it this way, if your site has nothing bad links, and you remove them all, then your site has no links. Google doesn’t typically rank sites with very few links, though I have seen that happen too.
For me, I think you should do a combination of getting better quality links and doing link removal. That puts you in better shape all the way around. You just have to be sure the links you are getting are high quality links, otherwise you might be hurting yourself even more from getting your penalty lifted.
Certainly Penguin penalties are nothing to take lightly as they can destroy your site traffic for months or even a year as we saw with the last penguin update.
Here is the transcript from YouTube:
Question: Let’s take a hypothetical situation where a webmaster doesn’t know about the Webmaster Tools disavow tool, and the majority of his links are directories or websites selling links, and is obviously affected by the Penguin penalty.Meanwhile, he goes ahead and gets some good-quality links, and the percentage of low-quality links changes– gets smaller. But again, he doesn’t use a disavow file or anything else.
Would this help him– so if the majority of the links become the quality links, would this help him remove or would Google robot remove the Penguin penalty?
JOHN MUELLER: That would definitely help. Yeah.So, I mean, we look at it on an aggregated level across everything that we have from your website. And if we see that things are picking up and things are going in the right direction, then that’s something our algorithms will be able to take into account. So in the hypothetical situation of someone who doesn’t know about any of this and they realized they did something wrong in the past and they’re working to improve that in the future, then that’s something that our algorithms will pick up on and will be able to use as well.
Still, if you’re in that situation, it wouldn’t be that I’d say you should ignore the disavow tool and just focus on moving forward in a good way, but instead really trying to clean up those old issues as well. And it’s not something where we’d say that using the disavow tool is a sign that you’re a knowledgeable SEO and that you should know better about these links. It’s essentially a technical thing on our side, where we don’t take those links into account anymore. It doesn’t count negatively for your website if you use a disavow tool. It’s not something you should be ashamed of using. If you know about this tool, if you know about problematic links to your site, then I just recommend cleaning that up.