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Google Disavow Tool Removes Negative SEO Threat, Yet Half Of SEO’s Aren’t Using It

A couple of months ago, Google announced the release of the Link Disavow Tool, allowing webmasters to tell Google not to take certain links to your website into account when calculating your PageRank and subsequent rankings. It’s all a bit more complicated than that, but that’s essentially the purpose of the tool – if you’d like more information on using it, then we suggest you check out this post, as well as the Disavow Tool help page on the Google Support site.

One of the major benefits of the disavow tool is that it has removed the growing concern around negative SEO – a pertinent issue in the wake of the Panda and Pengiun updates. It also allows webmasters to begin to recover from methods utilised by previous SEO engineers – such as paid links or article marketing – that may be having an adverse effect on how Google sees your domain, and therefore how well you rank for terms related to your business.

Given the obvious benefits afforded to webmasters and ‘white-hat’ SEO engineers, you would expect it to be a valuable and well-used asset – particularly for those looking to clean up their link profiles. However, a recent survey from SERoundTable has revealed that this isn’t the case, with nearly half of SEO’s not using Google Disavow Link Tool.

So why is this the case? From what we can see, there are a couple of viable reasons for SEO’s reluctance to adopt the new tool. The first is that many in the SEO community treat new features like this with a certain amount of suspicion; they simply don’t think the tool will have a real impact on their ranking positions. Some have even muted concerns that the tool could have a negative impact on their rankings, as Google becomes aware of more poor quality link neighbourhoods or the engineers disavow links that were actually having a positive impact. Although I personally don’t think this would be the case, one can understand the trepidation.

Another possible reason is that people aren’t using the tool correctly, or don’t feel confident about the process. It’s not quite as simple as just typing in the URL and hitting ‘disavow’, you need to create a text file containing all the links to your site that you want Google to ignore and upload it via the disavow links tool page. Even then, according to the Google Help page you need to have made every effort to remove the links yourself before resorting to the tool.

It will be interesting to see whether or not adoption of the tool grows in 2013, and just how much of an impact (positive or otherwise) is reported by the greater SEO community.


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