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Google Announces New Option to Disavow Links

Do you trust all the links pointing back to your website? In regards to SEO, having quality links pointing back to your site is critical and Google enforces that these links are indeed from quality sources.

In the past if site owners suspected they were receiving shady links from questionable sources it was necessary to launch a site rescue op to search, find and destroy such links to get back in Google’s good graces.

Google generally points out unnatural links when there is evidence of link exchanges, paid links or other link schemes that violate Google’s quality guidelines. The new disavow option poses a new threat to linkspam and helps address the issue of unnatural links pointing to your site.

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Google is constantly battling linkspam with algorithm updates and manual intervention in order to ensure search results produce the most pertinent sources to your search. This tool will not be necessary for many sites, but if you have received an email from Google referring to unnatural links it’s time to clue in.

When you visit Google’s Disavow links page in Webmaster Tools you will be presented with the image below:
From here you can select the site you wish to work with and you can upload a document stating which links you want to disavow. It is recommended that only advanced Webmaster users work with this tool.

To show the links that you would like to disavow you simply create a plain text file with one link on each line that resembles something like this:

The pound (#) symbol signals Google to ignore them and note that they are comments, so in the example above indicates the user would like to disavow 3 URLs.

You can choose to note all the links from a specific domain and you will be provided with a way to download the file you submit to make edits and resubmit it.

Note that Google will take any disavow link submission as a ‘very strong suggestion’, but it isn’t certain that they will be taken out of consideration.

If Google does choose to acknowledge your disavow request it will take a while (generally a couple weeks) for it to actually go through. Make sure that you are positive about the request as it will take even longer to reverse a disavowed link and there is a likely chance Google won’t give it as much value as before.

If you are certain that you have unwanted unnatural links to your site and haven been unsuccessful in taking action to remove these links previously, our experts would be happy to meet with you to discuss how we could assist you in the use of this power tool to clean up your site.

For a further explanation of the new disavow links tool see what Matt Cutts has to say in his video below:

17 October 2012


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