Why a Disavow Tool?
The Penguin Update first landed on April 24th 2012 and targeted webspam. It was a major change in how Google calculates their search results, because for the first time instead of ignoring spam links, they now counted as “negative votes”.
SEO works on two levels:
- On-page SEO, what each page of your site is about, the site structure, speed etc
- Off-page SEO, who is talking about you and links pointing to your web pages
What happens off-page is a major chunk of the calculation as to where your website ranks. For years, search was a popularity contest and ranking a website often decended into mass link building with keyword anchor text – because that is what worked.
Mass link building is often automated spamming of blog comments, forum posting and article submission all with the same link text back to the web page. This is why some SEO’s are so cheap, other than loading up their tools very little effort is involved.
Sites that have paid links that pass page rank have also been Penguin pecked. Paid links can be an exchange for goods or services including paid blog posts or reviews. Check out Google’s help page about bad links and link schemes.
These are exactly the type of links Penguin pecked. Instead of being ignored, they count as negative votes.
Google Launch Disavow Tool
Yesterday, Google announced the launch of their disavow tool. The tool allows you to submit links to Google that you do not want taking into account in your site ranking. It’s not all good news. If you have been pecked by Penguin you still must make an effort to get those links removed.
Unfortunately, taking the links down is not as easy as putting them up! A whole industry has sprung up to do this time consuming and often frustrating task for you, but there are no guarantees.
This 10 minute video from Matt Cutts explains how the disavow tool works
Who Needs The Disavow Tool?
The release of the disavow tool isn’t an invite to rush over and removing random links. You don’t want to stop links pointing to your website, links are still relevant in rankings!
It’s an advanced tool for webmasters to correct bad linking practices. If you (or your SEO) have taken part in link schemes, link spamming or link buying and you think you have been affected by the Penguin updates the first step is to request removal of the links from those websites.
If you are a small business owner and think you have been affected byPenguin and need help identifying your link profile and low quality links, do get in touch.
Over to you…
Have you been affected by the Penguin updates? Will you find the disavow tool useful?