If I was better at photo shop I would have given this guy a little black hat.
Yesterday parties were thrown in SEO agencies across the world. Local stores probably ran out of chips, salsa, and alcoholic beverages as a result of Matt Cutts’ little announcement. A link disavow tool! Finally! No more writing emails to webmasters that don’t speak English. No more DMCA take down requests. Indeed it seemed like the life of the average SEO got a lot easier.
Hold Up, Wait a Minute
But not so fast. Every coin has two sides just like… every Harvey Dent has two faces – or something. I hate to rain on this fun drunken parade but there is an obvious downside to all of this link disavowing.
Oh Black Hattery!
The people partying the hardest last night have to be the black hat SEO’s. I am not talking about the people who are simply doing poor SEO. All those directory submissions don’t need to be disavowed. They aren’t hurting you, they just aren’t helping you like they used to. Besides everyone did that stuff back in the day because it worked and why not? No, I’m not talking about these people.
I am talking about the people that are still trying to game the system. No matter what the context, manipulation is always a dirty word. We have all done bad SEO. But there is a big difference between doing it out of ignorance and intentionally and maliciously doing it. These people are the true black hats.
So why are the black hats celebrating? Because Google has essentially given them a get out of jail free card.
Click to Tweet – Got caught doing naughty SEO. Don’t worry. Disavow. – Click to Tweet
Seriously guys, you know that there are people out there who were immediately thinking this as soon as they heard the announcement. Now they can try what every spammy tactic their twisted brains can concoct and as soon as Google finds out – Whoops! Disavow! When the consequences are gone there is no incentive to be good.
The sad thing is that this new black hat freedom will probably hurt some legitimate businesses. New tricks will push spam sites to the top of SERP’s. At least for a while. Black hats can only stay one swing ahead of the sword for so long. Good SEO and quality business will win in the long run. But only if they can survive long enough.
I am not saying that releasing the tool was not the right thing to do. I already mentioned how there was a lot of spam going on in the early days before it was spam. A lot of sites are so bogged down with this junk that some webmasters have just given up and started over. Laws cannot be retroactive. If my six-month-old son decides to drool on the remote control it would not be ethical for me to punish him for it when he turns 16. Unfortunately the nature of the web means that some websites are getting punished for things that were done before they were bad.
Google is absolutely right and justified in releasing this tool. And all SEO’s have reason to rejoice. But as we party lets us remember that the war isn’t over. This tool will go a long way toward making the web a healthier place to do business but there are still people out there who will clog it up with disease.
The web is a vast land of spam. General Matt Cutts and his legion of spam slammers have a daunting task that will likely never end. It’s probably like trying to put out the fires of hell with nothing but your own bodily fluids. Yes, I meant urine.
But hey, with enough people and enough fluids you can put out any fire. The only way that we are going to eliminate black hat spam is if we as an SEO community exercise some positive peer pressure. Come on guys let’s help Matt. Google is not an enemy. It is our biggest ally against malicious SERP invaders.
Take the Pledge
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me? Somewhere beyond the glut of spam is there a world you long to see?
Take the pledge. Click to tweet and spread the message.
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