Google Launches Long-awaited Disavow Links Tool

Oct. 17, 2012 | by Modestos Siotos

Google has finally  released the long anticipated disavow links tool which appears as an extra feature in Webmaster Tools. It is the first time the search giant allows webmasters to specify which links they would like to remove from their websites. Bing was the first search engine to offer a disavow links feature back in June 2012. Google had received several requests for a similar service that would allow webmasters to report low quality inbound links that were harmful to their websites, especially after the Penguin update was rolled out back in April 2012.

Webmasters can now upload a text file including all untrusted links Google should discredit.  According to Matt Cutts, head of Google’s anti-spam team, Google will treat the reported links as a very strong suggestion although they will not treat them as something they have to abide by. He also confirmed that it will probably take weeks until the links get removed after a disavow links request has been submitted. The reason for this is that Google has to recrawl all these URLs in order to treat them differently than they would normally do.

Disavowing specific links works in the same way as using the “nofollow” attribute, disallowing link equity from being passed onto the linked page/site. Therefore, this advanced tool  needs to be used with caution so high quality links do not get removed accidentally. According to Google, this feature can potentially harm a site’s performance in Google’s search results if used incorrectly. Google recommends disavowing backlinks only if they are definitely causing issues to a site.

More information about how to use Google’s disavow tool can be found at Google’s Webmaster Tools help section. Google has also released a video about the disavow linsk tool where Matt Cutts explains how the tool works as well as in which occasions it should be used.

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