Beware of Googles Bearing Gifts
To Disavow? Or, not to Disavow? That is the quandary SEO experts are stewing over of late. In the midst of October’s chaos and constant sugar buzz, Google made a big announcement: the launch of the Disavow Link Tool. The Disavow Link tool allows webmasters to request that Google remove specific links that may be negatively affecting their page rank from the Google index. This announcement is in wake of the many previous changes that Google has made to its algorithms over the last couple years, and is positioned as the remedy.
Change isn’t always good.
With the launch of Panda and Penguin (the quirky names given to the algorithmic shifts with not so quirky results), we saw that many of the tactics that were previously condoned in SEO were now being violently combatted by Google. Backlinks to sites were given negative value, high-ranking sites plummeted in PageRank, and most sites were floundering to find a shred of solace.
The Disavow Link Tool is being packaged as that concession SEOs and webmasters have been searching for high and low. But is it too little too late? Is it really an act of attrition, or a mask to appease the masses while Google comes at us from the inside?
As with all things Google, the Disavow Tool may not be exactly as it seems. Yes, companies’ search engine rankings may have suffered, but it’s unlikely that a band-aid like this will serve as a magic cure all. While speculation and recommendations abound, there’s only one piece of advice that is for certain – tread lightly and with proper expertise. Matt Cutts, of Google’s web spam team, even strongly urges all disavow link requests to be handled by an expert.
Easy does it.
Submitting links to be disavowed will undoubtedly place your site under the utmost scrutiny. These submissions will not only admit to Google that you see real problems in your backlinks, but it will open your site to analysis and monitoring. History tells us that with any Google change comes hidden ramifications and unforeseen repercussions. It’s good to remember that Google is a publicly traded, multinational corporation, with their own interests and corporate goals. They must consistently provide results to their shareholders, and your company’s well-being is only tertiary to their interests. Yes, they serve the public, but only so far as the public serves them.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Until it proves otherwise, consider the Google Disavow tool a potential Trojan horse, and proceed with the utmost caution before inviting it inside the gates of your website. Continue with a steadfast SEO plan, or consider consulting an SEO expert about safe and effective methods of increasing the visibility and rank of your company, without possibly being sucker-punched by another questionable move on Google’s part.
Sweeping changes and quick adoption of a new and questionable “gift” from Google could potentially have lasting damage to your site’s ranking. Until more is understood about how this tool works and what exact ramifications it will have, the best advice is to not make drastic changes to your course of action: just Keep Calm and Carry On.