Speaking at the Pubcon conference yesterday, Matt Cutts announced the introduction of the Google Disavow Links Tool which allows websites to disavow links that may be harming their site. Bing released its own disavow links tool earlier this year to combat sites that attempt to manipulate rankings with spammy link profiles.
What is the Disavow Links Tool?
The introduction of Google Penguin led to concern that poor quality links could be harming sites in the rankings and leave them open to negative SEO tactics from competitors. SEOs advised a strategy of link pruning to ensure webmasters would not face penalties for “unnatural links” pointing to their site. The long-anticipated disavow tool has been introduced in an effort to give webmasters greater control over sites linking to them. Webmasters can use the disavow tool to discount bad links that are pointing to them that may be counted as negative votes towards their site.
When Should You Disavow Links?
Matt Cutts warned that webmasters should be cautious in their approach to using the disavow tool. The disavow links tool should only be used where post-Penguin link removal strategies have failed or webmasters are unable to receive an adequate response from problem sites. One reason for this is that disavowing links takes a few weeks to take effect and could take just as long should you need to re-avow one. Additionally, Google will be able to flag any domains that show an unnatural spike in disavows, indicating that they may have escaped the algorithm’s spam detection.
How to Disavow Links
If you want to disavow links, you must list the URLs you wish Google to discount in a text file to the disavow links tool page. Select your website and follow the instructions to upload your text file. Individual pages can be disavowed as well as entire domains. If the site you wish to disavow has both a .com and .co.uk web address, both domains need to be added to the file. Should additional links need to be disavowed in the future, the text file can be re-submitted with the amendments.
If you are concerned that your site is suffering from a poor back link profile,talk to our SEO specialists today and find out how you can strengthen your site and avoid Google penalties that could affect your site traffic and rankings.
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