With Google becoming more strict with their algorithm, and taking into account low class links or paid links and warning site owners about those incoming links that could cause difficulties, webmasters have been trying to remove link profiles that were sometimes years old or they were put in place by an earlier SEO company.
Basically, while paid links have been a bad word in the SEO business for quite a few years, it was also fairly publicly known that they worked and worked well, so even sites that were otherwise totally white hat unexpectedly found themselves punished over a bad backlink profile.
Toss in the information that as Google’s algorithm has gotten better at finding low quality links, some less moral SEO companies were purchasing links and directing them at competitors, in hopes of bringing down their competitors so their own websites would rank better. And then guiltless webmasters were burdened with the task of trying to clean up a destructive SEO fight against them, if they were even knowledgeable enough to pinpoint what happened.
Not unexpectedly, some webmasters found it almost unmanageable to get a reply from site owners who were linking to them, regardless of emails and even registered postal mail to the whois addresses. Matt told a tale of one webmaster that incorporated a photo of the pile of mail he had sent to webmasters in an effort to get the links taken off when he submitted his Google reconsideration appeal.
But if a webmaster could not get an answer from the site owner to get the link taken off, they plainly had no alternative to try and get the bad backlink punishment lifted and get back into Google’s good graces.
Lastly, webmasters were basically getting stressed out because of all the link removal appeals they were getting, even on links that were already no-follow such as blog comment links or for links on websites that were not punished in any way, because webmasters were trying to wipe the slate clean by directing link removal appeals to every site that had ever linked to them.
And not startlingly, some webmasters basically stopped answering due to the sheer volume of appeals, mostly from large sites that have had a dynamic user base over the years. Then of course, some knowledgeable or immoral, depending on which way you look at it webmasters began charging a link elimination fee because several just saw zero worth in taking the time and energy to uphold link appeals without reward, mainly because most of those links were initially put on the sites by request.
Harmful SEO Happens
Google has long been dragging the line there is a very minute chance that a competitor can do anything to affect the positions of others in the search results, even though we have recognized that the “very minute” was thriving and causing major problems for some webmasters.
Regrettably over the past year, harmful SEO has developed a real difficulty and it has become much more rampant, affecting competitors or foes in a business. With the addition of the link disavow tool, Google is acknowledging ultimately that harmful SEO is a problem and occurs – but also finally offers victims a tool to clean it up.
Practice with Care
Matt Cutts warned that the tool ought to only be used when other paths to eliminate the links have been unsuccessful. Nevertheless lazy webmasters will go straight to the tool and not even worry about trying to get them eliminated justifiably by communicating with the website owners… in fact; it would not have amazed me if individuals were submitting their lists even though Matt was still concluding his crucial message.
Wait a Minute…But seeing the link disavow tool in a different light, there are various unplanned or possibly planned concerns that could see the disavow tool used for malicious intent, instead of as a clean-up tool for webmasters who have no other approach around it, and was perhaps why Matt kept reiterating it ought to only be used in extreme circumstances where other link elimination efforts flop.
“It Normally Will Not Affect You”
Google could certainly use the disavow tool as a indication that a site is passing bad links if there are various webmasters all disavowing links from matching sites.
Someone asked precisely whether someone using harmful SEO strategies could disavow your site in order to see it being punished by Google but Matt indicated “It normally will not affect you” if people submit a disavow link file encompassing links to your site.
Yes, it would not affect you, but I can certainly see Google using it as a prompt to perhaps manually spam check those sites that are being highlighted recurrently by webmasters or used to spot footprints left by link spammers.
Do not Be Malicious
It also brings up the thought-provoking enquiry about someone abusing the tool from inside a business. A hostile consultant with a customer evading bills or a dismissed worker who has Google Webmaster Central admittance could cause some severe destruction by disavowing trusted links to websites as payback against the business, if it is concealed well enough in the interface that a less knowledgeable SEO may not even recognize it.
Obviously, this could be alleviated easily with one of the recurrent communications in Webmaster Central prompting users that they are disavowing links, particularly if a site is maintained by several users.
While Matt said it could take numerous weeks for the disavow file to work, he warned it would take much longer to reverse it, which would be a fairly large influence for any business who had a fabricated disavow link file submitted on their behalf.
The Decisive Disavow Link List
I am doubtful it also will not take long for huge “disavow links” lists that have well recognized link farms, paid link sites and low value sites to start presenting themselves on blogs and forums that Webmasters can duplicate into their own disavow link file and upload it to Google.
And it would be fairly easy for someone to drop a rival or two into the list, since you can be sure that individuals won’t be hand examining a list of one thousand sites someone posts somewhere.
Sign to the Naive Webmasters
Individuals who have been affected with bad links will most likely take very hefty-handed attitudes to the links they disavow in their dread of noticing their traffic take a big nose-dive. There is no qualm that some of those good links that are truly helping the site will end up in the list along with low value ones since the webmaster is either uncertain about whether a link is a bad influence, or just think the beginning a new approach is the finest one to go with.
So good websites could also have their sites possibly highlighted as a potential bad source of links because of naive webmasters, even though those naive webmasters are really making more work for themselves by disavowing links that are really helping them.
When Bing launched their link disavow tool, we all knew it would only be a matter of time before Google would have to follow suit. But when one reflects on the potential disadvantages of such a tool, it isn't surprising that Google was apparently a step overdue while they assessed the value of the tool and then had a hand-picked group of webmasters take the tool out for a test drive before it became public.
Will this end the problem of webmasters trying to punish their competitors through paid links? Of course not, since there would still be an interruption between a site being punished for paid links and the cleanup being done via emails or the disavow tool.
The disavow tool isn't the game changer some individuals are making it out to be, but there is no hesitation it is a very valuable tool to a section of webmasters who need more control over off-site matters affecting their search positions.
Maybe we will see further procedures in place to avoid fallout from misuse of the link disavow tool if it does result in impacting webmasters harmfully, or possibly Google will end up assessing the data from all disavow proposals and regulate the huge majority of submitted sites are ones formerly recognized as low value link sites and there is no need to do anything with the lingering data.
And while harmful SEO and paid links are all the rage right now, this time next year there will be some new cutting edge procedure that spammers will be using to game Google and with it will come new punishments, strategies and tools from Google.