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Just when you think it’s safe to poke your head out of the window to check the algorithm weather, you get slapped in the face by a passing branch being blasted along by the seemingly constant wind of recent algorithm updates.

You can watch Matt’s video below or read the following posts to get up to speed:

Google Link Disavow Tool: The Complete Guide | DEJAN SEO

Webmaster Tools – link disavow

How to Use The Google Link Disavow Tool – Advanced Guide

Google Launches Disavow Links Tool

Now I will quickly add the disclaimer that everything we do at Red Mud Media is designed with the end user in mind. We choose the people we wish to work with very carefully based on the quality of their content, whether there are real people behind the sites and whether they have a social footprint that looks authentic. I use the term “looks” with the right intentions in mind too. If your thousands of fans do not have many friends or are geographically not the right fit, then we smell a rat, but that’s another blog post.

We will sleep relatively easily at night based on this strategy because of Matt’s response to one of the questions in the official announcement post, which suggests they are going after the real bad guys:

Q: Will most sites need to use this tool?
A: No. 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.

Should You Be Worried?

Despite Matt’s answer, the answer to this question is “Probably”. This is going to open a can of worms with many innocents being caught in the crossfire. Like us, you may have played to the rules and avoided the obvious bad stuff whilst honing your skills at producing good content with relevant contextual links etc.

What happens if one too many people panic and start removing all the safe/good links? We’ve seen it. Some clients are too afraid to request links from sites that have published their research because they fear being accused of spammy link building techniques.

So this poses a very real threat, unless of course we can take Matt for his word that the vast majority of sites needn’t bother with this tool.

What does Google mean when we are told to “disavow” low quality links? It begs the same old question that has become something of a slippery bar of soap for Google’s anti-spam team…. “How can they tell whether a link has been inserted naturally or by some form of payment exchanging hands?”

If you have held a competition, given away a holiday, or handed out free phones and you get people talking about you and linking to you… are those bad links? Not if you don’t explicitly ask for links.

The problem is, and this is nothing new, there is ALWAYS some form of “payment” taking place when sites are competing for the top terms. If you don’t “be nice” to bloggers, journalists and other likely link sources, then you better have a jaw-droppingly cool product and a huge content budget to attract links completely naturally.  Or you could just throw your CEO out of a hot air balloon from 128,000 feet and film it….. wearing Google Glass of course!

It’s not just bad SEOs, Matt!

The original SEOs, in other words PR people, have been doing this for years and will continue to do so because it works. It comes back to the same old issue of big budets vs the little guys. If you have the money, you can afford to get the best copywriters, the best creatives, the best social media “gurus” and so on.

If we take the “Google phone” incident and the message from Google that “your intentions” are the most important, then you should be relatively safe, but only relatively safe….

 

 

 

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