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Google will launch a tool to disavow unwanted links



2:40 pm on Jun 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts told at SMX in Seattle that Google will develop in the following months a tool to disavow unwanted links to your website. I think this will help some sites recovering and also make your competitors harder to hit your website. [searchengineland.com...]
What will the impact look like ?


8:27 am on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

i've just had a horrible thought.

what if this "tool" is just a form where you can enter the link you want to disavow... and that's it.

maybe they wont provide a list of links at all, and you will have to find them yourself. they are probably thinking that if the links are dodgy (ie paid-for) then you will already know what it is, so they have no need to provide it.

i bet you any money that's what its going to be.


5:34 pm on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

netmeg: I get the impression that if Google does this, it's not because they WANT to, but because people have been asking them to.

tedster: Exactly - this forum has seen many such requests with no dissenting voices. That is, no dissent until Google did exactly what webmasters were requesting.

well, I am going to point an example below , tell me what's YOUR recourse:

What seriously needs to happen is a sequence of HIGH PROFILE examples of Negative SEO to hit the blogosphere - one after another.

Someone already must just point the obvious, might as well be me.

Let's say someone went out and bought a $100 worth of the spammiest links there are - FFA, links from forum comments with all the filthy and spammy KWs you can think of. And point these to your "my site is the whitest of them all" site. I will ommit details for the sake of not feeding the obvious people. But your site or parts of your site will be immediately pandalized. Despite of what MattCutts are saying it is as easy as apple pie. This can even be your well-meaning "I know how to promote your site in Google" friend.

So what do you do, how do you clean this up? Since what it seems like there's very few obvious POSITIVE algo weights, and lots of mostly NEGATIVE?

making a site has long turned from fun to walking a mine field.

I'm a firm believer that sitewide links pointing at your site can hurt you

Yes they do. it isn't difficult for Google to identify and count it as one link. But they don't. They'd rather punish you, a bunch of green would-be spammers, and a whole lot of unsuspecting mom-and-pop sites who are never going to read webmaster guidelines OR this forum.


7:53 pm on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


a free-form input would have a positive side effect of being able to disavow links which do not yet exist :)


8:14 pm on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I hoping this comes to be in a tool that is both easy to use, and free of as much unintended damage to a site as possible.

I'm a little bit afraid that webmasters, including me, might misgauge the possible impact on our sites of using such a tool without careful study.

Maybe they'll give us a little guidance...
Dear Webmaster:

We looked at your request to have some inbound links to your site ignored.

Did you really want to send your site from page three to page 999?

If yes, click here [X], If no, too late... :)

the gang at Google!



8:48 pm on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I lurk mostly because, well, I haven't had much to say. My sites have always been fairly stable with each update, but that seems to have changed with penguin.

I do have links from a lot of places including from social media, forums, etc. because that's the nature of the beast for my business content. And yes, I've seen that I've had some scraper sites hit up my content as well.

Seeing a decrease in traffic at this time of the year isn't unusual as my traffic pattern is most definitely cyclical, but when I look at keywords that I've long placed well for (and still do in other search engines), I am seeing some pretty significant drops in google.

I wouldn't use any tool that Google gives us to disavow unwanted links because there isn't enough time in the day to get my work done much less ferret out supposed unwanted google links.


9:39 pm on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Think about, what is that really going to do for Google, the Link is still going to be there be you disallow the link to your site or not, this wont defeat what i assume Google is actually after

The Link sellers will sell a product that starts off Good then goes bad customer disallows the link in its WMT console and the the link seller find another crappy page, ruins that page with spam and the cycle continues.

If Google can discourage these links by keeping the sites penalised or punishing them for a long time people are going to think long and hard about requiring those links in the first place.

We all know Links whatever they are or wherever they mat be will initially pass some juice up till a time that site is crawled and devalued so what would stop someone blasting 1000,s of links taking a bit of a benefit, deleting that project and starting over, theres tools on the market for just that


10:13 pm on Jun 8, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Using Googles train of thought, I would have never found them back in 2000 because I did so from a link on another site.

In Google's world, that link would not exist because webmasters would be to affraid to link to anybody.

Funny how links all across the Internet suddenly became so evil just to accommodate a poor algorithmic ranking program by one company that has a monopoly on the worlds search.


5:43 am on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I guess some "genius" in Google will probably come up with the code name "Mission Impossible" for this feeping creaturism. After the sequence of fiascos, I think that webmasters will be slow to use any such tool.

A well designed link analysis algorithm should be able to detect link accretion (natural links) as opposed to link accumulation (unnatural/paid/dodgy). But if they've banjaxed their link algorithm with all this Semantic Web guff, then there's an outside possibility that they've an unfixable mess on their hands.



9:18 am on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Great news for my pandalized site, Once the tool is available, I will be able to disavow~ 300k sitewide links that were mostly gained in pre-panda era and still exist today because the webmasters of those sites no longer care.


8:14 pm on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think this tool would be welcome but I disagree with some of the terms used here that describe link buying as dishonest or criminal. Isn't it actually another form of advertising?


8:18 pm on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Sure - when it's done to acquire direct traffic through clicks on those links (or even branding exposure) then those link purchases are advertising. However, that's not the case with a lot of link buying - the buyer is really only interested in acquiring PR and improved organic rankings. That's not advertising.


9:05 pm on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

when it's done to acquire direct traffic through clicks on those links (or even branding exposure) then those link purchases are advertising. However, that's not the case with a lot of link buying

So its a question of intent, ermm I think this is a complicated issue. Epecially if Google are trying to guess the intent of the link purchase.


9:32 pm on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Well, I'm sure they are trying to guess, to a degree. I see examples of obvious advertising purchases that are just ignored. not penalized - even though they do not include rel="nofollow".

Still, the official line about advertising links is "don't let them pass PR."


9:55 pm on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well, I'm sure they are trying to guess, to a degree.

Thats just crazy. Definately need a tool if humans are guessing the intent of link purchases.


2:36 am on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Not just humans - I'm pretty sure there's a machine learning algorithm involved, and that would make it something like an educated guess.

In this case, there were several years of machine learning, training the algorithm with known seed examples and so on. However, new suspects are then uncovered by an algorithm and humans review that data. Depending on what the humans see, that can trigger a manual action accompanied by a manually triggered WMT message.

At least that's my take, based on watching the evolution of this "campaign".


4:09 pm on Jun 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

wow... sure hope they come out with something better. I can buy 10,000 blog comments for $10. If a competitor points that kind of crap at me then I would be spending days removing all that, and they could just blast away at me with another 100,000 or so links.

I can see sales of Xrumer going up big time as Google is just admitting that this crap works. Where would it end?

Please Google, just ignore spam, make the value of spam as nothing. This move is putting a great value on spam and is going the wrong way.

Make getting low quality links a worthless venture and it will stop.


2:31 am on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Of the 90+% of the websites I have been asked to help de-bunk unnatural link warning penalties, 100% of the owners swore their link profiles were legitimate and above board.

Until we started looking specifically at the links themselves and patterns. Turns out of most that I have evaluated have had some form of manipulated links.

Unnatural linking does not always refer to paid links.

It can also refer to spamming, and manipulation of inbound links via control over software, widgets, themes - you name it.

I personally welcome this type of tool.


2:52 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

This tool can be useful , but the whole idea of negative weights on links needs to be rethought.

We didn't get any warning in WMT. And we got a note from Google that "it is not a manual penalty, it is algorithmic". So we are clearly Pandalized.

Here's a problem:
Google can algorithmically identify and discount a few bad links when site is either big brand or has lots of "good" links. But when the number of good links is small, it has a problem (hence I believe a result of mostly small businesses being Pandalized).

When a site is small business (or a spammer), there are very few good links. Now if bad links appear, they may outweight good and site or its portion is Pandalized out of Google.

Question of the day: How can Google identify if it is a small business hiring badly prepared SEO person (which is according to Google is OK), a small business being negatively SEO-ed, or a spammer?

The answer, to me , is not obvious.


7:14 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

@aleksl: Careful. Don't confuse Panda and Penguin. Panda is generally about content quality. Penguin seems to be generally about backlink profile quality (in a manner of speaking).



10:34 pm on Jun 11, 2012 (gmt 0)

rlange, I agree it should be "penguinized" instead of "pandalized", the later just sounds better.


3:42 am on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Danny Sullivan made a post about getting "hard links" instead of "easy links".

This is why - thanks to Google - Small Business sites are going to be obliterated in the near future.

Google will be remembered as Small Business Killer that will never recover once people are seriously P.o.ed.

Somewhere down that link I am posting there are two comments by David Johnstone in reply to Danny Sullivan's post that exactly outline why SMB sites are going to be destroyed. The short version is that they already have hard time running the business, sourcing and marketing products, balancing books, handling employees , AND running an ecommerce website - technology, warehousing, shipping etc.. With not much time and money allocated towards marketing a website. It is inevitable they will outsource their site building and link building. It is inevitable they will hire not the most expensive pros. It is inevitable they will get a bunch of questionable links along with good ones.

It is inevitable that unless Penguin dial is not turned back, the SMB sites, either in one big swoop or one by one, will disappear.


Allow me to re-post for relevance, please edit if too long:

To win those "hard" links, what you're asking for Danny is EVERY site to somehow become remarkable purely in regards to their content, for the sole means to rank. This is a laughable and unnecessary requirement for most sites. You don't understand this, and this is where you are going wrong. For SEL, content is the end itself (the product), for most other businesses, content is nothing more than a means to an end. You have to sit down and meditate on that difference until you fully "get it" - and then recalibrate the way you see SEO in regards to small business.

David Johnstone

[edited by: tedster at 4:07 am (utc) on Jun 12, 2012]
[edit reason] fair use limitation on quote [/edit]


5:15 pm on Jun 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Matt is most likely talking here about links that were completely unsolicited, not about links that you just wish you hadn't bought. It's hard to say what the forgiveness factor would be on those. The relevant quote from the article...

But who's to say who bought them. Your competitor could easily pay for those links to you just to trash your sites rep.

I do love this idea and really do hope they implement this soon. We have several overseas sites with spammy links to us that I can't even get a response from to get the links removed.


10:36 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

This is a good thing and hopefully will be implemented quicker rather than later.

The last 6 months , one of my competitors has continually been throwing me back into oblivion , as soon as my listing appears back at it's normal rank.

It'll stay there for several days in the top 10... then thrown back for a month.. (nowhere to be found) the same thing happened over and over again with no negative changes made to my site.

It has significantly affected our business this year, which is why this must be a priority for google to fix.

If I only knew who was doing this, they'd be getting it back 10X fold.

little jerk-*** nerds playing games..


10:45 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

@ mike2012

You can see the crap links they are pointing at your site?


11:55 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Bing just launched disavow links tool.


12:16 am on Jul 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think that happened almost a month ago...


3:15 am on Jul 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I guess i'm not a 100% talking about disavow then.

More or less shady practices by other webmasters that could consistently knock us out of the google index.

I tried making another thread on the subject, but it was deleted because I mentioned a particular type of SEO submission software that is probably the culprit. Basically any of these auto-submission software's can do similar.

For instance, if you continually spam someone else's site with it...over and over again. Google thinks it's you... but it's NOT you. (it's your comp trying to knock you out)

Google's probably asleep on the issue, so if someone could ring their bell..that'll be great.


2:06 pm on Jul 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Please Google, just ignore spam, make the value of spam as nothing. This move is putting a great value on spam and is going the wrong way.

If Google did this certain webmasters would fire unlimited spammy links at their sites on the basis of heads they may win, tails they can't lose.


2:28 pm on Jul 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

If Google did this certain webmasters would fire unlimited spammy links at their sites on the basis of heads they may win, tails they can't lose.

So because Google, genius of geniuses can't seem to devalue it on their own....we have to deal with Negative SEO with no recourse? Other than possibly starting over? That is BS for anyone who gets hit with this crap.


5:17 pm on Jul 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

It occurs to me that the "disavow tool" is similar to the "spam report" tool, no? I'm afraid to use the spam reporting tool too much cause it might give the impression I'm a crybaby BUT if I tell Google through WMT "This jerk and this jerk and this jerk have sites that link to me and I don't like it" - there's a possible spam report. I've seen enough links on one set of spammy sites that I'd encourage my competitors, people that I've enjoyed struggling with through the years, to disavow those links which may draw enough attention from Google to get the "jerks" off the playing field altogether. When I say spammy site, I mean they have more text than this page taken in snippets from tons of sites with no real relevance to each other with links to us thrown in - OH, and with spammy affiliate ads on page as well.

Maybe some of you won't go to the trouble to use the tool and honestly, those sites probably aren't affecting us the way my last paragraph suggests but it's still pissing me off enough to tell on them in that passive aggressive way if that's one of the outcomes of using the tool.

Hopefully this isn't repetitive, this has been a long thread and we've been at it a while:
np2003 said:
This will be problematic for webmasters who have no clue WMT exists. They could be hit with negative SEO attack and have no clue how to disavow unwanted links?
Scurramunga replied: I think anyone whom you may consider a formidable opponent will be savvy enough to know what it is.
That's not so. Some of my best link partners, people who endorse us and we endorse them, have been at there niche for years but aren't really good webmasters in the creative sense; they produce great content and serve their purpose but their sites are poorly designed, have no tracking and don't use the tools that are out there for SEO but they rank page 1 HIGH because they DO have great, authoritative content. A lot of them are retired folks providing services to the public at little to no cost just to stay busy and feel useful, if someone were to launch a negative SEO campaign against them it would be successful because they just wouldn't know why or how it happened.
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