Use Google’s Disavow Links Tool To Avoid Panda & Penguin Smack Downs

A lot has been happening on the Google front over the last couple of months – especially when it comes to backlinks. With the Panda and Penguin updates now in full swing, it has become more important than ever that your backlinks come from sources that are above board and unimpeachable.

In short that means no paid links, no links from link farms, no ‘spam’ links, and no links from websites with low quality content. Unfortunately, many websites out there do have links from dubious sources – maybe because of some SEO service that they hired that decided a link spam was the best way to get fast results, or maybe because of sabotage by their competitors.

Whatever the case, if you’ve received a message through Google’s Webmaster Tools regarding ‘unnatural links’ pointing to your website or even if you just want to be safe – this new disavow links tool is absolutely essential.

What Does It Do?

Long story short, the Google Disavow Links Tool allows you to tell Google that you are not responsible for those dubious links and provide them with a list of the links that you’d like to be ignored completely.

Just to clarify, by ‘ignored completely’ this means that you won’t get any value from the links but they won’t be counted against you either and so you’ll avoid a Panda or Penguin smack down.

As useful as the new tool is, it is not meant to be the first port of call when you discover that there are some dodgy links pointing to your website. Instead, Google would like you to try to remove any backlinks that you do not like manually – before using the disavow tool as a final resort.

How To Use This Tool?

To disavow links properly while keeping in mind that it should be the last possible option – here’s the best way to use it:

  •  Find the ‘Links to Your Site’ section in Google Webmaster Tools (it should be under the ‘Traffic’ menu).
  • links to site web tools

  • Once there, download a list of the pages linking to your site by heading over to ‘Who Links the Most’ and then ‘More’.
  • download lists web tools

  •  Go over the links and scrutinize them for any websites that may be suspect.
  •  Attempt to contact those websites and have them take down the backlinks in question.
  •  List down all the websites that do not take down your links after a reasonable amount of time has passed (a couple of weeks should be enough).
  •  Upload the list via the Google Disavow Links Tool.
  • disavow links

    upload disavow links

The format is straightforward. You just need to upload a plain text file with one URL per line. This is an example taken from Official Google Webmasters Central Blog:

# Contacted owner of spamdomain1.com on 7/1/2012 to

ask for link removal but got no response

domain:spamdomain1.com
# Owner of spamdomain2.com removed most links, but missed these
http://www.spamdomain2.com/contentA.html
http://www.spamdomain2.com/contentB.html
http://www.spamdomain2.com/contentC.html

Once that is done, you should be protected from any backlash due to the potentially dodgy links that you uncovered.

Chances are you may have noticed that the hardest part of this entire process is actually investigating and analyzing your backlinks to discover which ones are dubious. It may take time to do so, especially for websites that have hundreds or even thousands of backlinks, but in the long run it is definitely preferable to being on the wrong end of Panda or Penguin.

This article is written by Akshay Jain. He represents All Covered, making business processes simple and affordable. You would like to read Paid Links Aren’t Entirely Dead – Yet! written by Akshay on HBB.

Paid Links Aren’t Entirely Dead – Yet!

Earlier this year, Google stunned many parties when they rolled out a series of penalties against paid links. First there was the Penguin update where websites that were found to be participating in link schemes and paid links were penalized. Then, there were the ‘unnatural links warning’ that Google Webmaster Tools would provide.

For a while it seemed as if the days of paid links were well and truly numbered – but fast forward to the present day and paid links are still alive and kicking, even if they have taken a hit or two along the way.

Use At Your Own Risk

Paid LinksNowadays that’s the ethos behind paying for links or participating in link schemes – do so at your own risk.

Considering the Penguin update appears to be here to stay, the fact of the matter is that using any dubious links could lead to instant de-ranking on Google. On top of that there’s the entire ‘unnatural links’ warning that could lead to other penalties too if no action is taken.

But considering the fact that people are still selling links, it seems that there’s still a market for it out there. In other words, either people are willing to shoulder the risk or they’ve found a way around it.

Paid Link Strategies that Evade Detection

Some SEO services that deal with paid links have been attempting to avoid Google detecting them by utilizing various methods such as link wheels, pyramid links, and so on. Basically all of these operate on the principle that paid links can be ‘masked’ by directing them through other links instead, forming a huge link structure.

Whether or not any of these strategies are particularly effective is still debatable and tests have shown that while in some cases they appear to work, in others Google has spotted them.

“Are Paid Links Viable in the Long Term?”

Truth be told this is a loaded question. On one hand, it is unlikely that Google will find a way to completely crack down on paid links anytime in the foreseeable future but on the other hand the methods that it uses are certainly going to get more advanced as time goes by.

Frankly speaking, it is more likely that eventually Google moves to a new algorithm that simply does not place as much value in links.

As things stand however, the fact is that Google has consistently declared that any and all links should be ‘natural’. No matter how you slice or dice it, paid links go against Google’s Terms of Service and while they may not be able to compel you to avoid paid links, they are well within their rights to penalize you via your search rankings.

Right now, paid links aren’t entirely dead yet, but they are getting more and more risky. If you’re thinking about long term and sustainable search engine rankings then you may want to steer clear of them, but either way the choice is yours.

Why The Google Penguin Update Is Good For SEO?

Penguin and Panda UpdateSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) has been more of a debacle than a battlefield over the past decade since everyone wishes to be numero uno in Google – a feat that one million businesses are willing to tackle at any price or unethical practice. That is, magically, until Google Penguin came trotting down seemingly from nowhere and, in the middle of the night, whacked 1/3 of the internet’s websites for plagiarized content. That June evening changed the world forever and many have Navneet Panda – the engineering guru behind the mass content sweep – to thank for the dubious honors.

Webmasters wept. Amazon was affected, too. And the scramble back to the SEO drawing board ensued. To many, SEO would now be either costly, or impossible. To the sensible few who understand true optimization efforts fall into the hands of authoritative websites, SEO just became easier than ever.

We now tackle the exploratory, and positivity, behind the Penguin thrashing and how SEM professionals can now benefit from content and link farms’ penalization, and what to expect when Penguin’s close cousin, Google Panda, comes back to sweep again.

Content Can Live Forever

Verbiage chauvinists who believe spun content in mass quantities will win authoritative love have now been put in place.  Using LSI (latent semantic indexing) for content creation, implementing keyword co-occurrences for algorithmic synchronicity and making sure keywords are adequately used without spamming can now resonate as it should thanks to closer algorithmic inspection of content across domains, site pages and the likes. Provided your content is date stamped or indexed first through the search engines, anyone now copying even a sentence of your precious voice will be penalized heavily since Google can now detect writing styles better than before.  Mixed with socialization, visitor saturation and internal linking, and the content that used to rank behind content farms will now rise above, allowing natural organic rankings to erupt as Google originally intended to happen.

Remember when people flocked to print versions of WSJ, NYT, Washington Post or Chicago Tribune because of excellent content? That trend is now prevalent once again in our digitally competitive generation which now makes the scramble for innovative, edgy, demented or even hysterical content production more exciting than before, especially since LSI and semantic connectivity are becoming more popularly used by intelligent freelance writing professionals across the globe.

Backlinks Can Be Rewarded

Trickery in the form of FFA (Free for all) link farms, automated link building and comment links have plagued ethical SEM professionals for years since it takes away from natural backlinking which is what is considered ‘gold’ to any business or blog. Now that comment spam and automated links are scoffed, article production can commence without interruption, allowing other websites who share your affinity, or simply appreciate your work, to naturally link your content to theirs. To put bluntly, if you’re spending your time writing 1 article twenty different ways, you’ll never receive naturalization in reciprocal links; should you spend the time and effort to construct how-to’s, top “x” articles or nifty infographics, you’ll become noticed tenfold in post-Penguin algorithmic standards.

SEO Fairness Can Prevail

Aside from daily SEO activities, another headache that search engine professionals must contend with is the ever changing world of ethical and plausible marketing standards. Throw reputation management and Social Media into the mix, and it literally takes two men, or more, to correctly optimize websites, even post-Penguin. Now throw millions of renegade link builders who perceive old school ways still to work, or uniquely twisting the new Penguin update to their favor, and building honest content sites for clients becomes more than most can handle. Thanks to this update, and the many ensuing updates expected before the year’s end, honesty can prevail once again when link building comes across the plates of professionals. Productivity can increase, better content can be produced and natural attraction of websites can continue to thrive while placing keyword-rich websites in the order they deserve to be in. Finally, Google engineers have become levelheaded in their approach towards favoring hard work instead of unnatural link strength as days before.

All told, every business can now receive their fair shake when spending hard-earned or invested dollars into marketing campaigns that used to go bust.

Humans Finally Can Beat Mr. Roboto

Much like the song depicted in the heading, ‘Kilroy’ was an innovation – and center of controversy – during an era the Japanese were experimenting with cybernetics. The fear loomed that it would take over humanity, much in the same manner Google began taking over websites through inaccurate crawling mechanisms. Now that Mr. Navneet decided to favor humans again, naturally created links, content, and crawler methodologies are hitting on all cylinders, meaning correctly optimized content, social media integration and website engagement will be the naturally authoritative and elusive ranking factors instead of who has the most links, keywords and inflated traffic counters. When machines finally become more adept to human understanding, the learning curve increases while chicaneries performed by illegitimate link builders decrease dramatically, making the SEO playground fair and more humanlike. Chalk one up for the human genome, SEM pros.

Bounce Rates Will Drop

If you’ve ever visited a website where the content seemed spun, poorly written or popups plague your monitor, you can thank those illicit link baiters and content farmers who believed they’d draw visitor engagement through basically throwing up websites overnight and building massive comment links to boost popularity. This made search engine pros fight twice as hard to keep visitor engagement on their own sites. Since these poorly scripted sites will now become meaningless, bounce rates can be reduced and make reading, concurring with and acting upon analytical data more simplistic than days of old. Efforts can slow down, saving companies money in maintaining expensive AdWords accounts which were necessary pre-Penguin.

Keyword Costs Start Dropping

Popularly searched and high competition or costing keywords come to pass for two different reasons:

1) Because the trend or topic is so hot that demand for ranking the keyword skyrockets

2) Because 500 renegade link builders are stuffed into an office forcing lower costing keywords to increase in value.  

Since nobody really want to try ranking for “cat” or “boat” anymore with Wikipedia being number one for virtually every definition, long tail keywords were beginning to inflate beyond affordability pre-Penguin. Now that many link skyrocketing tactics have been partially shut down or completely ameliorated, prices per click are again falling back into the ethical businessmen’s favor, making SEO budgets easier to control and afford.

SEO Life Is Finally Good

Although we’re not fully abreast in our fight for SEO equality, the Panda-Penguin tandem has evolved to create barriers against optimization foolery. There is still plenty of fighting, tweaking, crawling and content realization to make the professional SEM’s work much easier while fighting back practices that have previously harmed ethical businesses that’d spend thousands monthly to rank their perfect content and gently used keywords. Sure, many updates are sure to come, more websites will feel claps of proverbial ranking thunder resonate through their illegitimate practices and keyword prices will surely drop; for now, however, we’ll praise the efforts of Navneet and enjoy the SEM good life for now. That is, however, until the new ranking irrationalities are unleashed by money thirsty marketing bandits.

This article is written by Tim Wilson. He works as content manager at HostPapa, a website hosting company serving over 100,000 customers around the world.

7 Common Pitfalls of Link Building – Post Penguin

link building pitfallsGoogle has made great strides in leveling the playing field and ensuring the quality of link building. Its Panda and Penguin updates have shaken up the way links are built and have seen many websites lose its precious SERP. Ranking on the top of Google searches in the past was simply done by creating hundreds of links. It was just a matter of who had the most resources for paid links or who had the most links at the end of the day. But those days are over and if you’re starting your link building campaign, here are a few link building strategies that you should stay away from.

1. Money Keyword Only Links

Using target keywords for anchor texts has always been the standard for any link building campaign in the past. However, with Google’s Penguin update, building a more diverse inbound link profile is key. Hundreds of links using the same anchor text pointing to your website can appear unnatural to Google’s eyes. This does not stop you from using money keywords for your anchor texts. You just have to make a conscious effort to use a variety of terms for your anchor text.

  • Use your website’s URL or inner pages (www.shoes.com or www.shoes.com/men)
  • Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) or related keywords
  • Generic Links (click, here, visit this website)

2. Article Submissions

If you’ve been building links for your website then there’s a good chance that you’ve reached out to article submission sites. However, most of these websites have been penalized after Google’s updates. These have been popular in the past because of the amount of link juice they give but these have been downgraded by Google.

3. Paid Links

You could term this as a double whammy. Not only are you shelling out dollars to have a link placed on their website but it also drags your SERP down. Quality and natural is where you should place your money on. The rule of the game is the harder you work to get the link, the better its chance of providing your website with much needed link juice.

4. Generic Link Exchanges or Blogrolls

Everybody wants to be top dog and getting links from the first source they come in contact with is a common mistake that plagues many webmasters. Some overzealous link builders try to make link exchanges with other websites that are not related to their niche. If you plan on going this route then try partnering with niche-related websites. These does not only provide you with good quality links but also helps you establish personal relationships with your peers.

5. Creating Social Profiles for Links

Setting up a social profile and creating a link to your website is quite easy. There are quite a number of services that could do this for you and all you have to do is to give them your personal details and website. If you’re gunning for sheer numbers then this is the way to go. But the links provided by social networks is still suspect and could actually have a negative effect on your website’s rankings.

6. Focusing on Dofollow Links

A majority of webmasters requesting link building services will only accept Dofollow links. But this could also send a red flag to the guys at Google that you’re focusing too much on your link building efforts. Diversifying your inbound link profile does not only mean using a variety of anchor text but combining dofollow and nofollow links.

7. Social Bookmarking Submissions

Social bookmarking is not an entirely bad idea. There is quite a number of software that could easily post your link with little or no supervision. Again, with Google’s drive towards quality having links from these places is like parking your car in a bad neighborhood and waiting for something bad to happen.

Unnatural Activity Of Twitter Gives You Penalty Like Panda, Penguin In Future!

Twitter PenaltySocial Media Optimization (SMO) is now forcefully using in corporate world. And People are addicted to Social Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and etc.

But here I am talking about Twitter. There are millions of people using Twitter everyday to get traffic, find friends, build network and also for good Business. Daily I am also using Twitter but when I am seeing some people’s activity on Twitter don’t mind but they looks like spammer. I have number of reason why they are spammer and few of reason I am sharing here. If you will not Follow this reason you will get amazing result in social media.

I thought that Social Media Platform will take step against spammers as recently Google has take big steps against seo spammers.

List of Spamming Technique in Twitter

Direct Message:

When I follow someone immediately I got DM that “thanks for follow” also something marketing message that “download free song” or something else. But I personally think that when you automated something then it’s a first bad sign of social media.

You can send that person DM but not in automated way wait for sometime and manually start process. Social Media platform helps us to make relationship. Remember one thing that treat social media as your child baby always you will get success.

Auto Follow:

There are number of Twitter Profile which has number of followers but most of profile has increase followers through different tools. Use tools are not bad things but use tools for increase Twitter followers are really bad things. Its looks like you are doing social media as aggressive link building.

My advice is that follower’s ratio must be 1:1.

“Hashtag” is Black Hat Command

If you are using Hashtag in limited use then it is white hat command but using it twice or more in tweets it’s definitely spamming.

Example of Spamming Tweets:

“Good SEO Tips – goo.gl/is579t #seo #tips #india #linkbuilding“

I thought that it’s definitely spamming. If you are thinking that number of persons will follow you so I’m Sorry. It’s your wrong thinking. A best tip is that your tweets will be short, descriptive and with limited Hashtag so people will follow you.

Tweeting Fake Jokes, Quotes in Corporate Twitter Account:

Sometimes I am watching in Twitter that some big automobile company tweets some joke our love quotes in his company Twitter account. He thought that if he posted this type of tweets and people will follow him. But I will give you advise that when you will post this type of tweets so 100% your followers count will reduce.

Post only relevant thing in Professional Twitter Account.

Shooting Bulk Tweets:

If you are shooting 15 Tweets from Air Gun at the same moment what will happen? If you are thinking that this type of activity make people live in your profile so you are doing wrong thinking. But it will kill people. People will unfollow you.

I recommend to all Twitter lovers that do activity on Twitter with love is good for all but if you doing activity aggressive its really headache and looks like you are spammer.

Google Penguin Update: How You Can Survive?

Google PenguinWebmasters and Bloggers have not even finished wiping their tears because of the recent Google Panda effect, I guess now it is time for them to buy two hand kerchiefs. Google has introduced another new update for so-called better search results and they named it as “Penguin”. I guess only Google can make me hate/love these animals without knowing much about them. Google Penguin update targeted at webspam.

They have clearly mentioned that the change will decrease rankings for sites that violates Google’s existing quality guidelines. We have elaborated some existing guidelines and other essentials tips to survive Google Penguin update. You can see them below and if you have any issues, feel free to comment using the comment form below the article.

1. Avoid Hidden Text or Hidden Links on your Blog

Ok, to make it more simple, if you present text, link or any information to search engines differently than to visitors, then they are called as Hidden Text or Hidden Link. That is a bad practice and your site could be easily penalized for that. Normally people use CSS to make them as small as possible. Some even make the font size smaller directly.

Things You Should Avoid:

  • Using white text on a white background.
  • Including text behind an image
  • Using CSS to hide text
  • Setting the font size to 0

2. Use Good Keyword Density On Your Blog Posts

If you want to write SEO Rich Posts then you need to concentrate on your Keyword Density. If it is not proper then you’ll end up messing your entire blog post.

Google Toolbar - Keyword Density

What is Keyword Density?

Keyword density is a measure of how often a keyword or keyword phrase is used in your web page. Also Google uses this to determine how relevant your web site is in a search. The standard keyword density will help your website to achieve higher search engine positions.

You can use Google Toolbar to analyze Keyword Density. Normally you should have 3% to 4% Keyword Density, but try to make it around 2% for better results.

3. Avoid Keyword Stuffing/Cloaking/Spamming

Keyword Stuffing is another unethical SEO practice done by some webmasters using keywords. They use more than enough keywords inside the post to get more exposure in search engines, but actually they won’t. Search engines like Google can easily identify such practices and thus resulting in penalization. Even you might have accidentally used more keywords inside your blog post, so it is better to proofread them before publishing.

You can refer the above tip (#2) about Keyword Density, maintain that to keep your post clean. Also don’t use irrelevant keywords inside your post. The keywords you mention should be related to your blog post in one way or another.

4. Don’t send automated queries to Google

You should not send automated queries to any search engine. People normally use some sort of software to automate such queries thinking that it will result in Good SEO.

Taken from Google Webmaster Tools [Content Guidelines]

Google’s Terms of Service do not allow the sending of automated queries of any sort to our system without express permission in advance from Google. Sending automated queries absorbs resources and includes using any software (such as WebPosition Gold™) to send automated queries to Google to determine how a website or webpage ranks in Google search results for various queries.

You should not make your blog work with unauthorized computer programs to submit pages, check rankings, analyze, etc.

5. Avoid Duplicate Content: Multiple pages, Subdomains, or domains

If you want to prevent your blog from becoming a scrapper site then you should avoid duplicate content.

What Could Also Be Duplicate Content

  • Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices.
  • Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs.
  • Printer-only versions of web pages

To avoid these issues you can indicate your preferred URL to Google by Canonicalization. You can also minimize similar content and use 301 redirects to avoid this issue. Also don’t forget to tell Google (via Webmaster Tools) how you want your site to be indexed, like http://www.hellboundbloggers.com or https://hellboundbloggers.com (example).

Also if you are accepting guest posts then check whether they are genuine or copied posts.

6. Don’t create Pages with Malicious Behavior

Malicious Behavior in the sense, it could include phishing or installing viruses (check Symptoms of Virus), trojans, or other badware which potentially harms search engines and your visitor’s computer. Google hates it and penalizes it without further action.

Suppose if you have a page with pop ups and scripts that could install any harmful software with or without permission into your visitor’s computer, then that could be a bad strategy and you should delete those pages before Google does something to your site.

7. Don’t Use Doorway Pages To Impress Search Engines

Some webmasters create poor quality pages for targeting specific keyword or phrase. They are often called as “Doorway Pages”. Normally such pages frustrate users and also funnels them to a single destination using cloaking or some other black hat SEO techniques. It violates Webmaster Guidelines.

Doorway pages normally have Auto-generated content or scrapped content and are not essential for any kind of users.

Doorway pages are web pages that are created for spamdexing, this is, for spamming the index of a search engine by inserting results for particular phrases with the purpose of sending visitors to a different page. They are also known as bridge pages, portal pages, jump pages, gateway pages, entry pages and by other names. Doorway pages that redirect visitors without their knowledge use some form of cloaking. (via Wikipedia)

8. Avoid Affiliate Marketing Until You Have Good Content

They also want your site to have good and original content if you want to participate in Affiliate Marketing. Your blog should not have scrap content and also auto-generated content (which auto blogs normally does).

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. (via Wikipedia)

Your site should have enough promising content for your readers to consider the Affiliate products from your site. If your site is not yet for Affiliate Marketing or your site has no valuable readers, then you can quit it and try some other SEO strategies for making money with your blog.

9. Avoid Black Hat Link Building Techniques

This Google Penguin update is mostly targeted at Webspam, so that they can reward high quality websites. So I guess they’ll be penalizing links and sites which affects or differs from the context of the main page. So before you build links for your blog, check the quality of the link partners.

Earlier Google penalized blog networks and gave a penalty to non-contextual backlinks, so you need to be very careful about link building. Don’t forget your Article Linking Strategy should not distract readers. Penguin will affect your Backlinking Strategy if you are not playing it well.

You should also consider Organic Link Building, it will help you get wider search engine exposure and drive targeted traffic to your business. An organic link is a link from someone else’s site with or without an explicit agreement to exchange links.

Some Decent Link Building Tips:

  • 5 Essential Ways To Build Links For Your Blog
  • 11 Super Cool Myths of Link Building Busted

10. Avoid Buying/Using Cheap SEO Services

Bad and Cheap SEO services normally give you black hat search engine optimization for your site which is against Google’s Policy for better results. They will have poor link building services and it will result in excess backlinks.

Usually they’ll have packages which includes excess do-follow links, Wikipedia links, .edu backlinks, etc for less price. But the results are not worth it. To be frank, you don’t need to rely on such SEO services if you can manage some time and apply basic SEO tips. If you end up with bad SEO Mistakes then it is hard to recover.

Learn More Here : Why You Need To Be Careful While Going For Cheap SEO Services


Google Penguin Update: Feedback/Recovery Form

If you think your site was affected by the “Penguin” webspam algorithm update on April 24th, 2012, (P.S. you can check your Google Analytics stats for reference) and you feel that your site should not been affected, you can fill out this form to inform Google it is a mistake.

You can also checkout Google Webmaster Tools – Reconsideration Request if you feel Google is not indexing or considering your site properly.

If your Site Traffic is going down because of Panda, then check these:

  • Google Panda Penalty: Why Your Site Traffic Is Going Down
  • Top 3 Ways Blogs Can Fight Google Panda Update
  • 3 Off-Page SEO Techniques Killed By Google Panda

Are you affected by this Google Penguin Update? What are the steps you have taken for this? Kindly share your experience in the comments below.