Google finally launched their disavow link tool this week. This tool allows webmasters to eliminate spam links from consideration by Google algorithms when determining search positioning. To review, spam links are links that are obviously either created because a webmaster bought them or are from obscure directories or other sources unrelated to the content of the website being linked to and are for the purpose of affecting search engine rankings and little else. Short version: links that a human being would not use or click on. Bing has had a similar tool for a number of months.
Google’s Matt Cutts, in announcing the launch of the tool, has been clear that it should be used carefully. A specific example he cited was internal links, where use of the tool can be harmful to search engine rankings. If used carefully, this should be an expedient way to get rid of links that are causing Google’s “algorithmic actions”, otherwise known as ranking penalties, to go away.
The disavow link tool is currently not linked to Webmaster Tools, so you can access it through the hyperlink provided. If the directions are carefully followed, you should be able to effectively erase spam links from consideration by Google bots.
Bottom Line: The temptation to blame paid links or links that are interpreted by Google to be spam links should be avoided. Assignment of blame will not restore lost search engine rankings and positions or organic traffic. When you use the disavow link tool and the links have been disavowed, be patient to see results, as the bots will have to detect the information and apply the new algorithm before rankings will change. Also, do not undervalue the use of the Bing link disavow tool, as rankings for both Bing and Yahoo will be affected by correcting these link structures. Good SEO is built on hard work, and fixing SEO is even harder work, but both Bing and Google have created tools that will make this process at least a little less labor intensive.
Eric Van Cleave is a Partner in Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California based SEO and Website Development Firm.