Matt Cutts, the head of Webspam at Google, announced at the Pubcon conference that Google has launched a “disavow links” tool that allows webmasters to ask Google to eliminate low-quality links when Google is assessing their website.
The tool has been tested by SEO experts and according to Google, disabling these bad links will help them do their job in the process. Now, when someone looks up a site that has implemented the disavow links tool correctly, they will no longer see spam links along with the website they intended to go to. This is super beneficial because most people are not attracted to websites that have bad links and websites associated with them.
How does this work? A website owner can disavow either individual URL’s or entire domains, specified in a text file which is uploaded to Google Webmaster Tools. Here is an example of what it looks like:
Although it can eliminate links with the click of a button, Cutts has warned people that it should be used as a last resort. They should first try to eliminate these websites on their own. For example, Cutts instructs people to contact other website owners that they may have purchased links through and attempt a way to get rid of them manually before using the new tool.
Furthermore, the process isn’t as simple as click and be gone. There is a lot more to it. For one, it can take several weeks for the process to go into effect. Another problem someone might run into is that there is a file size limit of 2MB that can be submitted. So if a webmaster has more than 2MB of links to get rid of, then Google doesn’t advise to use the disavow tool. Also, if Google feels like they can’t trust a submission for a link to be disavowed, then they will not use it.
Once again, as Matt Cutts has said, the tool is not advised to be a primary tool and should not be used by casual web users. It was mainly designed for the people who were hurt by Google’s Penguin update, which mainly damaged the ranks of websites that purchased links or gained them through spamming.
Plus, you have to make sure you are getting rid of the links that are harming your site. At the end of the day, if you are getting rid of a link that is actually a positive contribution to your SEO, then you are hurting yourself. The disavow link tool is a great tool if it is used with caution and there is absolutely nothing else you can do to get rid of a damaging link.