I haven’t written as much as I would have liked lately but a thought that has festered has drawn me back to the drawing/writing board, and that is Google’s latest addition to the Webmaster Toolset – the Disavow Links Tool.
Twitter has been awash with new blog posts about the new Google Disavow Tool ranging from quick updates to full-blown methods of using the new toy to its fullest extents. But there is another area that has me puzzled…
Google has a problem with identifying link spam. It’s evident to many of us when we see some of our competitor’s backlinks and not at all surprising considering the mammoth task that it is to police the web.
So it should be fairly obvious that they would use any data that is available to identify spammy websites that Google clearly don’t want cluttering up their search engine (and server space for that matter).
Enter the Disavow tool.
I completely agree with the general consensus that this tool will be a great way to keep a link profile looking squeaky clean which many webmasters and SEO practitioners will find of great use. But I can’t help but think that it could be very dangerous in manipulative hands.
To clarify I’m not just talking about hacked Webmaster Tools accounts, I’m talking more on the lines of webmasters disavowing a competitors domain to try to get them positioned as a spammy site in the eyes of Google.
Dr Pete answered a similar question on his Moz post:
“Could they compile all of these lists across thousands of sites as a signal for which sites might have link problems (especially big directories)? Absolutely, they could. I don’t think that’s their ultimate goal or that they’re going to do that anytime soon, but it’s certainly possible.” – Dr Pete
Now, although his answer didn’t feel like the data wold be used in the algorithm, it does seem a little strange that they would not make use of such data.
That would mean, large-scale blog network owners could potentially now have a new money-making method and that is negative SEO using the disavow tool.
What are your thoughts? Do you think this data will be used in the algo? Have you used the tool yet? Drop me a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts!