Cutts announces Google’s disavow links tool

Published on
by Brafton Editorial
Google's Matt Cutts announced a new disavow links tool for marketers to eliminate low-quality inbound links to their sites.

Google’s Matt Cutts announced the company has rolled out a disavow links tool during his presentation at PubCon Las Vegas 2012 on Tuesday. He explained the feature will help marketers clean up spammy backlinks to gradually improve their sites’ SEO. This is a long-awaited feature for marketers who believe they’ve been hit by Penguin. Still, in a Google Webmaster video released shortly after the announcement, Cutts said most sites, even those with some low-quality links, will not have to use the tool.

“We want to reiterate that most people do not have to use this the tool,” he said. “There’s been a little bit of a brouhaha in the last few months about people wanting to clean up their backlinks. But if you’re an average mom and pop doing normal sorts of things and nothing that’s egregious or aggressive SEO … this is not a tool you should need to use.”

“There’s been a little bit of a brouhaha in the last few months about people wanting to clean up their backlinks. But if you’re an average mom and pop doing normal sorts of things and nothing that’s egregious or aggressive SEO … this is not a tool you should need to use.” – Google’s Matt Cutts

When (and how) to use the disavow links feature

Using the disavow links feature won’t result in instant search ranking improvements, and it shouldn’t be marketers’ first step for eliminating spam links. Cutts advised marketers who had bought links, syndicated low-quality content on article farms or used other linkspam to request manual link removal from site owners before reaching out to Google. He conceded that it’s likely that not all spam links will be removed upon request. At that point, the disavowal tool can help eliminate additional undesirable links.

To use the disavow links tool, marketers can create a text file and upload unwanted linking domains to begin the process. As they discover more low-quality links, marketers can make updates to inform Google of further issues.

Google launched a long-awaited disavow links tool on Tuesday.

While the tool will help sites gradually improve a search presence, Cutts said Google is not required to remove links if the company has reason to distrust the request. Moreover, the process is not immediate, as Cutts reported it could take weeks for links to disappear.

Identifying the links to remove

Earlier this year, Google rolled out a tool that allows marketers and webmasters to download lists of their inbound links. Cutts said companies should use this feature to assess the most recent links to their sites. He suggested marketers use the list to see when links correlate with warnings from Google to identify the types of links that negatively impact search position.

“When we provide the unnatural links warning, we’ll give you (as many as three) examples of the sorts of links that we’re talking about. Now, this is not a comprehensive list. We’re saying ‘these are the sorts of links that we are trying to ignore or that we don’t count or that we think look low-quality or spammy.’” – Matt Cutts

“When we provide the unnatural links warning, we’ll give you (as many as three) examples of the sorts of links that we’re talking about,” Cutts said in the video. “Now, this is not a comprehensive list. We’re saying ‘these are the sorts of links that we are trying to ignore or that we don’t count or that we think look low-quality or spammy.’ The message does not mean remove these two or three links and do a reconsideration request. We’re giving you (examples of) the sorts of links we’d like to see taken down.”

According to Cutts, a small percentage of webmasters and marketers receive link warnings from Google. For most, a few undesirable links are unlikely to impact overall search ranking. More often than not, sites that previously engaged in some form of linkspam are the only ones that should need to disavow links.

The evolution of Panda and Penguin along with the other search algorithms means sites that receive low-quality links by no fault of their own shouldn’t be impacted too heavily, Cutts said.

“I realize even if I tell everybody this, there will still be people that run for the disavowal tool,” he said. “Again, whenever we get reconsideration requests , we’re going to look at the list of links that existed before, and we’re going to be doing spot checks (to make sure links are removed) … If you’re not using (spammy links), this probably isn’t something you need to be using.”

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  • RapedByGoogle

    Google Stock dropping 10% today. I am sooooo happy. I am a web developer and supporter of Google for over 15 years. I take Google’s recent updates as a personal attack. I am stepping off the Google train immediately!!! No more Google phone, docs, chrome, tablet, adwords, adsense, etc…. I am ditching everything Google. The new definition of Google: The founder of antitrust and financial terrorism. The government must act and declare martial law on Google today!!!