Oct. 17, 2012 at 1:32 PM ET
If you've got a website and a serious problem with spam links leading to your domain, Google is adding a tool to "disavow" those links.
Google's Jonathan Simon announced the addition in a blog posting, saying the tool is meant for those with a persistent spam problem on their sites, where "if you've done as much as you can to remove the problematic links, and there are still some links you just can’t seem to get down."
Search competitor Bing launched the same kind of tool in early summer.
"Thank you. Finally!" posted one commenter on Google's blog posting. "We have bad links that we did not ask for and despite many, many emails could not get removed. This is great news."
Simon writes that if "you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on 'unnatural links' pointing to your site, this tool can help you address the issue. If you haven’t gotten this notification, this tool generally isn’t something you need to worry about."
Why is link spam an issue? Simon explains:
If you’ve ever been caught up in linkspam, you may have seen a message in Webmaster Tools about “unnatural links” pointing to your site. We send you this message when we see evidence of paid links, link exchanges, or other link schemes that violate our quality guidelines. If you get this message, we recommend that you remove from the web as many spammy or low-quality links to your site as possible. This is the best approach because it addresses the problem at the root. By removing the bad links directly, you’re helping to prevent Google (and other search engines) from taking action again in the future. You’re also helping to protect your site’s image, since people will no longer find spammy links pointing to your site on the web and jump to conclusions about your website or business.
A good place to start looking for bad links, if you haven't is in Google's "Links to Your Site" feature in Webmaster Tools.
"This can be a great place to start your investigation, but be sure you don’t upload the entire list of links to your site — you don’t want to disavow all your links!" Simon writes.