After much anticipation, Google has finally launched its very own disavow links tool. Bing beat Google to the punch back in July, but the mere size of Google and the power of Google make this announcement even more exciting. Head of Google’s web spam team Matt Cutts broke the news at the end of his speech at Pubcon today and explained that the tool is to be used with caution by publishers and webmasters. Nonetheless, this is a tool that should be incredibly helpful for those looking to stop negative SEO and unwanted links and is certainly a step in the right direction.
It is now day one of the announcement, so small businesses everywhere are asking themselves: What, where, when, and how can I get started?
How the Disavow Links Tool Works
For those who are unfamiliar, a disavow links tool is a tool that allows publishers and webmasters to stop third party sites from negatively affecting a website. This is most often done by competitors pointing unwanted, spammy links toward a website that they see as a threat. This makes the website look like low quality in the eyes of Google, so the site will move down in the rankings. The disavow links tool is now going to be added as a way to stop this type of negative SEO, and the best part is that it puts the webmaster in control. Google explained that using the tool is a three-step process:
Step #1: Download a list of links to your site.
You will want to make sure you have a file with Google that has a list of all the links pointing to your website or websites. You can do this by going to the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site that you want, click “traffic,” and then click download.
Step #2: Create and upload a file containing the links that you want to disavow. Then, create a text file using this information.
Once you have a file that lists all of the links to your site, it’s time to create a text file that contains only the links you want to disavow. You can include one link per line, or you can wipe out links from an entire domain by typing in “domain: nameofthesite.com.”
Step #3: Upload the list of links that you want to disavow.
Once you have your list, you can visit the reconsideration request page, click à check disavowed links à disavow links à choose file à and then select the file you want to upload and click submit.
Cutts did make clear at Pubcon, however, that it’s important a webmaster take all of the precautions that he/she can first before using the disavow tool. In other words, talk with the publisher who has the unwanted links pointing to your website all before you utilize the disavow tool.
Where To Find the Google Disavow Links Tool
The tool has been tested by a few SEOs over the past few weeks, but it is officially available to everyone and can be found here. All small businesses should take a look at the new tool and get acclimated, but it will be primarily used by those sites that were hit hard by the Penguin update, which is essentially an update related to spam and unwanted links.
For more information, you can visit the Google Support page on the tool or watch the video below prepared by Matt Cutts that explains the tool in detail, including who should use it, how to use it, and when you should use it.