Google Disavow links tool finally arrives
After months of speculation, Matt Cutts has finally announced the addition of the disavow links tool to Google Webmaster Tools.
Hot on the heels of the tool already present in Bing Webmaster Tools, Google has followed suit to help site owners who believe their rankings are suffering because of poor quality sites linking in.
For those who received an unnatural links email from Google earlier on in 2012, this tool has been a long time coming. Although Google still advises all webmaster to remove any links they feel are unnatural, or are causing them to rank poorly in the search engines, this is often easier said than done.
A large number of site owners received emails relating to unnatural link building earlier on this year and subsequent penalties were applied, which meant sites plummeted in the rankings. Some sites completely dropped out of the rankings, while others were penalised for certain keywords.
These penalisations were for heavy keyword rich anchor text, paid links, link schemes etc. In other words, if it looked unnatural, you were likely to receive a message.
Although this tool launching is great news for those suffering from a penalisation it may not solve all of your problems. Google have explained that firstly, the tool is very new so they don’t want webmasters flood the tool by overreacting and removing too many links from their site, as doing this will again hurt how the site performs in the rankings.
Google have also warned that once you’ve submitted the disavow tool webmaster need to wait for their site to be re-crawled and indexed before determining whether it has worked or not. Google have also explained that after you use the disavow tool you should always submit a re-inclusion request and explain this.
Since the original penalisations were put in place early in the year there has been mixed opinions in the SEO world as to whether re-inclusion requests should be done. The reason for this is that although some websites managed to bounce back after submitting the re-inclusion request, there were many sites which were issued with a further penalisation as Google believed their sites still didn’t adhere to the guidelines.
So what can we take from this? If you’ve suffered a penalisation you need to do everything you can to remove the links. Once you are completely satisfied you have done everything possible to clean up your backlink profile, you should then use the disavow tool. Give Google chance to re-crawl and re-index your site and if you see the remaining links have been removed, and you’re sure your site doesn’t break any of the guidelines set out by Google, then you should submit a re-inclusion request and explain the process you’ve been through to Google.
Danielle Williams, SEO manager