Google Launches Disavow Tool
Ever since Google launched it’s Penguin update back in April 2012, many webmasters have been scratching around on the web trying to have bad links to their sites removed. The common cause of these was by people hiring low quality SEO companies who hit their websites with literally thousands of keyword rich links, often from automated blog comments, buying links and in some cases mass directory submissions. Of course, many site owners have since discovered the hard way that there really is no quick cheap fix to gaining good web results and have plummeted back down the search results at a rate infinitely faster than they got there.
All this has left website and business owners with a bit of a dilemma, what to do? They could try to contact the site owners and ask for the anchor text to be changed or the links to be removed completely, in the case of some directories that would be feasible, but not for thousands of comments on blogs which don’t have any contact details available (Yes I know you could look up the “who is” record, but you can be pretty sure that if they don’t have a contact form on the website, they really don’t want to be contacted).
Some webmaster tools users were lucky enough to have received a warning that they have bad links, directly from Google (if you could consider that lucky), which at least pointed them in the right direction, but again it didn’t help them to actually do anything about it. So now Google have made the Disavow tool available, and it’s been a long time coming.
How to use the Disavow Tool from Google
There is a really good article on who should use it, how to use it and a warning to be incredibly careful, from Dr Pete at Seo Moz, so I’m not going to go through full instructions here, just see this article if you feel that you could benefit from getting rid of backlinks. However I will echo his warning before you charge off and start getting rid of backlinks.
This is a very powerful tool and it’s virtually impossible to know exactly which links are hurting your website, so don’t just log in and start wiping out every single link which OSE or Majestic tells you is low authority. If you do this you could well be removing links which are helping your site to rank. He gives a good example of identifying the most likely bad links (they have experience of this after Rand challenged the SEO world to negatively impact their own site), but it’s probably wise advice to get advice before even looking at it.
So why Would Google do This?
Well, that’s quite an easy question to answer. Firstly it’s a bit like those self service checkouts in supermarkets, they are getting you to do their work for them. However, I also suspect that when a website owner logs in and suddenly starts removing thousands of backlinks, it would flag it up to them and they may take a closer look at the site, they may not have thought that you were doing anything particularly dodgy, but by suddenly removing a whole load of links, you obviously did, so they may take a closer look. Another reason to use it with caution,