Today Google announced that they have finally come out with a tool that allows webmasters to disavow links to their website via Google’s Webmaster Tools. Bing came out with this quite a while ago, but remains fairly irrelevant when compared to Google still in terms of traffic for more sites. I noticed that they mention that actually removing the links that are bad is still the advised route to take over using this wonderful new tool. Why do all of the work to actually remove the links when one can just use this tool though? It takes a TON of time and resources, and ultimately money, to do this. I know, I’ve done this sort of thing for a few clients over the years. More on this later in this post.
More Google Webmaster Tools Data! (1:57)
At 1 minute and 57 seconds in, Matt Cutts unveils one can now download a list of links from Google Webmaster Tools and have noted the date at which Google first found the link. This is huge! That is valuable data. Something Google almost never gives up. And it gets even better. Because at 2:13 in Cutts proclaims that Google is working on a way to include 2-3 examples of links they feel are not good within the unnatural links messages they send people via Google Webmaster Tools. More data? I know, it sounds too good to be true right?
Tips for Reinclusion Requests (5:55)
Note that you have disavowed links so that Google can then check “check up on it.” Which is making it sound more and more like using the disavow tool will not always actually disavow the link. They actually mention this a few times throughout the video too, trying to hammer home this idea that they are not liable for actually disavowing a link. So this is why they don’t recommend this as the first course of action to take once you have isolated a perceived bad link.
Power Users Need Only Apply (6:00)
Reversing course on a link that you’ve disavowed with this tool will be a real bear, so make darned well sure you disavow the right links. They are stressing that this is not a tool that too many people need to use. I notice that they actually do a good job of reinforcing the idea to not go all “willy nilly,” as Cutts puts it, with the tool. Approach with caution, do not make snap decisions when using this tool. Do not freak out and go on a disavowing frenzy.
I find that Google’s emphasis on treading lightly with their new Disavow Links Tool refreshing because what is going to happen is that people are going to use it way to much. I’ve been in this business a long time and have worked with hundreds of different clients from all walks and niches. And I just know that people are going to use this tool too much and in the wrong ways. And many people are going to lose their rankings because of it. I hope I’m wrong, unless of course you’re that competitor that’s been beating me out in a specific niche with a ton of paid links and spammy blog posts!
I also see their extra care in warning people in this video as a sort of admission of guilt too. That when they launched the warning and notification messages that were getting sent to people via Google Webmaster Tools, that they did so irresponsibly. I know of a bunch of examples of businesses that were hurt by the confusion that was created by these emails. And I think that Google realizes this and is working to temper people’s reactions and use of the Disavow Links Tool.
Unfortunately, people will still use this tool the wrong way and will get hurt. As far as the impact this has on improving sites, or bringing them back from penalties, only time will tell. I’m sort of conflicted as to how beneficial this will end up being. Will it stop me from using it? It will not. And I feel that most people will lean this way and will use it, despite Google’s proclamation that this is an advanced tool for “power users” only and that most people should not and do not need to use this tool.