As many of you know, I’m a staunch White Hat SEO practitioner. Anything else in my mind is cheating. So imagine my excitement when Google announced this week they launched a Disavow Links Tool. Let me explain.
Some Black Hatters try to sabotage their competition, pushing down their SEO rankings by some pretty sneaky… and in my humble opinion, borderline criminal… techniques. They pose as their competitor and purchase links. I’m sure you’ve seen the ads “get 100 links a month for $199.” Inbound links is one data point Google uses in search ranking. In a perfect world, links are a vote of confidence a way of indicating that your content is worthy of quoting. Theoretically, the more links you have, the more votes of confidence you’ve received. However, when you buy links, it’s circumvents the natural selection process of rewarding great and useful content.
Purchased links are usually from spammers or link farms, sites specifically created to produce inbound links. Google’s search algorithm takes this into account, so more links doesn’t necessarily mean higher rankings. When indexing a page of content, Google asks approximately 200 questions to ferret out those sites who try to cheat the system. That’s why quality will always trump quantity.
Ok, now back to Google’s recent update. Before the Disavow Tool, legitimate sites that suffered from a Black Hatters spam link campaign, they didn’t have recourse in clearing their name. Now they do.
With that said, Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s web spam team, issued a warning. You should use the Disavow Tool only after trying to remove them manually, by working directly with the hosting links or company. If you don’t succeed, then resort to the process of notifying Google. Discounting the bogus links won’t be instantaneous. You need to be careful, so I recommend using a technical expert.
Hungry for more information? Then Matt Cutts explains the Disavow links feature of Google Webmaster Tools in this 9-minute video.
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