Google has released a new version of Penguin known as Penguin 4.0 and, according to some SEO practitioners, it is fairer than the previous versions. Being part of Google’s core algorithm, Penguin is now able to penalize websites that use several black-hat link schemes to manipulate search rankings. Unlike the other versions that would affect the whole site when the algorithm suspected any engagement in manipulative link building, Penguin 4.0 devalues spam by making adjustments to the ranking of the page in the wrong. Previously, even cleaning up would save the site until Google re-ran the Penguin algorithm and recognized the clean-up efforts. Suppression of sites is no longer a common thing, unlike before when many businesses were put on suppression. It is impressive how Google was able to come up with this method to find and devalue spam.
Many have and still wonder if there is any reason to disavow links anymore if Penguin can devalue spam. The disavow tool can still be used if you realize that your site’s ranking is being affected by low-quality links that you cannot control. You can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site by uploading a disavow file to them containing a list of the domains. The disavowing is still highly recommended by the Google employees despite the fact that they can just devalue spam links and save people the struggle to deny them.
As much as disavowing is recommended, with the launch of the new Penguin, it is not used as much. However, the following are some reasons why disavowing is still recommended:
The existence of manual actions– Leaving all the task to Penguin to devalue your links instead of disavowing may pose risks of getting a manual action. This may attract a penalty that could have been avoided if you had taken action by removing the bad links.
Other algorithms use links– Penguin is just one way to fight against link spam. When making calculations, Google looks into all links apart from those that have been exempted. Another algorithm that is said to be using links is the Payday Loans algorithm that makes an impact on sites in several high-competition verticals.
It is not guaranteed that Penguin will devalue all the spam– Although it is clear that Penguin 4.0 devalues spam and doesn’t penalize, many don’t understand how algorithm ignores the unnatural links pointing the site. According to the statements given by Google employees, there are no clear indications whether people should stop worrying about any links or just need to worry less than before.
The disavow tool can be used when an SEO company makes low-quality links like articles, directories or bookmark sites and they need to be cleaned up. If you are not sure whether the link is spam or not, they can be passed through the disavow blacklist. Another situation is when a site has a past of manual action for unnatural links or is under apparent negative SEO attacks. However, disavowing should not be conducted for any link just because they are strange because Google takes action against a site that has been continually manipulating Google rankings. Links that are there for mostly SEO reasons are supposed to be disavowed so as to avoid getting a manual action.