Google’s recent Penguin update targeted websites that had links pointing from sketchy internet neighborhoods. Does your law firm have a link which points traffic to it from a website advertising paid links? Is it in a directory that you can only get listed in by exchanging a link or paying a fee? Those links now work against your law firm’s ranking in Google.
As news about Penguin’s targeting spread, some website owners cried foul, claiming that not all websites linking to them were doing so by any fault or action of their own. Others, like SEO | Law Firm, at first cheered on Google Penguin, and, in a piece featured in Bigger Law Firm magazine, even said Google Penguin didn’t go far enough.
But the Penguin changes put link building squarely front-and-center. It also gave website owners (like your law firm) one more thing to worry about. Google’s terms clearly state that a website owner is responsible for all the activity relating to or marketing their website. If you hired what turned out to be an unethical search engine marketing company, Google essentially has said that its on you.
The good news? Google has just announced their Disavow Links tool. Basically, you go into Google Webmaster Tools, locate all of your spammy inbound links – the ones that you either didn’t approve of or that the poorly chosen SEO hire from your past created for you. Then, you upload all of those URLs into a text file and ask Google to disavow those links on your behalf. If your site was being punished for having one of those links, disavowing the link may help restore your credibility with Google.
Google is not the first search engine to offer such a tool. In July, Bing offered a similar tool as part of their webmaster’s dashboard to help reduce link spam.
The Disavow Links tool is a helpful way to repair mistakes made in the past (either willingly or inadvertently), and a way to get your punished website on a path to recovery.
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