Disavowed links have become a hot button topic in the SEO world. Understanding the positive and negative effects of using them can be the key to success.
The Scalpel and the Chainsaw: Pros and Cons of the Disavowing Links Tool
Creating a strong presence online has never been an easy process. Companies trying to beef up their marketing on the web tend to do so with the best intentions. Their approach is simple: more eyes on a web page mean more potential customers ordering products or services, or generating ad revenue through the increase in traffic. Some businesses will try to do this alone; others reach out to marketing firms who have training and expertise in SEO (search engine optimization) techniques.
Google and Microsoft, through their respective search engines, essentially become the portals through which the world accesses data. They are the gatekeepers for information, in a sense, and with that power comes responsibility.
Both companies want to facilitate and encourage businesses to properly publicize themselves with good quality backlinks that see a lot of traffic. They also want to provide their users with a good search experience, so that the user gets the data they want quickly and easily.
However, this is not always the way of the digital world. Businesses will sometimes cut corners and create arbitrary posts and “linkspam” in an effort to drive up traffic. Or, less than reputable SEO consultants will try to outwit Google’s and Bing’s ranking algorithms to get ahead, using various questionable methods, sometimes including offensive tactics perpetuated on other websites.
The powers that be at Google, Bing, and other search engines have been watching the trends closely, and have recently implemented new measures to devalue these low quality links. In conjunction with this change, they have discussed the option of disavowing links through built-in web tools.
The process of finding and disavowing links can be quite complicated and has generated some controversy. By exploring both sides of the argument, we can come to a better consensus on the importance of this issue and how it should be tackled.
Benefitting Your Web Presence by Disavowing Links
Having numerous low quality links can harm a business’s page ranking, leading to less visibility and ultimately less business. A simple change in a search engine’s algorithm could drop a company’s ranking severely if these “bad links” are not removed. Disavowed links, once recognized and filed through the search engine’s webmaster tools, can be detached from a business’s online profile, causing a possible return in ranking.
What makes disavowing links helpful is the control that a webmaster has to react to notices about unnatural links associated with their company. These harmful backlinks can come from a variety of sources, with the most prevalent being changes to ranking algorithms. Google changed the web strategies of many when they introduced their “Penguin” infrastructure earlier in the year. This change caused many top ranking pages to plummet because of the altered focus on quality links, forcing many companies to start hunting out where and what was causing the issue.
Whether the links came from the company itself or malicious SEO attacks by rival companies, the new algorithm did not care.
For instance, some of these links could not be altered because the owner of the domain housing the back-link is unreachable. In this case, disavowing links becomes the only avenue to reversing a page’s downward spiral by the website owner.
The same process is necessary when dealing with negative SEO; companies will deface a rival’s backlink profile through spamming low quality back links leading to a plummet in ranking. Disavowing links is a surefire way to correct this issue.
Can Disavowed Links Cause More Problems than They Solve?
The tool for disavowing links supplied by Google and Bing, while helpful in certain situations, is not meant for regular use. Google’s disavowed links page clearly states that it is an “advanced feature and should be used with caution.”
There can be a tendency for some webmasters who receive an unnatural link warning or manual penalty to immediately reach for this tool and start disavowing links. It essentially turns a finely tuned scalpel into a devastating chainsaw. If a webmaster is not careful when inputting exact domains and information into the tool, good quality links can be tossed out with the bad. Some may say that this problem is avoidable by being extra careful, but the larger the company’s web page and link profile, the more minute and complicated the information needs to be. Human error or a kneejerk reaction out of fear may cause more damage than the disavowed links do.
The amount of time that goes into recognizing low quality links, utilizing the disavowing links tool, and ultimately seeing results can be exponential. Google’s stance on how they deal with disavowing links leaves the ultimate power in their hands. Keep in mind that if a company uses the tool and files a domain to be disavowed, Google considers it a “strong suggestion rather than a directive.” In short, a company may take the time and effort to find a harmful link, yet not see any results in their page rank.
Written by Giovanni Zenone
Giovanni writes numerous blogs for Results Professional Marketing clients. He is an excellent researcher and writer and we’re proud to have him on our team.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Results Professional Marketing and a clickable link back to this page.
Have a look at information regarding on page and off page SEO