Thursday, August 01, 2013

Google Link Disavow Tool

Google has finally released their link disavow tool enabling webmasters to report inorganic
inbound links for their domains. This document contains a step-by-step guide with screenshots
and a list of best practices including potential problems associated with the use of the tool.

What is the link disavow tool?
The tool allows you to disavow unnatural inbound links for a domain verified in your Google
Webmaster Tools. Specifically you can ask Google to ignore links you do not control if you
believe they could be harming your website’s rankings.
“If you believe your site's ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not

control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site.”

What are inorganic links?
Google uses links as one of their ranking signals and they want them to occur naturally. Paid
links, link exchanges or other types of link manipulation are considered ‘inorganic’ or ‘unnatural’.

How did I end up with inorganic links?
You may have created some yourself or perhaps your SEO company did. In some cases even third parties can create unnatural links for you. This can happen as part of random spam / content scraping, reputation management spam or deliberate attempt at much debated concept of ‘negative SEO’.

Examples of Inorganic Links
Here are some examples where inorganic links may appear:
● Automated link exchanges
● Low quality article and directory submissions
● Artificial blog networks
● Paid links
● Fake Profiles
● Blog Comment Spam
● Widgetbait Tactics
● Footer Link Spam
● Artificial Blogrolls
The above examples typically exhibit characteristics of manipulative anchor text

Why use this tool?
There are two reasons why you would use this tool:
1. Preventative
Inorganic links could potentially harm your website’s rankings and by using the link disavow
tool you can specify which links should be ignored by Google to prevent any algorithmic or manual action against your website.
2. Remedial
If your website has been affected by a search quality algorithm or manual action you can assist in the repair process by specifying which links Google should ignore.
There are several levels of action Google may take upon noticing search quality issues including:

● Algorithmic Filter (e.g. Panda, Penguin)
● Manual Action (various degrees of severity)
● Domain Ban

For example, Google recently sent out thousands of notifications to webmasters whose websites experienced partial intervention and only very granular action was taken against their content. This could, for example, affect the ability for a single page or phrase to rank in results after ignoring inorganic links pointing towards that page. Finding and disavowing unnatural links for troubled pages could be a good strategy to resolve the issue.

Use With Caution!

Google’s link disavow tool is an advanced feature, recommended for experienced and well informed webmasters. By removing good links you could impact your website’s ability to rank
in Google. If you are certain that the links you are about to disavow are indeed a part of a link
scheme and you do not control the links then this tool may be an option for you.

Do I have to use this tool?
No. You have an option to go directly to the source of your bad links and ask for them to be
removed. Some links are already ignored by Google and will not affect your website’s rankings.
One such example is any link which contains rel=”nofollow”. These will neither help nor harm
your website. Another example is various domain information websites such as domain
information websites (example: or parked domains.
Google already knows about these websites and deals with them appropriately on an
algorithmic level.

Link Disavow Tool:

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