Marketers who are trying to promote their websites using SEO have been in a constant battle with Google. Activities that were once encouraged by Google, can overnight earn a site the ‘Google Slap.’ It is often very difficult to know what types of things Google wants, and doesn’t want. That being said, however, Google has been consistently discouraging ‘link spam’ for a few years now, and that is likely to continue.
Google’s head of search engine spam, Matt Cutts, released a video to the Webmaster Help Channel recently, which told website owners that they shouldn’t be waiting for Google to punish a site before taking action. Whether you’ve made the mistake of buying ’10,000 back links for $5’ in the past, or you feel you’re the victim of a negative SEO campaign against your page, you need to catch it before Google does.
Using the Disavow tool in Google’s Webmaster Tools to remove the effect of low quality links is a great way to avoid losing any rankings. The video implies that if you take care of this kind of thing yourself, you won’t be nearly as likely to get pushed down the SERPs as a result.
Many marketers and SEOs in the past have believed that using the disavow tool would draw the attention of Google to your site in a negative way. It seems, however, that this is not really the case.
Cutts said, “If you’re at all worried about someone trying to do negative SEO or it looks like there’s some weird bot that’s building up a bunch of links to your site and you have no idea where they came from, that’s the perfect time to use disavow. I wouldn’t worry about going ahead and disavowing links even if you don’t have a message in your webmaster console.”
Essentially, Cutts is saying that webmasters must take a more proactive approach to negative SEO attacks, as well as poor SEO choices in the past. This is a slight modification from what Google has said in the past, suggesting that the disavow tool was only meant to be used as a last resort after requesting links be removed manually by the domain hosting them.