Google Will Soon Ignore Links You Tell It To

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Google Will Soon Ignore Links You Tell It To
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Google’s Matt Cutts gave a keynote “You and A” presentation at SMX Advanced this week, and mentioned that Google is considering offering a tool that would let webmasters disavow certain links.

Would you find such a tool useful? Let us know in the comments.

Matt McGee at SMX sister site Search Engine Land liveblogged the conversation. Here’s his quote of Cutts, which was in response to a question about negative SEO:

The story of this year has been more transparency, but we’re also trying to be better about enforcing our quality guidelines. People have asked questions about negative SEO for a long time. Our guidelines used to say it’s nearly impossible to do that, but there have been cases where that’s happened, so we changed the wording on that part of our guidelines.

Some have suggested that Google could disavow links. Even though we put in a lot of protection against negative SEO, there’s been so much talk about that that we’re talking about being able to enable that, maybe in a month or two or three.

We recently wrote about Google’s wording change regarding negative SEO, which seemed to be an admission from the company that this practice is indeed possible. These words from Cutts seem to be further confirmation.

Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, recently issued a challenge to people to show that if you have a strong enough reputation and link profile, you can’t be hurt by negative SEO. That seemed to go pretty well, but not everyone has the reputation of SEOmoz, even if they don’t necessarily have a bad one. Such a tool from Google could go a long way in helping combat negative SEO practices.

As far as people suggesting that Google could disavow links, Search Engine Land editor Barry Schwartz actually had a pretty good article talking about this last month. “The concept is simple,” he wrote. “You go to your link report in Google Webmaster Tools and have an action button that says ‘don’t trust this link’ or something like it. Google will then take that as a signal to not use that link as part of their link graph and ranking algorithm.”

“What I can’t understand is why hasn’t Google released it yet,” he wrote. “It is a great way for Google to do mass spam reporting by webmasters and SEOs without calling it spam reporting. You will have all these webmasters rush after a penalty to call out which links they feel are hurting them. Google can take that data to back up their algorithms to on links they already know are spam but also find new links that they might not have caught.”

He went on to make the point that Google would find more spam this way.

Once Google launches this tool, assuming that it actually does, it will be very interesting to see how the rankings shake out. It should be an indication of just how important links actually are these days.

As you may know, Google has sent out a ton of Webmaster Tools warnings this year, and such a tool would help users take quick “manual action” on links rather than spend a ton of time sending link removal requests to other sites. It might even prevent some lawsuits (and the death of the web as we know it).

According to Cutts, however, not many of the warnings were actually about links.


@VegasWill that’s the right range. I may pull the stats just to help clarify.
6 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto
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Update: Here’s his clarification:

Matt Cutts
Matt Cutts   15 minutes ago Earlier this year, Google revealed that we sent out over 700,000 messages to site owners in January and February 2012 via our free webmaster console at http://google.com/webmasters . I wanted to clarify a misconception about those messages. A lot of people assumed that most or all of the 700K messages were related to "unnatural link warnings" that some site owners received.

The reason for sending the 700,000 messages via Webmaster Tools was actually because we started sending out warnings about blackhat techniques. The vast, vast majority of manual actions we take are on pages that are engaging in egregious blackhat SEO techniques, such as automatically created gibberish or cloaking.

In fact, of the messages that we sent out to site owners, only around 3% were for unnatural or artificial links. So just to be clear, of the 700,000 messages we sent out in January and February, well above 600,000 were for obvious blackhat spam, and under 25,000 of the messages were for unnatural links. #smx   #seo  

Google Sent Over 700,000 Messages Via Webmaster Tools In Past Two Months
At SMX West last week Tiffany Oberoi from Google shared that Google has sent over 700,000 messages to webmasters via Google Webmaster Tools in January and February 2012. That is more than the total nu…

By the way, Google only sends those messages when it’s a penalty, and penalties, as far as Google is concerned, are manual action.

It will be interesting to see if the new link tool helps a lot of sites recover from algorithm updates like Penguin, and/or prevents a lot of sites from getting hit. Will we see less complaining about Google’s algorithm changes? Somehow, I doubt that. I have no reason to believe we will see less finger pointing.

Will you use the new link tool if Google provides it? Let us know in the comments.

Google Will Soon Ignore Links You Tell It To
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  • Al Del Vecchio

    This is idiotic.
    What do you want, people spending their time telling you what websites not to visit and ignore their competitors?

  • http://arthackers.net Alan

    Google cant ignore anything properly – we`ll see a great epic fail as google penguin algor.

  • http://infinitum.lv Aigars

    When this tool have been opened for simple SEO workers?

  • http://gastric-banding-surgery.eu Geoff Lord

    Seems like google is trying to get us to the dirty work for them. Unles there is a a CLEAR indication with the tool showing which links are harmfull and which are helpfull to the site it will be a waste of time. How are we supposed to Know which inbound links are good and Bad?

  • David McCannon

    The problem is Google is going to customized search, and soon no one will get the same results as you and you will not get a true picture how your website is doing. The problem is if you use Google plus and you are a webmaster, you will get an illusion that your website is doing better than it really is. Your top ten is not the same as everyone else. That makes the search results useless for SEO.

  • Astrit

    Some times webmasters, seos and G employes need to take their head out of the box. Who does and who will use Webmaster tools if not the above mentioned ones? What about small business owners that sell shoes and have no clue what a link is and what its purpose really is (unless it is not used to interlink inner pages).

    Such signals and tools just make a more chaotic web then it used to be.

  • John

    A reverse no-follow function? Sign me up! It’s beyond me why anyone would be complaining about this. This is probably the best thing Google has come up with in years as far as SEO is concerned. If you have 10k bad links pointing to your site well then you have a lot of work to do. Outsource it for christ sake. Wouldn’t you rather have the links essentially not pointing to your website? Stop whining. I support this initiative wholeheartedly.

  • http://www.rooom.com.ua RoooM

    And if the button – a bad link – will turn into a game – a utopia of a competitor.
    Web masters who were engaged in black methods of website promotion, will click the link to distrust more and more to a competitor’s site crashed. What should I do?

  • http://futurepocket.com Hasan Khan

    Something like this definitely needs to be implemented … I’ve been a victim of negative SEO and completely disappeared from rankings after the Penguin update. My site rose up right after Penguin to the first page for a lot of good keywords because of the good content I had … then all of a sudden one day I notice the traffic DRASTICALLY decrease — I check my backlink profile (not all indexed) and there are 30k links pointing to my site from low quality pages over night. There is no way I can combat something like that and no way to get in touch with Google about that either, so a tool like this would be really helpful.

  • http://www.smartbizlead.com Trade Nigeria

    There is a lot of news about Google these days. But i must encourage them to do whatever it takes to improve search on the internet. I have heard of and seen some funny SEO techniques employed by webmasters and it makes me laugh. The internet should be for professionals who intend to deliver quality content and i don’t blame Google for what ever it does to promote this.

  • puppy kitten

    This is a stupid idea. Not everyone will know what sites are linking to theirs. Not everyone will know about the policy. Not everyone uses Google’s webmasters tool. This will only encourage link wars against competitors.

    The lowest effect an inbound link should be able to have on a webpage should be zero, not some negative amount.

  • http://www.HGPublishing.com Peter J. Francis

    I absolutely would love to be able to tell Google to ignore inbound links. I don’t know where some of the sketchy link farms even got my site; I certainly didn’t ask for it, nor did I pay to be listed. I don’t have the money to pay a lawyer to threaten anyone with a lawsuit. This is a good way for a small webmaster to be able to protect his/her site from bad inbound links.

  • nonya

    Does this mean G will start revealing ALL inbound links?

  • http://x.com johnJones

    I think it is about a pool of fools. All this effort about SEO, BlackHat and other crap is meaningless. In 2000 you could type in a search term and the sites would show up. For example I own a very popular Occupy site. It shows in Bing and Yahoo just fine when you type the name. Type in in to Google and all you get is Huffington Post garbage. I have drilled down about 90 full search pages… nothing. But you see huffington Post on every single search page. I wonder if Google is getting paid by Huffington Post… Yes they are. I only use Bing as a search engine. It has great graphics and good reliable content. Google is the government house boy now. It is controled by the government and only serves the news papers and other large businesses. Google is for the brain washed masses out there. I also put the web master tool kit links on my site and it still does not show in Google. It shows how they supress the real news and voice of the people so the profits stay high and you get fed the censored crap they want to feed you..

    • Denise

      Evidently Google and Ebay are in bed together. I was searching for an item I found to find out more information and all results delivered first was Ebay.

  • http://www.realitist.com Robert

    The idea will only work when Google elimates PR rankings, otherwise all the webmasters will rush to refuse links from PR0 – PR3 websites.

  • John

    Wow, a policing remedy for what was a stupid idea in the first place. I’m getting so sick of Google and their nonsense.

  • http://www.webolutions.com/websites.cfm Webolutions

    This year, websites have been suffering due to Google’s new policy guidelines. It’s an ongoing major adjustment, and a lot of time to recover.

  • http://www.webolutions.com/websites.cfm Webolutions

    If it changes for the better, that’s possible.

  • http://www.tone.co.uk Anthony

    This would definitely help websites where an seo agency has accumulated several bad links in the past. If the website owner or new person in charge of seo could pick these out in Google Webmaster tools so that Google can discount them, this would block the bad links and hopefully have a positive effect on rankings. As we all know, contacting and asking the sites where bad links come from can be a slow and painful task, and more often than not you get no reply and the link remains.

  • http://www.website-consultancy.com/ Website Consultancy

    I think Barry Schwartz has the right idea, a tool in Webmaster Tools; because some SEO’s do use negative SEO against competitors and if this happens – well how do you ask someone who doesn’t know they’ve linked to you to stop linking to you?

  • http://www.onlinebackupsites.com Boris

    The thing is that such a “button” would make it easy for people using black-hat techniques & “webspam methods” to simply choose that links they want which wouldn’t be fair. A lot of people would game that button.

  • http://www.ifafinancialadvisors.co.uk Dave Whelan

    Our sister site has been hit by a Google penalty in WMT, on Nov 18 2011. ‘Unnatural inbound links’ We have been trying for over 7 month’s to fix this. Can’t wait for this new tool.

  • http://www.mediasnap.co.uk/ Julian Deverel

    Nonya makes a good point. For this to work Google would need to reveal a full and complete link profile in it’s webmaster tools. Something it has always avoided doing.

  • http://www.ukmoneypot.co.uk UKMoneyPot

    For a minute there I was with Anthony on this having had a site plummet after the penguin for links from my own blog! Then I read the other comments and Puppy Kitten makes so much sense! Instead of links having a negative affect why can’t they just be discounted and have no affect at all? If G’s algo can decide which links are bad why can’t they just ignore them? Do they have to slap webmasters for it too? They are becoming a playground bully!

  • http://loverussia.name/ игорь

    Yes, I need this instrument very much!
    Anyone can insert references to my site and it will be filtered out
    Waiting impatiently for this innovation!

  • Denise

    I have a better idea. Ignore all inbound links including Facebook. No extra work for us. Why would Google want to count Facebook links anyway. Sick of this social media garbage. Webmasters could then concentrate on making their web site content better.

  • http://www.fastweightlossdietss.com tom

    I truly enjoy reading through on this internet site , it contains good articles . “Dream no small dreams. They have no power to stir the souls of men.” by Victor Hugo.

  • http://www.bestmoneyonlines.com toma

    Some really excellent content on this website , thanks for contribution.

  • http://www.fuss3printersupplies.co.uk/ Mike Howard

    A control in webmaster tools would have certainly been helpful. We had to try and remove 6000 spam links that poisoned our site through negative seo.

  • http://www.Vittox.com Wilhelm

    Yes I would agree that an acredited Webmaster has a tool to disassociate a link to the web or damain, because the competition is creating contents with misinformation that have negative purposes, so in this war of information technologies and content management it obviosly a requirement to have defense resources against harmfull practices.

  • Monika

    ok we got the tool

    I tell Google example dot com

    does this mean, that example dot com get a penalty?

    I can’t understand why a tool should avoid black-hat-seo

  • http://www.marketsharewebdesign.com Kathy

    I like this idea. I think it could be very useful under the right circumstances. Bring it on!

  • http://highpointseo.com/ HighPoint SEO

    This would be a great step. If Google is going to punish you for the external links to your site, you should at least have a method to disavow those links and not let your competition bash you via negative link-building.

  • http://kercommunications.com Nick

    This is a great idea which I had publicly wished for in a G+ post shortly after starting to try to help some clients undo their past link building mistakes.
    One problem I see with it is that Webmaster Tools’ list of links is usually terribly out of date. I still see links from MyBlogLog.com in some of them – and that site has been gone for what, a year or two now?

  • http://dakwahislamindonesiaonline.wordpress.com/ ldii

    It seems Google is tired combating fake links while the real quality contents is difficult to be identified.

  • David

    I think that this is a quiet good idea, but it means that sooner or later all the Internet members and webmasters will use Google Webmaster Tools. It sounds like a monopoly. It would be better to send the link to Google for reconsideration without using GWT… for example by adding some codes on the page of your site that would show that you are the site’s owner, not a competitor or smth else.

  • http://www.mabuzi.com Kevin

    I can get rid of those horrid links that some nice SEO person has done for a competitor. Nice one guys, thanks for the links that took me months to remove.

    Eventually all page one search results will be paid in the end.

  • Bruno

    It is a very good idea.

  • http://www.getprepped.com GPwebmaster

    “Google is considering offering a tool that would let webmasters disavow certain links.”

    Personally, it can’t come soon enough.

  • http://www.nemanjakrecelj.net Nemanja Krecelj

    That’s stupid thing! So that mean i can first do BH SEO and get 1st page for few days, and if Google don’t saw that i can stay there and earn money, but if Google saw that and pull me down, i just go with that tool and remove that links…So no risk, we all then do first BH SEO…And also how i will remove 100k links?

  • http://www.keyresumehelp.com/ Key Resume

    In my humble opinion if this tool will work it will lead to changings in SERP all the time (permanently) which is pretty bad as webmasters won’t have any opportunity to analyse whether the changes lead to increase/decrease of position or it is a mere Google dancing. Also please tell me who will use this tool if not the blackhat SEO managers?

  • http://www.promocodes.co.uk Deirdre Attinger

    “Google is considering offering a tool that would let webmasters disavow certain links.”

    Since the Penguin update, I think this new tool will be well received by many webmasters, however I sense this this will be abused: by testing risky links, and then removing or disavowing them once a negative effect is spotted.

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  • http://www.sfwanet.com/vb/ john

    Since the Penguin update, I think this new tool will be well received by many webmasters, however I sense this this will be abused: by testing risky links, and then removing or disavowing them once a negative effect is spotted.


  • http://remind.com.br Ruddy

    was this tool created? i really need this to fix a client website.

  • http://www.fancybeast.de/test-erfahrung/almased-erfahrungen/ FancyBeast

    Danke für den Artikel er hat mir sehr geholfen auch wenn er auf Englich geschrieben ist 😉 ich habe mich durch gekämpft.
    Beybey Frank

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