Let’s get things straight – there is such as thing as Negative SEO. It exists. It works (on some websites). It happens. And it’s been happening more since the latest Penguin Update. Now, Google has just stated the ‘solution’ against Negative SEO.
Sounds like a marriage gone wrong, right? Disavowing links is simply telling Google that the incoming link is not wanted. It’s either a bad link, a spam link, a link with the intention of bringing your site down, etc…
The soon-to-come disavow tool is also a reinforcement to the fact that Negative SEO is becoming a bigger problem after the Penguin Update.
How do you know which Links to Disavow?
Well first of all, you need to know your backlinks. Use a Backlink Checking tool to see which links point to your website and where it comes from. I have compiled a list of Backlink Checking Tools for your convenience and perusal.
A good link will come from a website which linked to you because they have found value in you. This link will most probably have a good, relevant topic as its host content and will most probably have a relevant anchor text. So what links should you watch out for?
- Watch out for increasing number of links that have exact-match anchor text.
- Watch out for increasing number of links that come from webpages that have nothing to do with you.
- Watch out for increasing number of links that come from low-quality webpages.
Track your backlinks and examine if any of these things are present. If they are, it’s time to report it to Google through this form. I’m not so sure if you need to paste each and every URL there and tell Google that those are not yours. Perhaps Google has been receiving tons of link disavowment requests through this form. Thus they thought of coming up with a link disavowment tool.
A Natural Link profile should consist of raw URLs such as http://seo-hacker.org or www.seo-hacker.org. It also consists of a lot of brand links. Without much of these two, it’s quite easy to conclude that there’s linkbuilding going on. Take a look at this picture (From Cognitive SEO’s Backlink Checking Tool)
There are tons of exact match anchor text and almost no raw URLs nor brand Links. I won’t be surprised if this site’s now gone from the SERPs. A more natural link profile would look like this:
Does your link profile look natural? If it doesn’t, well, I guess that’s another use of the up-coming link disavowment tool.
It’s been said that this link disavowment tool is to combat Negative SEO. If your website reputation isn’t as high and mighty as the big brands (like SEOMoz, Coca-Cola, Apple, etc…) then you’re always a susceptible target for negative SEO. Knowing this disavowment tool is under development should be a sigh of relief for SEO specialists.
We don’t want the SEO industry adopting the crab mentality with negative SEO. Do we?