Links are good, right?
Yes. Except for when they aren’t.
Search engines like to see links pointing in towards your website. It boosts their confidence in your site and helps your SEO. The problem is, sometimes spammy or low quality sites link to your site, and that’s not going to help your SEO at all. It may even hurt it.
Google’s solution is to contact those sites and ask them to remove their link pointing to your site. Theoretically, it’s not a bad idea. In practice, your email could very well be ignored. Also, trying to hunt down and email every low quality site pointing links towards your site is time consuming. And boring. You probably have better things to do with your time, like update your plug-ins or write a new blog post.
The ideal solution would be for search engines to allow sites to remove the links themselves, in a manner of speaking. The original link would still be there, but it wouldn’t count towards (or against) your website’s SEO. The ability to disavow links is something that SEO specialists and other interested parties have discussed for years. It’d be a huge step forward in having more control over your own site.
Everyone was waiting for Google to announce the feature. Surely someone at Google had to see what a great idea this feature would be for websites. Except, that’s not what happened.
Bing announced the feature earlier this week, and now a lot of people are wondering what changes, if any, this brings to the SEO game. Bing doesn’t seem to count spammy inbound links against a site, so the big question is this: why would we spend time disavowing all of these links?
There are a few different answers. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of erasing the impact of having low quality sites pointing towards your domain. This is the obvious answer. But, there are also times when it can be used to clear up a history of questionable SEO practices. This allows you to distance yourself from past attempts at paid link building.
Bing’s answer was this: They want to give webmasters the opportunity to state their intent where incoming links are concerned. In other words, if you’re concentrating on building good links (and minimizing bad ones), they want to see that. On the other hand, if it seems like your website is generating a lot of spammy inbound links, they want to see that, too. It’ll indicate to them that they might need to take a closer look at your website.
Is this a huge game changer? Not yet, but if other search engines catch on (namely, Google) and start offering similar features, it could start a change in search where webmasters have even more control over how outside sources affect their site’s SEO. And that has the potential to make a big difference in the world of search.
Do you have any incoming links to your site that you’d like to erase? Will you be giving Bing’s new link disavow service a try?