Google Releases a Disavow Links Tool – FINALLY!

Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, Feeds, News, SEO

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Yesterday I spent most of my morning listening to Grant Simmons’ brilliant webinar “The Ghosts of SEO Past,” which explored alternative SEO outreach strategies to paid linking. So it’s convenient that Google released a Disavow Links Tool this afternoon, and not a moment too soon as Bing Webmaster Tools launched this functionality back in June (Bing it on!). This tool is hugely important in assisting webmasters clean up their backlink profile. As Grant mentioned this morning – clean up the bad stuff! Now instead of having to rely on the mercy of webmasters linking to your site and their willingness to update or remove links, you now have a secondary option to help clean up your backlink profile. But don’t go crazy disavowing all of the questionable links to your site, instead read The Search Agency’s advice below, and comment below with questions.  

Some things to know about this tool:

  • Only site owners can disavow links. If you have an agency or consultant handling your SEO strategies, you’ll have to change their level of access. Google restricted access in this way because webmasters should not go crazy disavowing links.
  • Disavowing a link is just a suggestion, not a directive, to Google (akin to demoting Sitelinks in Google Webmaster Tools). However, Matt Cutts claims that it will typically be considered. It’s not a bad idea to continue reaching out to webmasters to have them remove unwanted links to your site, in addition to using this Disavow Links tool.
  • It will take some time for Google to update the disavowals in their index. Google needs to re-crawl and re-index your site in order for the disavowals to be honored. Try using Fetch to have Googlebot recrawl your site quicker.
  • This tool can be used by sites that did not receive an unnatural link warning. Google is constantly rolling out updates, so this is a good opportunity to look at your backlink profile and pre-emptively do some house cleaning. For further advice – read Steve McQuaide’s article “What to do about Google’s confusing link warnings.”

Additional takeaways:

  • If you received an Unnatural Links warning but haven’t yet filed a reconsideration request, this Disavow tool will help make your case stronger. We recommend that you wait a few weeks for the disavowals to be recognized by Google, then submit the reconsideration request.
  • Inbound links with brand-focused anchor text is one of the strongest signals of a natural link. Users should know exactly what kind of content they will land on when they click on a link to an external site. Misleading anchor text is one of the factors that lead to the unnatural link warnings in the first place.
  • Don’t be afraid to link freely! Even as the web evolves to incorporate social media mentions and user experience signals, the search engines still view the internet as an interconnected web of documents. If someone links to you in a relevant way, don’t go crazy disavowing links because you’re afraid they may appear unnatural.
  Cheers to taking steps toward a cleaner, spam-free web! Special thanks to Steve McQuaide for his help with this article!Rich Text AreaToolbarBold (Ctrl + B)Italic (Ctrl + I)Strikethrough (Alt + Shift + D)Unordered list (Alt + Shift + U)Ordered list (Alt + Shift + O)Blockquote (Alt + Shift + Q)Align Left (Alt + Shift + L)Align Center (Alt + Shift + C)Align Right (Alt + Shift + R)Insert/edit link (Alt + Shift + A)Unlink (Alt + Shift + S)Insert More Tag (Alt + Shift + T)Toggle spellchecker (Alt + Shift + N)▼ Toggle fullscreen mode (Alt + Shift + G)Show/Hide Kitchen Sink (Alt + Shift + Z) FormatFormat▼ UnderlineAlign Full (Alt + Shift + J)Select text color▼ Paste as Plain TextPaste from WordRemove formattingInsert custom characterOutdentIndentUndo (Ctrl + Z)Redo (Ctrl + Y)Help (Alt + Shift + H) Yesterday I spent most of my morning listening to Grant Simmons’ brilliant webinar “The Ghosts of SEO Past,” which explored alternative SEO outreach strategies to paid linking. So it’s convenient that Google released a Disavow Links Tool this afternoon, and not a moment too soon as Bing Webmaster Tools launched this functionality back in June (Bing it on!). This tool is hugely important in assisting webmasters clean up their backlink profile. As Grant mentioned this morning – clean up the bad stuff! Now instead of having to rely on the mercy of webmasters linking to your site and their willingness to update or remove links, you now have a secondary option to help clean up your backlink profile. But don’t go crazy disavowing all of the questionable links to your site, instead read The Search Agency’s advice below, and comment below with questions. Some things to know about this tool: Only site owners can disavow links. If you have an agency or consultant handling your SEO strategies, you’ll have to change their level of access. Google restricted access in this way because webmasters should not go crazy disavowing links. Disavowing a link is just a suggestion, not a directive, to Google (akin to demoting Sitelinks in Google Webmaster Tools). However, Matt Cutts claims that it will typically be considered. It’s not a bad idea to continue reaching out to webmasters to have them remove unwanted links to your site, in addition to using this Disavow Links tool. It will take some time for Google to update the disavowals in their index. Google needs to re-crawl and re-index your site in order for the disavowals to be honored. Try using Fetch to have Googlebot recrawl your site quicker. This tool can be used by sites that did not receive an unnatural link warning. Google is constantly rolling out updates, so this is a good opportunity to look at your backlink profile and pre-emptively do some house cleaning. For further advice – read Steve McQuaide’s article “What to do about Google’s confusing link warnings.” Additional takeaways: If you received an Unnatural Links warning but haven’t yet filed a reconsideration request, this Disavow tool will help make your case stronger. We recommend that you wait a few weeks for the disavowals to be recognized by Google, then submit the reconsideration request. Inbound links with brand-focused anchor text is one of the strongest signals of a natural link. Users should know exactly what kind of content they will land on when they click on a link to an external site. Misleading anchor text is one of the factors that lead to the unnatural link warnings in the first place. Don’t be afraid to link freely! Even as the web evolves to incorporate social media mentions and user experience signals, the search engines still view the internet as an interconnected web of documents. If someone links to you in a relevant way, don’t go crazy disavowing links because you’re afraid they may appear unnatural. Cheers to taking steps toward a cleaner, spam-free web! Special thanks to Steve McQuaide for his help with this article! Path:

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2 Responses to “Google Releases a Disavow Links Tool – FINALLY!”

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  2. luke says:

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