The search engine world has been abuzz since the October 23rd announcement of the Google Link Disavow tool. This tool allows web masters who have been smashed by the latest major algorithm changes to ‘disavow’ any ‘bad links’ that they cannot manually take down themselves.
Google wants to stress that this is a ‘worst case scenario’ or ‘last resort’ for webmasters and it is ONLY for ‘power users,’ meaning if you’re not a professional SEO, you should stay away from this tool and even professional SEOs need to use extreme caution when using the Google Link Disavow tool.
Our partners at The SEO Company use only ‘White Hat’ SEO techniques and since we build all of our linksmanually, they aren’t using this tool at this time. In future, if opportunities arise from this tool, they may explore using them to benefit our clients.
This from Search Engine Watch’s Jennifer Slegg:
“As Google has become more stringent with their algorithm, taking into account poor quality or paid links and notifying site owners about those inbound links that could cause problems,webmasters have been caught in the middle of trying to clean up link profiles that were years old or were put in place by a previous SEO company.
Simply put, while paid links has been a dirty word in the SEO industry for several years, it was also pretty common knowledge that they worked and worked well, so even sites that were otherwise completely white hat suddenly found themselves penalized over a bad backlink profile.
Throw in the fact that as Google’s algorithm got better at detecting poor quality links, some less ethical SEOs were buying links and pointing them at competitors, in hopes of taking down their competitors so their own sites would rank better. And then innocent webmasters were saddled with the challenge of attempting to clean upan aggressive negative SEO campaign against them, if they were even savvy enough to identify what happened.”
One Major Concern
What happens if your competitor points a bunch of ‘bad links’ to your site (A.K.A NegativeSEO)?
While not very common for small and midsized businesses, especially brick and mortar, the practice of‘negative SEO’ exists. One way we may employ this new tool is if one of our clients was the victim of a malicious Negative SEO campaign. If we were unable to remove the counter productive links manually then this tool would come in handy.
More from Slegg:
“Google has long been towing the line that there is very little a competitor can do to affect the rankings of others in the search results, although we have known that the “very little” was alive and causing major issues for some webmasters.
Unfortunately over the last year, negative SEO has become a real problem and much more prevalent, targeting competitors or enemies in an industry. By adding a link disavow tool, Google is admitting indirectly that negative SEO is a problem and exists – but also finally gives victims a tool to clean it up.”
There is a wild card – what if webmasters overuse the tool?
It is possible that there are unforeseen consequences for this tool. If large numbers of webmasters around the world decide to use the tool excessively, and link farms and other paid link sites get slaughtered one after another, there could be significant collateral damage to sites that link to seemingly ‘decent sites,’ who have links from ‘bad neighbourhoods.’ We’ll be on the look out for this potential chain reaction.
Touch base with us to get a better understanding on how to avoid these pitfalls, and keep your website rankings not only on track, but further increase your visibility and inbound traffic online.