Received an “unnatural links” warning from Google? Getting rid of their effect may be made a little easier with Google’s new “disavow links” tool (but there are a few caveats).
Many sites gaining inbound links through methods frowned upon by Google have found themselves sent to Google hell over the last year or so.
Cleaning up an inbound link profile can be troublesome. It’s not only time-consuming, but it’s not uncommon for sites hosting the low quality links to ignore requests for removal – or demand payment to have them removed.
Google is now offering a last-resort tool to disavow those links. This is not a get out jail free card. Google advises attempts must be made to approach the sites’ admins first to have those links removed and use of the tool does not guarantee lifting of the bad karma associated with those links, nor a speedy change even if Google decides to. It can take some weeks for the action to take effect.
Google also says the tool can be used in situations where a competitor may have launched a negative SEO campaign against your site, although it emphasises that it has processes in place to help identify this sort of activity.
The tool could be a blessing in particular to site owners who haven’t carried out dodgy inbound link campaigns themselves, but the SEO agency they’ve hired has – and perhaps without their knowledge.
The launch of the disavow links tool – the fact one was needed – serves as a reminder that site owners need to be very careful who they engage to execute search engine optimization work as an ounce of prevention is worth a million pounds of cure in this respect.
A more in-depth explanation of the tool and how to access it, along with a related Matt Cutts video can be viewed here.