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Cutting out poor SEO links with new Google tools

10/18/2012 | Internet hosting |

With the efforts being made by Google recently to combat poor-quality sites appearing in its results, it might be the case you've been caught out by updates such as Penguin and Panda that are designed to filter out spam. Obviously, if you've been focusing closely on your search engine optimisation (SEO) activities and making sure you meet best-practice guidelines, this shouldn't be an issue. But it could be the case there are circumstances beyond your control that could be harming your results.

Link building might be one of them. It's been true for a long time that one of the most reliable ways to improve your PageRank is to have a high number of high-quality links to your site on other domains. But as this solution is so well-known, it has become a favoured tactic of spammers to populate pages with links in order to boost their PageRank. Google has spent a long time trying to fight this with improved algorithms and manual action. However, it may be the case you've been caught up in this - whether by accident or through remnants of previous bad SEO practice. You can find this out if you're getting messages in Google Webmaster Tools about unnatural links to your site.

While the best way to deal with this is to try and remove these links, it might not be possible to do this on any domains outside your control. Therefore, in the past it may have been tricky for you to remedy any links being flagged as an issue by Google. Happily, there is now a solution for advanced webmasters, called Disavow Links. This allows you to request that Google doesn't take these links into account when assessing your PageRank. It's available now as an option in Google Webmaster Tools. Google stated on its Webmaster Central blog that the vast majority of sites shouldn't need to use this tool, but if you've been getting messages about poor-quality links to your site that you think you can't do anything about, it could be an invaluable way to improve your SEO.

However, the search engine has warned this is an advanced tool and recommended that only webmasters who are fully confident about the need to disavow links use it.

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