Google is back in the limelight again with the launch of a new tool. This time it has come to the rescue of harried SEOs scrambling with their site after the Google Penguin attack (talk of the illness and the cure coming from the same source!) and those that have received a manual spam action notification from Google.
The search engine giant’s latest tool wants to help you remove bad links from your site. This tool is useful mainly for the sites which have either purchased links or gained them through spamming. If you are notified of a manual spam action from Google based on “unnatural links” pointing to your site, it recommends that you remove as many bad links as possible. By removing these links, you are saving yourself from Penguin-like impacts in the future. If you are still bundled with unwanted links even after removing as many links as you could, its better to pay a visit to the disavow links page.
After you land on the page, you need to select your site first:
In the next step, you will be prompted to upload the file consisting of the links you want to disavow:
The required format of the file is simple. It has to be a plain text file with one URL for every line. The size limit for the file is 2 MB. Google has given an excerpt of a valid file, which may appear so:
# Contacted owner of spamdomain1.com on 7/1/2012 to
# ask for link removal but got no response
# Owner of spamdomain2.com removed most links, but missed these
In the above excerpt, the lines that start with the pound sign (#), are considered as comments which are ignored by Google. The keyword “domain:” is indicative of your intention to disavow links from all pages on a particular website. You also have the option of requesting to disavow links for specific pages on your site. At present, Google supports one disavowal file per site and this file is shared amongst the site owners in the Webmaster Tools. If you want to update your disavowal file, you need to download the existing file, update it and upload the new file.
It can take a few weeks for your disavowed links to be re-crawled and re-indexed by Google. Also, Google has said that it reserves the right to trust its judgment on the links to be disavowed but it will usually use the indication you submit when assessing links. Because of the time it takes for the changes to take effect, it is important that you don’t make a mistake while disavowing links. If you err, you will have to wait out that period to reclaim necessary links.
You can disavow links from different domains by adding an entry for each domain (for example, if you want to disavow links from example.com and example.co.uk). You can also disavow an entire domain.
So, do you think you need to use the Disavow Links tool for your site? Let us know about your views on the tool before and after usage (if you use it).
For a report of the tool from Google itself, you can click here.