Google have been looking to improve their Webmaster tools for a good long while now and it seems like they’re maybe doing too much. Before certain changes were made, if you received a penalty from Google, then you would be told that you have a penalty, but not why.
This issue grew to prominence in the aftermath of the Penguin update. As penguin targeted bad links, and a lot of people had been engaging in bad link practices (not always intentionally and maliciously), there was a big rise in people getting link penalties. Sounds good. Google doing their job, cracking down on spam.
But this wasn’t the case. A lot of people were upset with Google as they thought they had been link building naturally, and found it unfair that Google would now tell them that some of their links had the site penalised. But they wouldn’t tell you exactly which links.
They eventually realised that this was in fact a little unfair and decided to offer more help with this by providing example bad links. This in theory is great as it will tell you exactly where you went wrong with your SEO and through finding this out, you can then apply a fix to your website.
However, there’s been a post recently in the webmaster forums that has caused some controversy. A forum poster recently received a link that they had previously disavowed as an example bad link from Google. As we all know disavowed links shouldn’t be taken into account by Google. So what were they doing sending a link they shouldn’t be regarding, as an example bad link?
Some theorists say that Google still take into account links that you’ve built in the past, even if they are in the disavow section. Seems a bit unfair doesn’t it. Almost as if you’re getting tarred with the same brush as black hat SEOs.
My theory however is that a bad link is a bank link regardless of whether or not you’ve disavowed the link or not. If you have disavowed links and received a link back from Google, I think that what Google is saying is that you will have more of these types of links that you need to remove. After all, the link is only an example. So look at the type of link you receive, analyse it, find out why it breaks Google’s guidelines, and then find the rest of the links to your site that match the same profile.
Blog Post by: Greg McVey