Search engine manipulation has always been a thorn in the eyes of search engine operators such as Google or Microsoft. Gaming the system, to increase the rank of a website in the search engines for a specific keyword, is a lucrative field, and while it has become more difficulty to do so, there is a whole industry for exactly that purpose.
One of the latest buzz-words is negative SEO. It stands for a technique that aims at the reverse the effect of optimizations. The goal here is to make search engines believe that a website or domain is trying to game the system, which is a stark contrast to pushing a client site to the top. It should be clear that when sites get pushed down or thrown out of the search engine, that other websites climb up to fill that gap.
For years, Google has claimed that third party influence can't hurt the rankings of websites, and for the same time webmasters believed the opposite to be true. Google's Penguin update for instance is an algorithmic change that can penalize projects for participating in link schemes. And exactly this is exploited by negative SEO. Just buy a million links for five Dollars at Fiver, or spend more money to add a competitors site to known link networks to hurt their rankings in the long run.
Google expects webmasters to monitor and react on that, which in itself is pretty ridiculous. Even worse, the company after all this years has still not added an option into the Webmaster Tools to disavow links.
Why I'm explaining all of this in detail? Because Bing a few days ago announced that they have added options to disavow links to the Bing Webmaster Tools.
Today we’re announcing the Disavow Links feature in Bing Webmaster Tools. Use the Disavow Links tool to submit page, directory, or domain URLs that may contain links to your site that seem "unnatural" or appear to be from spam or low quality sites. This new feature can be easily found in the Configure Your Site section of the navigation.
You, or someone else, still have to monitor the links a site gets regularly to make sure that you catch them as soon as possible. But even if you do not, you now have an option to elegantly tell Bing that you have no affiliation with those links, that you consider them low-quality or spam, and that you do not want them to count (in a positive or negative way).
Great step in the right direction if you ask me. It is rumored that Google in the next months or so will add a disavow link of their own to their Webmaster Tools.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.