News – Google Releases Disavow Tool October 2012
Google disavow tool has finally arrived – after months of speculation about it and when it would be released to the public. At PubCon, in Las Vegas, Matt Cutts of Google made the announcement that the disavow tool is now available in their Webmaster Tools. Previously Matt Cutts had hinted at such a tool becoming available, when he attended the SMX Advanced in July.
The Google disavow tool will allow you to inform Google of any links, to your website, that you would like to ignore. This is a way for Google to allow you to clean up your backlinks, especially those that you don’t want linking to your website, and those affecting your page rank with Google. Those who have received emails from Google, about unnatural links to their site, now have a way to tell Google to ignore these links. If you’ve hired people in the past to do backlink work for your website, and they haven’t used White Hat protocols, Google is giving you a way to clean up any behavior that they consider to be inappropriate.
But, and this is important, Google actually expects websites to try and get those links removed from those websites, through your own efforts. The disavow tools will help with Google Search, but other search engines who don’t have this tool at this point in time, will still be showing that you have a number of spammy looking links directed at your website. Google does recognize that this is not always possible to achieve, but they do expect you to try. When all else fails, then they are allowing you to use their new Disavow Tool.
If you decide that you want to make use of the tool, webmasters will then have to decide what links to disavow. Google recommends that you first look at your list of links. These links to your website can now be downloaded through Webmaster Tools, and you’ll find them sorted by the date that Google first discovered them. Should you receive a warning message from Google, they will now try to include a number of examples of some of your spammy links, so that you can assess why they think those links are low quality and shouldn’t be linking to your website.
The disavow tool will be simple to use, but Cutts explains that for the average website there is no problem. But, if you’ve been using article sites, paid links, hiring people from overseas to do linking strategies, then you probably are the one this tool is designed for. Basically what Google is going to allow you to do, is upload a text file of links, that you would prefer to have them ignore. You’ll also have the ability in that text file, besides naming the domain, to advise Google on your efforts to have these bad links removed. This file will allow you, over time, to add other links or other pertinent information and Google will review it when it’s updated.
On the reverse side, if you’ve linked to sites who then want to disavow your website, Google will not necessarily penalize your site, but will treat it as a “strong” suggestion that for some reason, someone does not want to be linked to you, and may investigate your site to see if there is a good reason for it to be looked at.
When you upload your disavow links, it will take weeks before Google may get to processing your file. In the beginning you can expect that time frame to be even longer, as Google is likely to be flooded with disavow requests. If you send Google a reconsideration request for your website, you should also notify them that you have uploaded a disavow file, which will then help them to process your request more quickly.
It’s important to remember that this tool is basically for “power users”, and that most websites should not need to use this tool. If in doubt, consult with your SEO person and discuss the situation with them. It’s important to remember, that once you disavow a link, the process to get that link back, if you change your mind, will be extremely difficult. It’s important to be careful what you put in the disavow file. This is where Google expects you to do as much investigation as possible before hand, and provide them with information, before you follow the disavow process. It would be beneficial to have your SEO person do an audit of your backlinks before you proceed with the disavow process.
Google is stressing that they expect you to do most of the work yourself to get links removed. Those who don’t do this will find their requests taking longer than necessary, as Google will give preference to those who have done the necessary work.
Do the necessary work, have your website audited by a professional SEO firm and then proceed from there.