Published on by: James H. Hobson
This month Google, via Matt Cutts, has announced to website owners and SEO companies a wonderful gift. The new Disavow Link Tool makes it possible to put daylight between your site and bad backlinks. It's like being able to get rid of a dangerous stalker, lol.
Matt Cutts did make it very clear that use of this tool should be done with caution, and that disavowing good links can harm your site's rankings.
Bing launched a similar toll in early 2012. Because Google generates the lion's share of internet traffic the Google Disavow Tool is arguably more important.
Link Amnesty - Removing Bad Backlinks
About Bad Links
Whether your competiton tried to use negative SEO, you hired a black-hat SEO provider, innocently acquired links without intent to spam search engines, or simply recognize that link amnesty may be in your best interest. Links to your site that may be considered to be bad links can include links from bad neighborhoods, blog wheels, link farms, and generally dubious sources.
The existence of bad links can give a search engine the impression that these links exist because you allowed it to happen. At one time link building was an everyday practice with minor distinctions between black-hat and white-hat methods to do link building. Some companies have innocently hired several SEO providers and had no specifics on what was being done to improve search engine rankings. Google has now made it possible for a website owner to amend any past link building sins.
Google's Webmaster Central Blog explains how this tool may be used and why it may make sense for you to consider using it. A quote from the site is
If you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on “unnatural links” pointing to your site, this tool can help you address the issue. . . . By removing the bad links directly, you’re helping to prevent Google (and other search engines) from taking action again in the future. You’re also helping to protect your site’s image, since people will no longer find spammy links pointing to your site on the web and jump to conclusions about your website or business.
Google (Matt Cutts) Disavow Link Video
Do You Have Backlinks Harming Your Site?
The most obvious way to know if you have a problem is by checking for messages in your Webmaster Tools. If you don't use this tool there are alternative methods to find spammy backlinks. By using a backlink check service you can identify most of the backlinks to your site. You can then manually review the list to identify links from sites that may be considered sapmmy, bad neighborhoods or otherwise questionable. By making a list of these backling sources you can then take action to have them disavowed by Google.
We found this article to be very informative regarding details on how to use the new tool.
If your site experienced significant ranking losses in 2012 this tool may be for you. There may be other technical problems that also need to be resolved in order to recover competitive rankings. We encourage you to contact us for consulting or services to help you manage rank loss problems.