Google Webmaster Tools has announced the release of its new disavow tool that allows webmasters to remove links that have been noted as “unnatural” from their sites. By using the disavow tool, sites can help prevent Google from taking action in the future and ensure their image, page rank, and reputation are not damaged.
The blog post reports that the tool is intended for sites that have received a notification from Google about “unnatural” links; sites that have not received this notice shouldn’t use the disavow tool. “Unnatural” links include paid links, link exchanges, link spam, or other link schemes that violate Google’s quality guidelines. In order to prevent a site’s page rank from plummeting, Google recommends that webmasters “remove from the web as many spammy or low-quality links to a site as possible.”
For sites that have been hit by the recent Penguin and Panda algorithms, the disavow tool gives an opportunity to directly take action to remove low-quality links. By addressing the problem at the root, sites can stay one step ahead of the algorithms and maintain their search rankings and reputation. However, as noted in a recent CMS Wire article, Google webspam team leader Matt Cutts has warned webmasters to exercise caution when using the new tool. “Most sites shouldn’t use this tool,” Cutts stated; Google maintains “if used incorrectly, the tool can potentially harm [a] site’s performance in Google’s search results.”
For SEO purposes, the disavow tool now provides a tactic webmasters can use to combat the penalties/link removals they might be facing as a result of unnatural links. Currently, Google recommends sites only use the new tool if they believe they have a considerable number of unnatural links causing issues.