Lots of action in the digital marketing world this week as Pubcon wrapped up and Google announced enough changes to keep us all on our toes – again. Don’t dare to think you can ever get comfortable. So what is changing and what does it mean to you as a marketer? Let’s break down the news around Google’s “disavow links” tool, and the buzzword of Pubcon, Authorship.
Google’s new Disavow Links – comes with cautions
In the wake of the multitude of updates Google has made to the way in which it ranks pages in correlation with its ever-changing definition of what constitutes a low-quality site, the head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutts, announced on Tuesday that Google has launched a new “disavow links” tool.
1. What does it do?
Simply it allows you to remove the low-quality links you identify from your site in one fell swoop. But you don’t want to accidentally disavow ALL your links, so make sure you know what you’re doing and make the effort to do this manually first.
2. Who needs this tool?
This tool can be highly useful for those sites that were negatively impacted by Google’s Penguin update. While Google has been trying to fight web spam for many years the Penguin update most notably cracked down on link schemes and low-quality links to be used as determining factors in identifying and penalizing spammy sites. Those who were negatively affected in this post-Penguin era had to try to remove these low-quality links manually by contacting the linked site and asking them to basically ‘stop pointing to my website’ – not always effective. Now Google is posing a solution. SEOmoz did a good job of breaking down Who Should Use It here.
3. How do we use it?
The Disavow Links tool can be found in Webmaster Tools once you log into your Sites account. If you believe that your site’s ranking has been harmed by low-quality links you can use the Disavow Links tool to ask Google to not take these links into account when they are assessing and thus ranking your site. The process itself as described by Cutts seems pretty self-explanatory: for single URL considerations you create a text file, one URL per line and upload that file. You can however also disavow links by domain and thus ignore all links from that domain. However, as Cutts stated, and the whole digital world is echoing, use the Disavow Link tool with caution as it is not for all sites.
This tool should be used only by those who know what they are doing — It could potentially disavow every link going to your site. Cutts stressed the importance of trying to remove any negative links manually first – before you use this tool.
Another announcement made at PubCon surrounded the topic of AuthorRank and the importance of creating an online authority through your authorship. Outsourcing low quality article creation and spinning those articles will no longer get you anywhere. At least not where you want to go. Now the actual author of those articles and the online authority she or he has is of the utmost importance – it matters for links and for rankings.
Bottom line: It boils down to creating great content and the content being generated by someone who is an authority on that topic. (What a concept!)
Since AuthorRank is now so important , here’s how Stephan Spencer explains you set it up:
1. With a verified email: If you have an email address on the same domain as your content, you can go to plus.google.com/authorship to verify it.
2. Without a verified email: If can’t verify an email address on the same domain (say if you’re a contributor to a website but don’t have a websites email address) you can still link your content to your Google+.
Google is evolving and continually finding new ways in which it can weed out the low-quality sites and bring the best search results to searchers.
So AuthorRank now measures the authority of your content based on the authority of the writer. Writers with high reputation scores will rank better. This is similar to the way PageRank measures the authority of the page. Articles written by authors with high reputation scores will rank better than articles written by authors with lower scores.
The bottom line: invest in content creation and your experts and make it a priority. Either create your experts in house or pay “real money” for an established expert. Do not outsource and spin those articles but rather focus on creating an authoritative authorship and quality content which people will want to read.
What do you think about the new disavow links tool?
How ready is your organization to address the new Authorship issues?