Believe it or not, when people talk, Google eventually listens. Since their advertised purpose for the algorithm updates was to make for a better experience for the end user, it is nice that they are taking into account what exactly the end user is getting. Previous SEO recommendations included gathering as many links as possible, with the only guidelines being that you should steer very clear of any really disreputable sites, like gambling, pornography, online pharmaceuticals, stuff like that. Other than that, most everything seemed to be fair game. Although it was supposedly understood that you should be getting and giving links to sites that were somehow relevant or related, there was a great deal of latitude and this was highly subjective.
BAM! First Panda, and then Penguin. And, then, before they even realized what had hit them, as they were reeling from the drastic drop in search engine placement (or seemed to be missing entirely from the search engine results) webmasters started getting warnings from Google about unnatural links. Online marketing firms have tried to come to the rescue, but it is quite a daunting task to undo the immense link system that was created. People have been literally scrambling, breaking a nail to contact an online marketing agency to get some help. Finally, Google brings a useful solution to the table, in the form of the Disavow Links Tool, available through the Google Webmaster Tools interface. This has been quite a godsend for those who have taken a big hit and are now wondering exactly how to dig out of this search engine optimization (SEO) mess that they got themselves into.
If you have not yet received any warnings from Google regarding the presence of unnatural links on your site, then you really don’t have anything to worry about—at the moment. However, it couldn’t hurt to be familiar with the solution to this common problem, should you find yourself facing it in the near future.
Essentially, Google is still recommending that the first course of action that you should take is to contact the webmasters of the “unnaturally linked” sites and request link removal. Chances are, you will not be successful with this measure, especially if the link is to a large directory. These webmasters are drowning in requests and threats about link removal, and, realistically, getting to all of them is going to be very challenging.
Should your polite request not result in the successful removal of the unnatural links, you may want to consider using the Disavow Tool. There are many advantages, and some disadvantages to using this tool, so learn about it before you just jump in and start disavowing links. You don’t want to find out that you have removed all of your links, including the good ones. Online marketing firms can help you work this tool to your advantage, and help you to ensure that you are only removing the links you truly want to rid yourself of, while still retaining those that are reputable, relevant and related. In future posts, we will outline more about the specific advantages and disadvantages of using this innovative new tool.