Google to launch disavow link tool
After lots of coverage on blogs and websites, negative SEO is all the rage once again due to Google's recent Panda and Penguin algorithm updates.
The algorithm updates were designed to detect and penalise over optimised websites, however, these updates have left legitimate websites open and vulnerable to attack from negative SEO. Thankfully, it appears that Google have taken notice and are planning to launch the disavow link tool, which will allow webmasters to report suspicious links via their webmaster tools account. The move will follow Bing, who have just launched disavow tool in Bing Webmaster tools.
So what is negative SEO? And how does it differ from organic SEO?
Let's start from the beginning...
Organic SEO is where search engine marketers create quality content relevant to their business niche. Search engine optimisers can then source link opportunities from authority websites relevant to their business.
Gaining links from relevant websites is the nuts and bolts to achieving high rankings in search engines, however, since the dawn of Google, people have been trying to game their search results by using underhand tactics. These guys are known as black hatters.
One black hat method would be to purchase a high amount of low quality 'spam' links and point them to a desired webpage using desired anchor text.
Believe it or not techniques like this did work pre Panda/Penguin; but we have to stress techniques like this only ever brought black hatters short term gain. Once discovered by Google, these sites would have been removed from Google's index.
There are various techniques black hatters' use to game Google's search results, and they have been pretty successful to date, hence the reason Google changed their algorithm to detect over optimised websites.
As mentioned above, this has left legitimate websites open and vulnerable to attack from negative SEO.
Negative SEO is a questionable practise involving the defunct tactic mentioned above. However, he/she would point the high amount of low quality 'spam' links to a competitor site rather than their own. Google's new algorithm would detect this spike in back links and demote keyword rankings for the site in question.
Penalties and demotions vary depending on how Google views the websites profile, in some cases websites can be removed from the index all together.
Thankfully, the only examples of negative SEO to date is from case studies carried out by SEO professionals highlighting the fact to Google that legitimate websites are now open to attack due to the recent Panda/Penguin algorithm updates - but the disavow tool is bound to be welcomed by webmasters, SEO-ers and SMB owners, who will have some peace of mind knowing they can inform Google of any suspicious link activity.