Recover from Penguin With Google’s Link Disavow Tool

Recover from Penguin with Google’s Link Disavow Tool

When the Penguin updates were announced earlier this year, some websites were affected significantly: their rankings dropped, their sites needed an overhaul and as a result, there was much clean-up work to be done.

But getting back on the iceberg and facing Penguin recovery may not be that difficult, with Google announcing their new Link Disavow Tool this week. But rather than jump right in, webmasters and SEO professionals are advised to tread carefully. SEO Agency takes a look at the tool and what it means for fixing those spammy links.

Google Link Disavow Tool

What is the Link Disavow Tool For?

The disavow link tool is intended for users who have received notifications of inbound, inorganic or spam links pointing to their site.

If you’ve received warnings from Google directly, been penalised for having a weak link profile or found yourself facing alienation from Google altogether, this tool is for you.

If you’ve also been trying to remove spam links manually but without much luck, the Disavow Tool can help. The tool will help you notify Google about these links and suggest to them that you ideally want these links to be ignored in ranking your website.

What If I’m Trying to Recover from Penguin?

If you’re still trying to recover from Penguin or if you noticed your rankings going down following the Penguin update, the link disavow tool could also be very useful.

However, as Pete Meyer pointed out via SEOmoz, “keep in mind that we’re still unclear on the Penguin update cycle, specifically whether you can recover outside of a Penguin data update … Add to this Google’s statements that disavow could take weeks, and the new tool is far from a magic wand for dispelling Penguins.”

So, in addition to using the tool, you’ll still need to assess what’s gone wrong with your site, revise your link-building strategies and amend your exact-match anchor text links in order to fully recover from Penguin.

Why is the Link Disavow Tool Important for SEO?

Good links are crucial in building your SEO and your rankings. As Google pointed out in their post about the new tool, “links are one of the most well-known signals we use to order search results.” Using the tool to exclude your spam links will help improve your SEO, and will also prevent you from being penalised by Google in future.

If you would like to hear the full report check out Matt Cutt’s video below.


How Does the Tool Work?

Based on your URL, the tool allows you to upload a .txt file of links that you’ve identified (using Webmaster Tools, Open Explorer etc.) as spam links pointing to your site. You can notify Google about which links you want to renounce. You can choose links on individual pages or all links on a specific domain.

Google will then review your list and verify whether they will ignore those links in determining your ranking (they will most likely agree with your requests, but have said that they will still treat these requests as “suggestions” rather than “directives”).

Bear in mind, however, that this process can take weeks for Google to complete, which means your results won’t come into effect straight away.

penguin recovery disavow tool

What Should I Be Careful Of?

One of the biggest problems with the Link Disavow Tool is that you need to be entirely cautious about which links you decide are spam (and which are still good).

One of the first prompts that pops up with the tool is this warning:

“If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that you only disavow backlinks if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you”.

Accidentally asking Google to ignore healthy links, even low-quality ones, can potentially harm your SEO rankings. If you are in the midst of a Google Penguin recovery, for instance, and you use this tool inaccurately, you will burying your website even further beneath the ice. In short, if you’re not a link expert, be very, very wary about using this tool and about which links you choose to disavow.


What Next?

If you are in the process of Penguin recovery or if you simply feel that you may have been hit by the Penguin update, have a chat to us. We are a local Sydney based SEO Agency.

We can perform a detailed analysis of your website, and review your inbound links to help you determine exactly which links are negatively affecting your SEO. And most importantly, we can then develop effective SEO Strategies to help get your website back to the top of Google rankings.

We hope that this information helps you, and if you need any help feel free to give us a shout! There is also a Google FAQ page to refer to here.

By Virginia Cottrell

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Virginia is an SEO Specialist and Website Design Expert based in Sydney. Virginia's focus also covers Social Media and general marketing strategies on the Internet. Always happy to provide free advice to small business's. By Virginia Cottrell

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