Google’s Latest & Greatest (?) … The Disavow Tool

By: iCopywriter Blogger & Senior Techie-Researcher, Kimberly Crossland

Search engine optimization continues to advance as Google announces yet another update to their algorithm. This time, however, Google is giving power back to website owners to help them fight back against backlinks that may be considered ‘spammy’ and harmful to their rankings online.

Earlier this year, Google released their Penguin update to their search engine algorithm. One of the most controversial changes in the Penguin update was the punishment on websites that appear to Google as having purchased backlinks to try to boost their website in the search engine results. The concern with this was not against the companies who were doing this, but that competitors to websites could potentially do this to try to hurt their competition in the search engine rankings, and a legitimate business could be severely impacted with no way to retaliate or recover.

Now, the Google disavow tool has taken this concern and given website owners a way to disavow the links that they feel are hurting their site. According our friends at Elevated Search, this is:

“…for all of the people who were affected by the Penguin update that had over-optimized anchor text. A lot of people had gone out to try to request the web masters to remove these links and a lot of situations happened. One, they were successful in getting the links removed. That’s not a high percentage. And two, these webmasters are now actually charging you to remove the links… Now you can actually tell Google, here’s a list of the links, I have tried to remove these links, please disavow them.”

Through the new Disavow tool, found here, website owners can enter websites that they feel are hurting their search engine results because of their poor backlinks. Here’s how you can disavow any links you feel may be hurting your site:

  • List harmful URL’s in a text file
  • Access the Disavow tool by Google (Bing has one too)
  • Select your website, follow instructions and submit

Once you have finished submitting your links, Google warns that it could take a few weeks for Google to accept your submission. And in some cases, Google may revoke your request. Google warns that you should take caution when using this tool. An accidental submission could take even longer to resubmit or reavow a link. The team at Elevated Search agrees with Google:

“This tool is dangerous for your…amateur SEO. It could hurt you if you are not careful.”

If you were impacted by the Google Penguin update, as many English websites were, this tool may be your lifeline to help you recover from their algorithm changes. But, as we mentioned, it is a tool that should be used with caution. If you are concerned that you may need to disavow links, here is the full blog post from Google with more information.

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Photo Credit: ivanpw