If you have been slapped by the fickle flipper of fate, aka ‘Google Penguin Algorithm Update’, you have probably been waiting for this SEO news:
Google has launched its “disavow links” tool for sites hit by Penguin.
Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team made the big announcement at the Pubcon conference today and the Disavow Links tool, which allows webmasters to request that Google ignore certain “undesirable” backlinks, was launched shortly after the announcement.
Site owners are now able to submit a complete list of spammy, or otherwise unwanted URLs which have caused a Penguin problem.
Penguin, if you are new to SEO, is the algorithm update that was launched in April 2012 which is designed to negate the effect of certain types of links to a website. Too many links from low quality sites, and links using the same or similar anchor text are among the things Penguin is looking for.
The word on the Webmaster Central Blog is that it will take a few weeks for Google to process the lists, so we will have to wait and see if sites affected by Penguin are able to recover after disavowing their shady past. Full recovery does not seem likely, since those bad links did pass some rank at some time before Penguin and whatever benefit they had in the past is also gone.
Google also advises that you really shouldn’t mess with it if you aren’t entirely sure you need to. Even then, be very careful – don’t accidentally disavow good links!