Today, Google has announced the long awaited “Disavow Links Tool” is now available in Google Webmaster Tools.
What is the Disavow Links Tool?
Google uses links to decide how to rank a website, the more, better quality links a website has pointing it to, the higher potential that site will have to rank better (although links are just part of the equation).
Unfortunately, in the past, some SEO companies and Webmasters have obtained links from “unnatural” sources such as purchasing them or link exchange schemes. This is known as unnatural link building because Google only wants to see links pointing to a website because the website is worthy of that link. In other words, if I’ve visited your site and liked it (because you have a great website) then I may want to link to it from my blog / website or social networking profile for example. Your website has earned that link and it’s these types of links that Google loves.
For websites that have unnatural links, Google has recently set out to make website owners aware by sending them a message in Google Webmaster Tools (If you have a website, it’s crucial you have a webmaster tools account). These messages have for many, resulted in penalties from Google consisting of a drop in rankings or in severe cases, exclusion from search results.
How does the Disavow Tool work?
If you have unnatural links you can use the disavow tool to ask Google to ignore those links. There’s no guarantee that Google will listen but they will consider it and it will take weeks for them to take action. However, you need to be incredibly careful and be absolutely sure the links your disavowing are actually causing you problems because if you disavow good links, you may lose some rankings – which could spell disaster.
Why is this a good idea?
Many websites that have had Google penalties because of a bad SEO practitioner or perhaps bad links set up by a webmaster that doesn’t fully understand SEO now have an opportunity to wipe the slate clean. Many websites have suffered (and gone out of business) because of shady SEO practices so online firms have to be vigilent and ensure their SEO is being looked after by a reputable and knowledgeable SEO Management Company.
I believe that Google is causing unnecessary confusion, rather than penalise websites for minor bad link building infractions, why not just ignore the link? If Google just ignored the bad links they wouldn’t even need a disavow tool and the net effect would still be a decline in bad link building as it would be entirely pointless.
However, its unlikely that Google will go back on this and penalties are set to continue to be used as a deterrent meaning online businesses can simply not afford to make mistakes when it comes to their SEO and the use of professional SEO consultant is essential for firms that depend on online business.
As always, the best advice is to not try to “game” the system, if you create quality content that people want to link to you, you shouldn’t go wrong.