Thursday, November 8, 2012

Google's Disavow Tool: Long awaited and quite ominous

It is no secret that many webmasters and SEOs have long awaited Google's backlink disavow tool. After Panda and Penguin, bad backlinks have become toxic to a website's SEO efforts. Now that Google is allowing webmasters to disavow bad backlinks, the problem is solved right?

Wrong. As typical, as one problem is solved another is created. Let's take a look at an all too real hypothetical example.

Website A has 1,000 backlinks and took a big hit in rankings after the Panda and Penguin updates. The webmaster doesn't know what to do. The webmaster calls the SEO who is in a state of panic and buried with emails and phone calls. Why? Because every one of the SEO's clients is having an SEO meltdown. Giving up on the SEO, the webmaster decides to research why the big drop in rankings occurred... the verdict: bad backlinks. The webmaster now starts hunting down bad backlinks - any links with unnatural anchor text, spammy content, biased one-sided content links, pretty much anything that wasn't generated by an actual fan or customer. What to do with all these links? Well the webmaster spent so long building them, it is now time to start removing them, but the links are on sites out of the webmaster's control. Google finally releases the disavow tool, allowing the webmaster to indicate which links are bad and should not be counted in Google's search ranking algorithm. The webmaster kicks back and starts generating quality content... it is all over. Or is it?

Lets say that 400 of the 1000 backlinks were disavowed by the webmaster. Well now the webmaster has effectively reported around 400 websites to Google as having no value. The webmaster's friends have done the same. Now that the webmaster is generating real quality content, there is no place to put it. All the webmaster's favorite article and blog posting sites have been mass-reported to Google via the disavow tool and hold little value now.

What is the answer? Generate content worth sharing. Share it yourself on social networks (embrace Google+) and encourage your fans and customers to share the content as well. Participate in conversations on social sites and forums and offer real valuable content.

Generate good quality content regularly and offer value first and foremost. This can be easier than it may seem once you have established a good methodology for it. Schedules, ordered lists, and brainstorming once a week can provide enough direction for a month of good content. I will be glad to share my tips on content generation, so keep check for that. Be sure to share this content and check back for more updates and tips.

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