Why do Google's spam links neutralization tool need to be used with caution

Last week, Google announced the launch of a tool to neutralize the impact of poor-quality links to site positions in search results. Webmasters have been waiting for this event since the Bing search engine first introduced a similar tool a few months ago. Google's spamming linker news literally blew up the blogosphere and social networks. It is worth noting that when the well-known Matt Cutts appeared at the podium during the conference Pubcon Las Vegas 2012 devoted to SEO and SMO, the audience began to smile pretty. They did not yet know what the honored engineer of Google would tell, but for some reason they believed that the world's largest search engine would finally introduce a neutralizer of poor-quality links.


In April 2012, when Google introduced the Penguin anti-spam filter, many site owners panicked by calling SEO agencies they had collaborated with. They asked to remove external links to their sites, bought even a few years ago. The fact is that "Penguin" reduced in the issuance of resources that have poor quality from the point of view of the search engine incoming links.

Before the advent of "Penguin", the optimizers and webmasters told each other about the inadmissibility of buying links, but at the same time quietly engaged in linkbombing. It's simple - this tool worked, and worked well. Simply put, external links bought everything, even the owners of the most "white" sites and employees of the most "fluffy" SEO-agencies. Not surprisingly, with the advent of the new algorithm, these supposedly white and fluffy sites were under the sanctions of Google.

In addition, some dishonest optimizers took advantage of the appearance of the "Penguin" to reduce the issue of competitors in the issue. They began to buy a large number of spam links to resources ranked above the promoted page. The calculation is simple - Google will punish competitors, and the project being promoted will automatically go to the top. Thus, even webmasters who have never bought links suffered after the appearance of "Penguin". They were forced to write hundreds of letters to the owners of spam sites asking them to remove low-quality links. Of course, if you guessed why Google suddenly "out of love" with their resource.

Ay, site owners, where are you

It is not surprising that most of the email addresses and phone numbers listed on the spam sites did not respond. What to say about the contact information, if even the letters sent to the owners of the referring resources found by the WHOIS were not answered!

At the presentation of the spam link neutralizer, Matt Cutts talked about a webmaster who went even further, trying to get rid of links on his own. This specialist wrote letters to all owners of spam sites referring to his resource and sent them by mail. Paper letters! Needless to say that this attempt was unsuccessful? So, the webmaster sent a request to Google with a request not to take into account poor-quality links when ranking his site. He attached to this request a photograph of a huge pile of paper letters that were sent to the owners of the spam resources and returned back.

Thus, if the webmaster did not receive a response from the linker owner, he lost all hope of removing the poor-quality link to his resource. In other words, he could not get his website out of Google’s sanctions.

Finally, many web resource owners, who never thought of selling links, were literally inundated with emails. Frightened by the "Penguin" colleagues asked them to remove the natural links, even if they were affixed with the attribute rel = nofollow.

And there is nothing surprising in the fact that many webmasters simply stopped responding to such requests. This is especially true of the owners of large resources, who are used to confirming the information posted by natural hyperlinks. And the cleverest owners of sites even began to delete links for money. Well, they found a way to compensate for the time spent on processing requests.

Negative SEO exists

Even after the appearance of "Penguin" Google experts said that there is only a small probability of the influence of competitors on the position of your site. But experienced webmasters knew that this probability is not so small. Moreover, many site owners suffered because of its underestimation.

Unfortunately, since April 2012, negative SEO has become a real problem. Internet marketers spent energy on search wars, trying to harm each other. By launching a tool to neutralize low-quality links, Google not only acknowledged the existence of external optimization with a minus sign, but also gave the site owners a weapon to combat it.

How to remove poor-quality links in the panel of webmasters Google

The service is available at this address: //www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main

Most importantly, in this tool there is no list of all your backlinks, but there is only the possibility to add a text file:

Thus, Google refuses in any way to give you a hint or hint which links it considers spam or, on the contrary, high-quality. Accordingly, you yourself should attend to the analysis of your reference mass, in order to identify low-quality links.

When preparing a text file, the address of the page, the weight of which you want to zero, must be specified on a new line. If you want to reset from the entire domain as a whole (in the case of, for example, “pass-through placement”), you need to use the following construction:

  • domain: spamsite1.com
  • domain: spamsite2.com
  • domain: spamsite3.com
  • domain: spamsite4.com
  • etc.

After you upload a file, you should expect - according to Matt Katz - about two weeks, when there will be changes in the output related to the recalculation of the weights of your reference mass. But you need to understand that in some cases there will be no changes at all. This tool is not a strict directive for Google, but rather a recommendation from the owner of the resource.

Use with caution

Matt Cutts warned site owners about the need to use a new tool with an eye to it. He recommends using a neutralizer only if other ways of removing the link are not successful.

But you know what webmasters always lack ... To save time, many of them will not even try to write letters to the owners of spam sites. It is not surprising if the first users of the Link Converter were students of the Cutts report. And they removed the first links through the webmaster panel while Matt was still speaking.

but on the other hand

The neutralizer of poor-quality links is a useful tool without any doubt. But each medal has two sides. No one can guarantee that this tool will not be accidentally or intentionally used for destructive purposes. Perhaps Matt Cutts spoke of the need to use a neutralizer with an eye for that very reason.

"In most cases, the neutralizer will not damage your site,"

said Matt Cutts in response to a question about the possibility of using the tool in the framework of negative SEO. In particular, the question concerned a situation where someone intentionally adds links from your site to the appropriate box in the webmaster panel.

However, Google will certainly take some steps if the owners of other resources begin to massively nullify the weight of links from your website to their web pages. Perhaps in this case, the sanctions will not be applied automatically, but the search engine experts will accurately check your site manually.

Lists for neutralizer

The launch of the spam links neutralization tool will soon lead to the emergence of huge lists that include known link farms, resources selling links and other sites that fit the definition of low-quality ones. These lists will definitely be replicated in SEO blogs and on specialized forums. Webmasters will have the opportunity within a few seconds to nullify the weight of links to their resource from hundreds and thousands of poor-quality sites.

There will definitely be some dishonest optimizer that will add the resources of its competitors to these lists. Of course, most webmasters will not check the entire list of sites published by some SEO gurus marked "immediately neutralize the links from these web pages, as they negatively affect the issue."

Abuses are possible

There is another situation where the spam link neutralizer can be used for destructive purposes. For example, if a fired employee or an external consultant wants to take revenge on you for depriving him of a premium or not cooperating, he will be able to do it with the help of Google’s tool to combat poor-quality links. Of course, he should have access to the webmaster toolbar. Zeroing the weight of valuable links, the avenger will achieve a serious drop in the position of your site in search results. At the same time, you will not even immediately understand what happened.

Of course, link neutralization can be easily canceled. Matt Cutts said this, but so far there is no tool for this. However, Matt Cutts drew the attention of the audience during the presentation that it might take a long time to return the “working” useful links. Thus, if Google considers a request for link zeroing within a few weeks, then canceling this action will take several months (probably, by a written request from the optimizer, there is simply no other toolkit in the panel).

Some webmasters will suffer because of ignorance

Site owners affected by Penguin’s hit will most likely be chopped off their shoulders for the first time using Google’s spam link converter. Having noticed a catastrophic drop in attendance, they will mercilessly nullify both uniquely garbage links and links that cause even the slightest suspicion. There is no doubt that under the hot hand will get some good links.

As a result of these actions, many quality resources will be considered by Google as a source of spam links. Thus, the ignorance of some webmasters will harm both themselves and quality websites, links from which were mistakenly disavowed in a panic. This is quite a controversial point in the proposed instrument, but nevertheless, the possibility of such a development of events cannot be excluded.

Festina lente

When the Bing search engine first launched a neutral link neutralizer, everyone wondered why Google’s largest search engine was dragging its own development of a similar service. However, given the above drawbacks of the tool for zeroing spam links, this tactic seems appropriate. Probably, Google engineers wanted to carefully examine the potential impact of the neutralizer on search results before its official launch.

What will happen…

Can webmasters count on the complete disappearance of negative SEO with the advent of Google's poor-quality link neutralizer? Probably not. Since the new tool clears the weight of paid links from spam sites within a few weeks, there will always be those who want to get to the top at least for this period. And for this they will buy hundreds of low-quality links to the resources of competitors as before.

The tool to neutralize the effect of low-quality links does not significantly change the rules of the game in the field of Internet marketing, as some experts believe. However, the spam link neutralizer will be a powerful weapon in the hands of experienced webmasters who are trying to control both internal and external aspects of website promotion.

Perhaps, Google will release a detailed instruction in the near future, which will reduce the side effects of using a new tool. It is also possible that the search engine will create a list of resources, links from which are most often asked to reset the webmasters. Links from them will not be taken into account when ranking sites later. After that, Google will disavow links for new applications only from those sites that are already on the blacklist.

... and how the heart will calm down

By the way, while everyone is discussing negative SEO and a tool for neutralizing low-quality links, unscrupulous players are already testing new ways to manipulate search results. Therefore, next year Google will launch new search algorithms, after the introduction of which many sites will suffer. Information, as they say, 146%.

Under these conditions, the importance of long-term marketing strategies, which bring success regardless of search algorithms, increases.


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