Disavow: Getting Out of the Mess We Made & Advice for Starting Fresh
And Google said: “Let there be links.”
And the SEM world saw the links and the links were good.
But then, the SEOs partook of the knowledge and understood how to game the system. And they built up a great and terrible web of links through the power of dark forces.
And Google said I will strike them all down with a flood of penalties. Yet I will spare those who are willing to do good and give them a tool to help rebuild and start fresh. The tool will be called Disavow.
Where the story goes from here is up to you and me.
Can the SEO world resist the temptation to turn this tool into the next force for undue manipulation?
Every time Google introduces a powerful tool to the search world, it’s used inappropriately. Pulled into link farms, supporting content mills, unwilling businesses were made victims, their fault a product of their innocence. Their naive trust placed in those who promise a paradise of first-page rankings.
It’s time to put a stop to the SEO dark arts and take back the reputation deserving well-doing SEOs. We have a responsibility to the business community to perform within the standards of ethics and professionalism. And we have a responsibility to ourselves and our peers to show some respect to our profession and our own standards of excellence.
Why Manipulative SEO Hurts
- It harms your personal long-term success. There is no manipulative practice that the search engines will not eventually try to eradicate. When that time comes, repairing the site’s reputation will require a lot of work and cleanup, if it’s salvageable at all. Expect to lose a lot of money in the meantime.
- It soils the SEO community’s reputation. As an unfortunate result, SEO shy businesses will miss out on massive marketing opportunities. Consider all the people whose livelihoods would improve by effectively marketing their business to new audiences online and growing a community of loyal customers.
What Can Be Done to Discourage It Within the Industry
- Speak up and out against manipulation and shady dealings. When you’re part of community discussions, represent ethical SEO interests. It goes without saying, but if you come across as judgmental or goody-goody, you may end up blacklisted from the fun conversations. And that’s no fun for you and no help to the cause. Enjoy the industry discourse from all sides of the debate.
- More importantly, share stories, both successes and failures. This is how change is affected from the inside, demonstrating wins gained from creative content marketing and diligent SEO.
What Can Be Done to Discourage (Unknowing) Support Outside the Industry
- Be an educator! Have authoritative educational resources explaining what SEO is and is not. Include it in the info prepared for new and prospective clients. We engage all incoming clients in SEO training.
- Promote holistic Internet marketing strategies that build brand. If you’re publishing great content on social accounts, a blog, the website and more, your success doesn’t rise and fall on your search traffic. Your strategy should focus on creating purposeful unified orchestration of brand messaging across channels.
The Next Chapter
With Disavow Google has given webmasters a chance at a clean slate. It’s the answer we’ve all been asking for. Don’t ruin it. Don’t game it. For instance, don’t use Disavow to point to competitors as an indicator of a low-quality, uncooperative site, because in that scenario, that would be you. Respect the tools Google has provided and the opportunity to salvage what could have been a burned domain.
With the fresh start, evaluate what’s really important and get to it. Remember this primary commandment of ethical SEO: if the goal of a tactic isn’t “to improve a site’s user experience,” don’t do it.