This was way long over due. The rumors about Google bringing about a tool within the Webmaster’s Central console to filter out negative backlinks from your backlink profile is now live.
This tool will be a good bounce back tool for many SEOs who are fighting their way back from the Penguin update, where many websites got penalized for aggressive/over optimized backlinks.
Recently, I worked on an Enterprise website where it had received penalties for over optimization of backlinks and dropped out of first page rankings for a super competitive keyword. The backlink profile for the website was a disaster where more than 90% backlinks had the same anchor text and were sourced from “made for backlinks” blogs.
I tried to reach out to as many blogs as possible and take the links down but many of them did not even have a contact option. Some were shady forums and even some porn websites. It was impossible to clean up the entire profile, but we managed to clean up 5-10% of the whole bunch, but it wasn’t going to help.
Filing a reconsideration request, I received the typical automated reply from the Google team, and it was all about waiting in the hope that the website would bounce back. The website bounced back for keywords related to the main keyword but to this date, has not recovered for the main super competitive keyword.
It is in situations like this that the Disavow tool comes in handy. I have an entire list of spam backlinks, from the link audit, now I can go ahead and try filtering them out via the Webmaster’s tool.
Google warns that this tool should be used with utmost caution as it could do you harm if used without valid reason. For regular websites, you don’t need to clean up the backlink profile as Google does a good job at it. But with examples like above, where there is a huge mess to clean up (sometimes, even caused by competition), this tool would be a blessing.
It is also good to know that now webmasters needn’t worry about competition throwing negative links to your website to pull you down.
You can access the tool from Webmaster’s central. Official blog post here.