Google’s link disavowal tool allows publishers to tell Google that they don’t want certain links from external sites to be considered as part of Google’s system of counting links to rank web sites. Some sites want to do this because they’ve purchased links, a violation of Google’s policies, and may suffer a penalty if they can’t get the links removed. Other sites may want to remove links gained from participating in bad link networks or for other reasons. The disavow links tool launched in October 2012, and more about it can be found in our coverage below.

The War On Links

shutterstock_104739881-fear-of-links In case you didn't notice, we are waging a war over links. Some would say that SEOs are at war with search engines, but I disagree. Search engines and SEOs have a symbiotic relationship; and without meaning to, we've killed the value of the link. The link, once a simple connector from one site to another, has become the subject of intense scrutiny by SEOs, Google, and even the US Copyright Office.  Do you remember what it was like to really "surf" the Internet? The way you could bounce from site to site simply by following blogrolls and webrings? The rush of energy and excitement that [...]


Webmasters Getting Creative With Their Link Removal Requests & It Works

idea-creative-unique-600 The new link building is link removal as some would say. Especially with all the craze around links and how they can get you penalized, link removal requests have become a thing all too familiar to anyone who runs a web site. The challenge, like with link building requests, is to get the webmaster you are sending the request to, to actually read your request and then remove the link. That challenge is nothing new to those in link building. Adding a link is just as hard for webmasters are removing a link, but removing a link may be more insulting and perceived as negative. One company, a [...]


Google Says Don’t Delete Your Disavow File Prior To Uploading A New One

disavow links penguin Yesterday, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, posted an interesting tip to SEOs around disavow file submissions. He said that you should not delete or remove the original disavow file when uploading a new one. He said instead, upload the new one, which will replace the old disavow file. The reason he said was because when you delete the old one and upload a new one, it generates two emails to the Google team and may confuse them when review manual actions. Here are his tweets: Quick SEO tip: no need to delete your old disavow links file before uploading a new one. You can jus [...]


Demystifying Link Disavowals, Penalties & More

disavow-links-featured [caption id="attachment_169618" align="alignright" width="269"] Google Webmaster Hangout[/caption] Findings from a recent Google Webmaster Hangout on Air (video) demystify link disavowals, penalties and more. Read on for the official word from John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst from Google and friend to webmasters everywhere. First, Some Background Last month, I introduced Five Steps To Clean Up Your Links like A Techie. The commenters on the post had a lot of good questions, and I wanted to begin this month with a few clarifications. First, the development of that list was meant [...]


Google’s Matt Cutts On Common Disavow Link Tool Mistakes

disavow links penguin Google's head of search spam, Matt Cutts, posted a new video discussing some of the more common mistakes when using the disavow tool. Below are the six most common mistakes. Note the first one is by far the most common mistake of them all. (1) The file you upload should be a regular text file only. No syntax or fonts or sorting should be done in this file. People often upload Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and so on. Just upload a text (TXT) file. (2) Typically, the first attempt by users are to be very specific and fine-tuned with their individual URLs. Instead use a d [...]


Big Brand SEO & Penguin 2.0

Matt Lays Down The Law

Taking a broader look at Multinational SEO, though, throws up particular issues for the big brand sites out there, and I though that in light of the upcoming Penguin 2.0 update confirmed by Matt Cutts recently it would be useful to look at particular areas of concern for big site SEO and how to ensure you come out smiling when Google’s planned updates take effect.


Risk Management for Links – How To Prepare For The Next Penguin Update

links-danger-risk-featured After 2012 being dubbed the “Year of the Penguin,” Google’s Matt Cutts has already hinted that the next “Penguin 4” update will be bigger and more devastating than ever. We have seen big brands like Interflora get penalized and bounce back pretty fast. But how did that work? And what’s coming up for the rest of us? After the havoc wreaked by previous Penguin updates, how should webmasters prepare for what Google has in store next? [caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"] Matt Cutts has more in store for us webmasters....[/caption] Toxic Link Cleanup Phase Over the past [...]


How Google’s Disavow Links Tool Can Remove Penalties

disavow-links-featured Can using Google's link disavow tool help remove penalties? Yes, the company says. But when it comes to manual penalties, disavowing links alone isn't enough. With algorithmic penalties, there may be a time delay involved. Below, more about how both methods work. Over the past few days, I've encountered a couple of cases where people are confused about how the link disavow tool works to remove penalties. So, I figured a clarification post was in order. Here's the situation, all of which I reverified with Google yesterday. Disavowing Links: "Don't Count These Votes!" If you submit a disavo [...]


Why Asking StumbleUpon To Remove Your Links Is Dumb

stumbleupon-featured Turns out, StumbleUpon is getting regular requests each week from people asking for it to remove links to their sites, people who are worried that being linked to from a popular and long-standing social media sharing site is somehow hurting them with Google. The linksanity sadly continues. Every since Google stepped up its attack on bad links last year, in particular with its Penguin Update, there's been panic in some quarters about getting links removed. But it's not about removing all links. It's about removing bad links, and I wouldn't count StumbleUpon as one of the sites you should wor [...]


Google: Disavowing Links Isn’t Replacement For Also Trying To Get Them Removed

disavow link tool Many SEOs cheered that Google's new disavow links tool would make it easier to recover from a bad backlink profile. No more worrying about directories charging to remove links or trying to get out of bad link networks. But Google says it does want to see a good faith effort to go along with any disavow links request, or those disavow requests might not get honored. Google: Try To Remove Links Google had previously suggested that the disavow link tool wasn't a replacement for making link removal requests. From the company's blog post, the day the tool launched: We recommend that you rem [...]


6 Things To Think About Before Disavowing Links

Earlier this month, Christmas came early for many in the SEO industry. Google launched its wildly anticipated disavow links tool bringing with it a way for you to remove some of those shady things you your former SEO company have done. The biggest problem with disavowing your links is that at first glance, it looks like the easy way out. Instead of taking the effort to remove your unnatural inbound links by hand, there will be people who assume this tool will do it for them. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Matt Cutts warned about using the disavow links tool with caution, and if [...]


Q&A With Google’s Matt Cutts On How To Use The Link Disavow Tool

disavow-links-featured It's been almost two weeks since Google launched its link disavowal tool. Some have been busy diving in and using it, but others have had more detailed questions about it. We've got some answers, from the head of Google's web spam team, Matt Cutts. Question: How do people know what links they should remove? Answer: When we're taking targeted action on some specific links, the emails that go out now include examples of bad links. We provide example links to guide sites that want to clean up the bad links. At the same time, we don't want to help bad actors learn how to spam better, wh [...]


Google Launches Disavow Links Tool

disavow-links-featured Google has launched a new and widely anticipated "disavow links" tool. The tool was announced by the head of Google's web spam team Matt Cutts, when speaking during a keynote at the Pubcon conference today. The tool is live and can be found here. It has been beta tested by some selected SEOs already for the past few weeks. About 45 minutes after Cutts spoke, Google formally announced the tool on the Google Webmaster Central blog. Earlier this year, Bing launched its own disavow links tool. Disavowing Links Cutts warned that the tool should be used with caution. He also warned that publ [...]


What Everyone Needs To Know About Good, Bad & Bland Links

Links are always a popular topic, and this year has proven no exception including Penguin, links vs. social media, negative SEO and disavowing links. Recently, someone asked me to distinguish between good links and bad links. First, there are really three types of links: Links that help SEO Links that hurt SEO Links search engines ignore Google and Bing have been clear, search engines do not use every link as a ranking signal; they ignore many links. While they are not going to tell webmasters which specific links matter and which ones they ignore, the search engines d [...]


Insanity: Google Sends New Link Warnings, Then Says You Can Ignore Them

google-angry-frustrated-insanity-featured Google's war on bad links officially became insane today. For months, Google's sending out warnings about bad links and telling publishers they should act on those, lest they get penalized. Today, Google said the latest round of warnings sent out this week can be safely ignored. That's not "more transparency" as Google posted. That's more confusion. It's easiest to do the history first, to better understand the confusion caused by today's post. How We Got Here: Link Warnings Earlier This Year Toward the end of March and in early April, Google began sending out warnings about "artifici [...]


Here’s A New Twist: Directories Now Charging NOT To Link

pay-here-featured For the past year, Google has been sending out link penalty notifications for unnatural links pointing to your web site. Those notifications kicked up a notch earlier this year and since then - especially with the Penguin update, webmasters and SEOs have been obsessed with link removals. Link Removal Fees: With this, there are many out there trying to capitalize on this fear. A reader sent us an example of a directory with a special landing page specifically designed to collect money from webmasters in order to remove links from their site. The site offers you to pay them and in exchange, th [...]


SMX Advanced Video: Google’s Matt Cutts On A Disavow-This-Link Tool

All the talk today about Bing's launch of a disavow this link tool is a good reminder that we should go back into our video archives and post the comments that Google's Matt Cutts made about a tool like that during our SMX Advanced event earlier this month. Cutts was speaking with Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan during their annual keynote conversation when the subject turned to "negative SEO" and the possibility that some recent Google updates had made it easier for one website to purposely hurt another site with low-quality links. Here's some of that discussion: You can go back [...]


Not All Bad Links Hurt You, Google Ignores Links Also

Google doesn't always penalize you for bad links, they sometimes and very often, will ignore links completely that they find to be against their guidelines. Back in 2007, Google started penalizing sites for selling paid links and over the years they have penalized many sites for buying links. Recently, Google has stepped up their notifications of unnatural link warnings and with the Penguin update many webmasters have been obsessed with cleaning up their external link profiles. Ignoring Links But you need to know, not all links that may look bad or even be really bad actually harm your si [...]


Bing Launches Way to “Disavow” Links, But Why?

disavow-links-featured For years, Google's webmaster guidelines have noted that attempts to manipulate Google's algorithms with artificial external link profiles (paid links, link schemes and the like) are violations and that Google may take action (by removing the site from the index or lowering its ranking).  This year, Google starting alerting site owners with "unnatural links", recommending that they remove them. Google also launched a new algorithm called Penguin, aimed at flagging sites that attempt to manipulate Google's guidelines with spam techniques such as artificial link profiles. One of the recommen [...]


Matt Cutts On Penalties Vs. Algorithm Changes, A Disavow-This-Link Tool & More

cutts-sullivan Is it a penalty? Or is it just a change to Google's algorithm? That's been one of the hot topics in search marketing in recent months thanks to the Panda and Penguin updates, and it was one of the topics of discussion tonight at our SMX Advanced conference in Seattle. During the annual "You & A with Matt Cutts" keynote session, Google's web spam chief told Search Engine Land Editor-In-Chief Danny Sullivan that Google's definition of a "penalty" is when manual action is taken against a site -- and that Google doesn't use the term "penalty" as much as they say "manual action." Cutts went [...]


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