Google has released a new tool for webmasters designed to “disavow” any spammy backlinks that might cause a penalty or other negative consequences for their site.
The definition of disavow is simply to “deny any responsibility or support for.” Which is exactly what Google’s new disavow tool is interned to do for your links.
Earlier, Matt Cutts who is the head of Google’s webspam team, released a video press release that announced
You can also find the full release on the official Google Webmaster Central Blog.
Matt Cutts talks more about the disavow tool in the accompanying video.
So for those die-hard SEO’s that just watched that, basically what Matt is saying is that if you know for a fact that you have spammy backlinks built to your site, and you have done everything that you can to get rid of those links, then you can use this tool to get rid of those links. According to Google, this will not guarantee the elimination of all links and it will not “abide by” this list by default. What it will do is “take a strong suggestion” of the list that you have given Google and take that into account. To read more information about the Google disavow tool, read what Google Webmaster Help has to say about it.
To get started with Google disavow, navigate to the Google disavow main page. You must be logged into Google Webmaster Tools to view this. If you have multiple sites, at this point you will need to choose which site you want to disavow.
Please keep in mind that Google has posted a very straightforward warning about the disavow tool, before you begin or make any changes:
Once you’ve agreed to that warning, you’ll be taken directly to the point where you will upload the text file. Keep in mind there are very strict formatting rules for the disavow file. Failure to comply with these formatting rules will nullify your disavow file.
If you’d like to see an example disavow file, you can download our example disavow file here.
Once you’ve uploaded the file, you can come back to it at a later date and upload a new disavow file.
You will also be told if your disavow file was successfully uploaded or not, what the filename was, how many domains / URLs, and what the date and time was.
Keep in mind you cannot append to the disavow file live, you must upload a new one.
Chances are you still have many questiosn about the disavow file. Rather than going into more detail, Google has done a great job of answering most of the questions you might have.
Google has also posted an extensive Q & A within the Webmaster Central Blog post about disavow, which is definitely worth looking into if you are thinking about disavowing.
If you do have more questions please feel free to reach out to us at any point, we have a number of people in our office who can speak to you about the disavow file, penalties, or SEO in general.