The three letters on the tip of every webmaster’s tongue today are SEO. Search engine optimization has been popular for as long as there have been search engines, and the industry as we know it today is built almost entirely around Google. By far the most popular search tool on the web, Google turns up results for billions of searches every day. When consumers are trying to find things on the web, Google is their tool of choice. Tailoring a website to rank higher in Google search results is a complex art that has many ins and outs. One often misunderstood instrument in the SEO toolbox is the disavow function.
Google’s Webmaster Tools package offers users a wealth of information and statistics about their websites and the traffic that they generate. This is important information for webmasters seeking to optimize their pages for search engine rankings, because internet traffic is more complicated than it seems. Not every hit is a good hit, and links from spam websites or illicit sources can harm your website’s reputation as well as its SEO. The disavow tool allows you to effectively strike links like these from the record and preserve your SEO and page rank.
However, the disavow tool is not as simple as it seems. Disavowing links can help a website climb the ranks in search engine results, but careless use of it can have serious negative consequences. Google may send webmasters bad links warnings via email to notify them of unnatural links to their pages. In cases in which the web master can identify the link sources that are causing Google’s red flags to raise, the disavow tool is often the perfect solution to the problem. By blocking such links from your website, you can avoid bad link warnings and maintain your standings in Google’s all-seeing eyes.
Negative SEO is becoming a concern for some webmasters, particularly those running business websites. A competitor may actually create intentionally harmful links to a website in order to drag that website’s SEO through the mud. A webmaster who has become the victim of negative SEO may have no other options for blocking these links, making the disavow tool their primary weapon. However, it should be noted that while negative SEO does exist, it’s very rare. Webmasters who think they are being targeted by competitors in this way are most often simply suffering from other SEO problems. Be sure to diagnose your situation carefully before making any rash moves.
Users should use extreme caution with the disavow function. The consequences of disavowal as a link removal tool are not yet fully understood, and Google is still refining this tool. Any webmaster considering using the disavow function to clean up their traffic should be completely certain of their actions. An unnatural links penalty may have been caused by any number of things. Getting too reckless with the disavow tool can lead to even more SEO problems, so users should proceed with caution. Google itself, as well as most SEO professionals, recommend seeking alternatives to disavowal before pulling the trigger.