As we all know that if Google has penalized you or your website has too many shady links, the tool can be of great help in cleaning up the mess.
Although, Google came up with the Disavow tool to help the sites that were worried about spammy linking, there are two common notions about the disavow tool in mind of webmasters:
- It doesn't work
- Google is just collecting data through the tool
In a thread "Negative SEO: Looking for Answers from Google", Matt Cutts is discussing about the disavow tool.
Cutts said that Google introduced the disavow tool so that webmasters could disown or say disavow the bad linking done by the site itself. The tool also works to disavow the links, which site owners think might be spammy.
On being asked "Can you confirm that the disavow tool is automatic? Or do people need to file a reconsideration request?” Matt Cutts said that the tool is automatic for algorithmic rankings such as Penguin and Panda. In case of a manual webspam action, webmaster will get a notice after they verify their website at google.com/webmasters.
Matt said that if there's a manual webspam action, Google would advise you to try taking down every spammy link on the website. And if there are some spammy links that your unable to take off, use the disavow tool and fill-up reconsideration request.
He specified that disavow tool is introduced for webmasters who are finding it difficult to clean up their bad/spammy link building and are unable to remove every bad link from the web manually, before asking for reconsideration.
It is essential that webmasters should do some efforts at their end, before using the disavow tool and sending reconsideration request to Google.
If you think your site has a lot of bad/spammy links, Google wants you to remove these links first. In case you don't know, Google maintains a historical index of your backlinks. And when you file a reconsideration request, it can see the links on which you have worked to remove.
Disavow tool is useful, unlike what many webmasters feel but you need to do little leg work instead of merely disavowing links. Understand that Google wants you to work on removing those bad links before you ask for reconsideration; else the request would be a waste of efforts from both the ends.Google Disavow Tool Demystified!,