Google’s New Disavow Tool Offers Online Businesses a Potential Clean Slate

Written by Simon Brew

November 30, 2012 // 12:47 p.m.

In October 2012, Google released their disavow tool; enabling webmasters to disavow (deny any responsibility or support for) certain links from other websites pointing to their own site – namely, any spam or totally irrelevant links which potentially are causing their website to be penalised by Google since the release of their Penguin algorithm update in April 2012.

The Penguin update to Google’s algorithm was launched to help target webspam by decreasing the search result rankings for sites that violate Google’s quality guidelines, especially in terms of links. However, some websites seem to have been penalised who don’t consider themselves to be engaging in any spam. Since this update, some webmasters have claimed it’s now easier than ever for reputable websites to be affected by competitors’ targeted spam link building against them.

If your website has ever been connected to linkspam, you may have received a message through Google’s ‘Webmaster Tools’ regarding “unnatural links” pointing to your site. Google sends this message when they see evidence of sites using link schemes that violate their quality guidelines, and recommends that those receiving these messages remove as many low-quality links pointing to their website as possible. Even when webmasters try to remove these links by contacting the sites that the links are from, is still possible that there are some links left that can’t be eradicated. After all, no webmaster can control what every other website on the Internet links to.

Google’s disavow tool has been designed help resolve this, and its development is great news for any websites that have fallen victim to ‘negative internet marketing’ being undertaken by competitors or black hat agencies against them; building spam links to their site in a deliberate effort to try and get them penalised by Google. The disavow tool allows webmasters to source these unnatural links and simply deny any connection to them.

In 2012 Google amended their stance on the subject of ‘negative internet marketing’ from more or less the denial of its existence, to accepting it can happen, and vowing to try and prevent it. It seems that this amendment and the development of the disavow tool are Google’s way of admitting that negative internet marketing techniques do exist, and need to be combated.

It’s a reality that webmasters need do all of the legwork if they have been sent an “unnatural links” warning; telling Google which links are spam as and when they are removed. This could well be a way for Google to vary their data on what makes a link ‘spam’ or ‘real’. They ask Webmasters to identify the links that they think fall outside of Google’s guidelines rather than specifically identifying these links for them. Thus Google can see which links the webmasters choose to disavow and incorporate this kind of data into their own algorithm in updates in the future.

Some internet marketing companies, such as SEO Consult, specialise in providing services geared towards natural link building techniques; taking the stance that natural linking is the key to overall internet marketing success. Other sites linking to yours because of excellent and useful content is the way forward, and the development of Google’s disavow tool only further shows the search engine’s steadfast belief this viewpoint.

By engaging in natural link building, you are also helping to protect your site’s image. Users may stumble across spam links pointing to your site on the web and jump to negative conclusions about your website or business, but the disavow tool allows such businesses to remove these links, gain a blank slate and help protect their business’ reputation.

If you would like to find out more about SEO Consult, or their range of organic link building services, please visit their website at http://www.seoconsult.com.

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