Friday, 13 July 2012

Tip To Disavow Links In Google - 404 Target Page

We had recently seen the news about the disavow links tool that Bing webmaster tools had come up with, we also heard the news that Google will soon come up with the same tool in their webmaster tools.But until then, webmasters who feel that their websites or web pages have been penalized due to bad links pointing towards them can go for another solution.This alternative to disavowing links in Google can apply to those webmasters or bloggers whose sites have been penalized due to a large amount of unnatural links to a certain page of the site.

Disavow Links In Google

In this situation, John Mueller (employee at Google) had this to say at a webmaster help forum -
In general, if you remove the page that is being linked to (such as a spammy forum thread) and make sure that it returns a 404/410 HTTP response code, we'll ignore the links to those pages. If these links are primarily pointing at threads that you've removed, then there's no need to move the whole forum to a new URL. If you find that there's a significant number of problematic links that you can't remove which are linking to general parts of your forum (eg the forum homepage), moving the forum to a different URL might be a possibility (but I'd only recommend doing that if you're absolutely sure that these links are causing problems -- we're pretty good at ignoring spammy links). If you choose to move the forum, then StevieD has some good suggestions on how that could be done (make sure that your 404 page is useful to users too).
He basically says that, if you have a bad page which does not have too much importance on your site, you are better off removing it and returning a 404 when the URL of that page has been accessed.But you cannot exactly do that if the page with bad links is your homepage, can you?

For that situation, John recommends a 301 redirect to a new address, although, he feels that this is a last ditch effort that should be made to improve the SEO of the site.He recommends you do this only if you are sure that your blog or site has been affected drastically due to the bad links coming from some unfriendly neighborhoods.

In the instance that some of your sub-directories are hurt by bad links, then you can always move the sub-directories to a new URL.

I would recommend you to wait it out until the Google disavow tool come about as doing any of the above procedures wrongly can bring down your SERP ratings and hence your traffic.

So what do you guys think about this trick to disavow links? Would you risk using it? Leave a comment, all comments are welcome!
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Gautham A S

Gautham A S is a personal tech columnist and blogging expert at TechGau.Org, one of the leading Tech, How-To and Blogging Tips blogs in the world..