Ok ok there are already dozens of these articles around the internet and most of them are very good. Can you really get in on the already congested idea? Well yes, thanks to the recent disavow tool from Google.

For those who don’t know what I am talking about, let’s go back to the beginning. In fact, lets go right back the the very basics of SEO (seasoned SEO’s can skip this bit, theres nothing you won’t already know and be patronised by). Since the very start we’ve known that to get noticed by Google, you need other websites to link to you. This has led to a whole industry of spam links, paid links, link networks and various other forms of black hat SEO. There are good links, which will significantly boost your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), and there are crap links that have little or no impact. The trouble is that the crap links significantly out number the good ones. To try and combat this, Google launched the Penguin update a few months ago.

The basics of the Penguin update are simple. If you have a large number of spammy links to your website, you will get penalised in SERPs. Websites that had previously had a lot of success suddenly found themselves to be completely invisible on the internet (partly their own fault for putting all their eggs in one basket). Whilst this was good news for the white hat SEO, it also opened up a new door for the black hat; NEGATIVE SEO! Simply get a lot of spammy links to appear over night pointing to a competitor’s website and watch them disappear off the radar. This is a serious problem that has led to Google launching the disavow tool.

The details of the disavow tool can be found here. Basically, you can ask google not to take certain links into account when assessing your site. Surely this is a good thing for the honest webmaster? Well yes, well kinda.

It is possible for a new problem to arise, and now some could argue that it is easier to damage a website. So if you get a link from a website you do not like, you can disavow it and Google will not consider it. But if you you get several guest posts on a blog, all pointing to different websites (all of them yours), you can then disavow all of them and make the honest website look like part of a spam network to google. This article can go into more detail about how it works. You could even pay other people to disavow links on your behalf, an investment that could easily pay off in the long term.

So, how can we protect ourselves against this? Well that’s up to you to decide. Be quick though. Soon the internet will be buzzing with this sort of article. Get in there quickly and target your article at the right people and you could be on to a winner.