Google launched a new tool today that allows Webmasters to eliminate links to their site that they believe might be hurting its search rankings.
Announced at the Pubcon conference in Las Vegas today, the "disavow links" tool is designed to help sites that have already been warned by Google of manual spam actions based on "unnatural links." The tool is recommended as a last-resort solution to link spam -- disreputable or irrelevant links that may hurt a site's search engine results ranking.
"By removing the bad links directly, you're helping to prevent Google (and other search engines) from taking action again in the future," Jonathan Simon, a Google Webmaster trends analyst, wrote in a company blog post. "You're also helping to protect your site's image, since people will no longer find spammy links pointing to your site on the web and jump to conclusions about your website or business."
When all avenues to manually removing the problematic links have been exhausted, Google suggests giving the "disavow links" tool a shot. Webmasters using the tool will be asked to select their site and then upload a text file containing the offending link. Google takes care of the rest.
However, Google recommends caution when using this tool, noting that good links that are accidentally uploaded to the tool can be reinstated upon request, but the process may take weeks to resurrect the link.
As such, the Web giant predicts that the use of the new tool will likely be limited
"The vast, vast majority of sites do not need to use this tool in any way. If you're not sure what the tool does or whether you need to use it, you probably shouldn't use it," Simon said in the post.
More on the tool discussed in this video: