Weekly SEO news: 10 September 2013
Welcome to the latest issue of the Search Engine Facts newsletter.

Using Google's link disavow tool can have a negative influence on the Google rankings of your website. If you plan to disavow backlinks in bulk you might want to reconsider your strategy.

In the news: Most websites haven't recovered from Google's Penguin update, Google's new keyword tool seems fishy to some, there might have been a Google algorithm update, authorship doesn't influence rankings, and more.

Table of contents:

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Best regards,
Andre Voget, Johannes Selbach, Axandra CEO

1. Official Google information: the disavow backlinks tool can harm your website
Using Google's link disavow tool can have a negative influence on the Google rankings of your website. If you plan to disavow backlinks in bulk you might want to reconsider your strategy.

Google Disavow Links tool

Google confirms that the disavow backlink tool can be harmful

When Google released the disavow links tool about one year ago, Google's Matt Cutts said that you should be careful with the tool:

"It’s something where it is possible, in the process of telling Google to ignore links to your site, to make mistakes. So I would approach it with caution. I wouldn’t just jump in."

Last week, Eric Kuan, member of Google's web spam team, confirmed that the link disavow tool can hurt the rankings of your website:

"The disavow backlinks tool should be used with caution since it can potentially harm your site's performance.

However, if you see a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links point to your site, and you're confident that the links are causing issues for your site, you can use the disavow tool to disavow those links. In most cases, Google can assess which links to trust without additional guidance, so most normal or typical sites will not need to use this tool."

In other words: using the disavow backlinks tool is an indicator that there's something fishy about your website and it can happen that you disavow good backlinks that help your website.

Think twice before using the disavow backlinks tool

As Google's Eric Kuan said above: "Google can assess which links to trust without additional guidance," so there is no need to inform Google about low quality backlinks.

By using Google’s disavow links tool, you show Google several things:

  • You know that your website has low quality backlinks.
  • You are actively using SEO methods to promote your website.
  • You know that some of these methods might be spammy.

Some people think that using the disavow tool might be seen as admission of guilt. If you want to tell Google that you are (or have been) a spammer, then the disavow links tool might be a good way to do so.

Of course, it is a good idea to use the disavow backlinks tool if you actually did spam Google in the past.

There are better ways to invest your time

If you did not use spammy methods in the past, there are better ways to invest your time than cleaning up old links. Instead of working with old links, concentrate on getting new backlinks.

Investing your time in new high quality backlinks will have a much bigger impact on the rankings of your website on Google.

Among many other things, SEOprofiler offers powerful tools that help you to get high quality backlinks to your website. SEOprofiler only uses spam-free search engine optimization methods that play by the rules.

If you haven't done it yet, create your SEOprofiler account now:

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2. Search engine news and articles of the wee

Only 7% claim full recovery from Google's Penguin 2.0 update

"I wanted to share the results from our June poll asking how many of you recovered from the Penguin 2.0 update.

We had over 600 responses to the poll and 68% said they did not recover, why 17% said they partially recovered and 7% said they fully recovered. 8% said it did not apply to them."

Editor's note: as mentioned in our article above, disavowing your bad backlinks won't help your website much. Avoid spammy tools, concentrate on good backlinks and your website will get the high rankings it deserves.

Local searchLocal Search: why it’s not working
"While the concept is fantastic, it hasn’t taken off for a few reasons. First, the apps are not user friendly. Checking-in and starting conversations with other users should be easy tasks, but that’s not the case. [...]

Local search has been in a rut long enough, and someone (Babberly, LocalUncle, LocalMind or someone else) needs to lead the way."

Jonathon Fletcher: forgotten father of the search engine

"Mr Fletcher invented the world's first web-crawling search engine - the very technology that powers Google, Bing, Yahoo and all the major search tools on the web today. [...]

Mr Fletcher called his invention JumpStation. He put together an index of pages which could then be searched by a web crawler, essentially an automated process that visits, and indexes, every link on every web page it comes across. The process continues until the crawler runs out of things to visit."

StatisticsSomething's fishy in the state of Google's new keyword tool

"When we consider what to make of all this, a cynical view would point out that if a key Google objective in rolling out a new keyword tool is increasing revenue by driving up search volume so advertisers would be compelled to spend more and CPC increases are more easily justified, then, mission accomplished.

The cynic might further point out that one way of viewing the skew in % increase of search volume to high volume vs. low volume terms is that if Google set out to increase revenue, they likely focused on increasing those terms that would have the highest return on investment while paying less attention to lower ROI terms. A purely cynical take on things, but worth pointing out.

Even if we are not quite that cynical, given the percentage of keywords going down or staying the same rather than going up as we’d expect, together with the anomalies of keywords whose search volumes changed significantly, (a small sample of which we showed you) it certainly seems like there is more going on than just Google adding mobile search volume."

Another Google algorithm update?

"During the last few days, many webmasters have observed major changes in Google’s search results. Google officials say that they have nothing to announce but that does not mean that there wasn’t an algorithm update. Have you seen unexpected changes in your Google rankings?

Google might be testing new algorithms for an upcoming official algorithm update."

Does Google’s authorship integration affect search rankings?
"It would not be a big surprise if Google was using information from Google author profiles to influence how pages rank in searches, but as yet there is no evidence to show a correlation between author profiles and better ranking URLs."

Search engine newslets

  • Google says that a DMOZ.org link is unnatural (by mistake).
  • Yahoo has a new logo (already available in SEOprofiler).
  • Bing announces video search improvements.
  • Video: Does Google take action on automatically generated pages that provide no added value? Answer: They're trying.
  • Local Corporation provides location-based product data for Microsoft’s Bing.
  • Bing News now showing trending topics from Facebook and Twitter.
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3. Recommended resources

How to get a website health-check quickly and easily

Doing a regular audit of your web pages is important if you want to make sure that search engines can index all of your pages. The more pages your website has, the more likely it is that there are many errors that have to be corrected.

The website audit tool in SEOprofiler automatically checks your web pages once per week. Then you get a report that shows all the issues that should be corrected. By correcting these issues, you make sure that search engines can index all of your pages correctly. Here’s a screenshot of the overview page:

SEO website audit

You can get the website audit tool and all other tools in SEOprofiler for our special offer price:

Free trial Test full version for $1

Create a free trial account now or test the full version for only $1.

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