The Right Way to Use Google’s Disavow Links Tool
Spammy and low-quality links sent towards your site can affect how Google sees your site. You’ll be regarded as trying to gain unfair advantage and eventually get penalized.
Google doesn’t like any site associated with low-quality links. Setting these unnatural links is a tactic used by web masters themselves against other web masters. But they are saying that Google should have a way to know which links you created and which ones you didn’t. But this proves to be a difficult task, which is why they created the Disavow Links Tool.
Google warns that before using the Disavow tool, you may have already made multiple link removal requests. You can’t just pool all your links into a file and directly use the Disavow Links Tool on it. It doesn’t work this way. You have to make an effort in cleaning up unnatural links to your site. Leaving only the ones you can’t remove.
This is the best tool to use if you were hit by Penguin and if you have bad links. Please note that the step of filing a reconsideration request is required only if you’re under manual penalty.
#1. Do a Link Check
Go to Google Webmaster Tools. No need for third-party (backlink) tools. Select your site:
Select Traffic > Links to Your Site
Select Traffic > Links to Your Site > More
Select “Download Latest Links”
Export to .CSV or Google Docs
#2. Evaluate Link Data
Although it’s good to use various link evaluation tools, it’s still recommended that you conduct a detailed manual review to check the tool’s results.
Tip: Delete a link if it does not conform to the webmaster guidelines. Google will know if you didn’t.
#3. File & Save
Save all details gathered on your link cleanup to a spreadsheet in Google Drive, including the credentials in your consideration request. Google will be able to see and check all the work you’ve done.
#4. Link Removal Through Email Request
Ask a webmaster to remove a link through personalized email detailing the ff.: a) location of the link on the page; b) the anchor text; and 3) where the link leads to.
This service should be free. So if a webmaster asks for payment for a link removal, document the payment demand and include this site in your Disavow file.
#5. Using the Disavow Tool
Log In to Google Webmaster Tools, go to the Disavow Tool, select your domain.
Click Disavow Links. A menu will ask you for a file containing the links you want to disavow. This file contains the list of the links that you were not able to remove manually. Upload the file.
#6. Reconsideration Request (Optional)
File a Reconsideration Request ONLY if you’re under a manual penalty. Observe the following when filing your request:
- Be specific
- Full disclosure
- Explain why it won’t happen again
The Disavow Links Tool is just like a spam tool. One has to report it more than once in order to trigger both a filter and a manual review.
It takes some time to see results after a link disavow. Data has to be added into the index and refreshed in various algorithms. Some say the Disavow files go to Google’s web spam team assigned to develop fixes. Thus, explaining the time lapse.
The Disavow Links Tool is not the “cure all” from a penalty or algorithmic hit. This tool is just one minor component of a recovery plan. Therefore, the best way for a link cleanup is to do so as if the Disavow Link Tool does not exist.