At long last, after months of promising, Google have finally released their ‘don’t count these links’ tool or to give it its proper terminology ‘Disavow tool’. So, is this what we all need?The answer is a resounding yes, but is it enough of a tool to help ease the pain of many webmasters hit by the Penguin algorithm?

Sadly I believe there is a fatal flaw in this, and that flaw is that Google simply don’t report (in webmaster tools) ALL the links it is using in the evaluation of your site within its algorithms

Matt cutts head of web-spam at Google introduced the tool in the above video.  This is quite a lonmg video, but tehre are a few key things he mentions and they are that you should look at RECENT links. Now this is a big thing, as only a few months ago, John Mu (another senior Google guy) stated that ALL links should be looked at as all links are evaluated. So looking at this statement by Matt it tells me that ‘maybe’ Google is using recent links as the trigger, and again, possibly to combat negative seo (something that thanks to the changes Google made, is now a real world practice. I have certainly managed to get some of my test sites blown out of the water. (sorry test sites but that is what you are there for, taking one for the team :D )

Next Matt says that Google are working on a system so that 2 or 3 link examples will be given in the warning message in WebMasterTools, again this is a real help, and I for one think that some ‘guest bloggers’ will be stunned to see that what they have  is a rose by any other name, and the name of that rose is un-natural links.  Understand that I am not for one second stating that all guest blogging is bad, but certainly it is likely to be the next thing on the spam radar for Google in my opinion , especially the stuff that isn’t really guest blogging, but is in fact blog link networking.

 

Next we have a negative. So you have loaded the tool up, you have spentlarge portions of your life tracking down these links, you have done all in your poser toget them removed,  you have loaded your url list and asked Google to disavow the links so all will be well in the world because Google wil disavow those links right? WRONG! HOW WRONG is the fact it is wrong. Well matt says “we treat it as a strong suggestion, but we don’t treat it as something we absolutely have to abide by!” Now this old SEO thinks it is disgusting that Google now not only allow the actions of others to affect your business, NOW they are also refusing to accept your instruction to remove from their algorithm process links that you have instructed them to do so, WHY?

This tells me that there is a secondary effect from pages reported, that not only do they disavow links to YOU, they disavow links to everyone from that site. OR they may be feeding disavowed sites into a reduced trust factor sub algo. who knows.

A bit about the process, it is going to take weeks, because they apply what is essentially a ‘nofollow’ equiv to that link, but only at the point of next crawl/index.

Then we have the bombshell, where he says that during a re-inclusion request , don’t think that they are going to look at only the links not disavowed, they are going to look at the links that existed before the disavow. he actually states that the disavow tool is not the answer to your ills.

SO! Is this tool a real useful tool or is it more public relations for Google or is it just going to not help you at all, but help GOOGLE to identify  spammy sites? The jury is out, but I will be working with some test sites and possibly some people who contacted me after being hit by penguin, to test, as we have already done all we can.

One last thing.  A quick story. A client launched a new site 10 weeks ago, the site was built superbly well, optimised with 100% unique content, it was spidered and google liked what they saw. A bit of press coverage was gained, and all looked well. Then it crashed? On investigation, one of his competitors had carried out negative SEO by buying a load of blogrolls from spam sites. New sites are very vulnerable to negative SEO, so the algorithm is still in a mess, and Google are making it VERY easy for unscrupulous business people to sabotage any new competitors that enter the marketplace.

I am seeing a large increase in cases where a business has been hit through no fault of their own, i.e. saboutage negative SEO, and for me that is heartbreaking.

What are your thoughts on this?

 

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5 Responses to “Google release their ‘don’t count these links’ Tool”

  • This whole thing is driving me crazy. I have spent many hours trying to work this out. I got the unnatural links message on one of my test sites back in April which had around 10 page one rankings for reasonably competitive keywords. These rankings started to drop and by June there were none in the top 100. I removed what I considered to be all the bad links and submitted a reconsideration request. This got rejected. A few more possibly suspect links where removed and my second reconsideration request was rejected. After some more removals and a request to Google with a few links that I can not remove, the third request was rejected.
    I don’t think this new disavow tool is going to help me. I would just be telling Google which sites I think are suspect and they would then make up their own mind.
    Google knows which links they consider to be bad, why don’t they simply discount them and save us all a load of time. This will also prevent any negative SEO which new sites, as you say, are prime targets.
    I have spent nearly 6 months trying to regain rankings for this site. I should have simply moved the site to a new domain and started again. This would have been much quicker.

  • Old Welsh Guy:

    Hi Roger,

    On my test site that I managed to get banned, I removed ALL the backlinks, as in not a single link remaining in place. I filed a reconsideration request, and got the message that I still have un-natural links pointing to my site.

    This is why I believe they don’t actually check, they just look at their WMT link list and say “computer says no

  • First of all – this is one of the best blog posts I’ve read on the matter and wholeheartedly concur!

    The fact that they don’t report all inlinks is a nightmare for SEO’s who have to clean up links for people who have been penalised and may (or may not) have actually done anything wrong at all!

    I’ve seen horror stories of SEO companies here in Ireland who have tonnes of Viagra-type links pointed at them – cheap, lazy but efficient Negative SEO.

    Google will pretend that the problem doesn’t exist and there is nothing they can do. Just the same as the Anti-Monopoly case, the Advertising Standards case in Australia, the Data protection, Street view, and privacy cases going on. Not to mention the Book Copyright and others.

  • I am having mixed results with the dissavow tool.
    I own an array of locksmith sites covering various areas with associated blogs.

    After listing on dmoz i had a huge amount of foreign backlinks appear from dodgy russian sites and eventually some of the sites lost their position.

    I created the list for dissavow tool and submitted.
    Only one of the 3 sites recovered in Google.
    All recovered using a similar feature in bing.

    I really belive google are losing control of their super algorithm and its become too messy for them to repair and manage successfully.

    I look forward to Bing growing into a serious competitor as im growing tired of chasing the metaphorical carrot with google

  • Old Welsh Guy:

    I agree about Google losing the plot. but they have also said that they are not going to disavow a link purely because you tell them to. and THAT is a worrying thing.

    So lets say you have been nailed for having an un-natural anchor text balaance, so you contact the sites carrying your links, they ignore you, you move on to disavow. BUT!!!

    Google are not willing to disavow this page (they can only do it on an all or nothing basis and NOT a per site being linked to basis) Google decide the page is worthy of staying in the index, so they refuse to disavow it. YOU pay the price for that dcision, as YOU are the one getting hit.

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