rlange - 1:47 pm on Jun 7, 2012 (gmt 0)
Who am I to tell another webmaster who they can and cannot link to. This tool is an extension of that mentality [...]
No, it's not. It's a stretch to even connect those two ideas. As I understand it, this tool, if implemented, would just tell Google that you don't want a particular link to affect you in any way (or, at the very least, that you're not actually responsible for the link). Other webmasters can link to you all they want.
[...] it still requires policing but helps Google by using my time and resources instead of theirs.
I can't, for the life of me, see having more control over what affects my sites as a bad thing, especially considering all the complaints and concerns about Google not getting things right.
I am curious however, can I disavow my own "read more", affiliate and nofollow links? It will be interesting to see. I would be surprised if they allowed the tool to be used in this manner since they despise link sculpting but we'll see.
I suspect that the tool wouldn't allow disavowing of on-site links, because that's something you should obviously have complete control over. The tool would be intended to give a measure of control over something a lot of webmasters complain about having no control over, but which can still have a negative effect on their sites.
Bottom line - if Google doesn't tell us specifically which links are sour it's just a guess on our part. I'd prefer they simply disavow sour links on their own, ya know? It still rubs me the wrong way that things on sites I do not own can impact my rankings.
I agree that it would be better for Google to simply ignore suspicious links, but I don't think they're going to be doing that much anymore. I imagine they actually want "bad" links to have a noticeable and negative effect. Ideally, it conditions webmasters to be more careful about their link-building. If this is the route they're sticking with, then they need to provide us with this tool.
What if you x out some links that you think may be hurting you. Maybe you dont recognize them or just have a suspicion they are hurting you, what happens if you shoot yourself in the foot and actually cause your site to drop even more? Can you re-allow those links? If you can, this will effectively let webmasters see what links work and what links dont work for rankings. "ok, if I disallow these links, my rankings improve, if I remove these, my rankings fall".
This is a pretty good point and probably a valid concern for Google, which may be why Mr. Cutts himself seemed somewhat reluctant about the idea.
Ignore unnatural links and you need no tools.
This is true, but given the number of concerns and complaints, it's obvious that Google hasn't gotten that part right. Assuming they ever do get it right in the future, I don't see why providing an interim tool to help webmasters deal with the issue is such a crazy, nonsense idea.
Introduction of this tool is like a confirmation by Google that negative SEO exists and is a real problem.
A number of people have been saying this for quite some time; would you prefer that Google simply kept silent or actually denied the existence of negative SEO? It seems to me that would infuriate people more than these veiled admissions.