How To Use Google Disavow Tool To Remove Bad Links

Backlink Analysis, SEO Tools
Disavow Backlinks
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Before we can use the Google Disavow Tool to remove bad links from your website, let’s have a look at what are backlinks. Backlinks are often referred as a links referring back to you from external source. Didn’t make sense? In simpler terms Jack told Emily that he bought a pair of shoes and received the best customer service ever! Still doesn’t make sense.

Backlinks Definition

In this example; Jack is referring Emily to a shoe shop to buy a pair of shoes and get the best customer service experience. In same manner, a backlink is something refereed by another business, company or person a visitor to your website through a link. The link could potentially take that visitor to a sales page or information page. It depends on the relationship between author of the site and the link sharer.

It creates a dominoes factor, one relies on another for some valuable piece of information. If the information being presented is good, it generates revenue for the business for long term.

Backlinks can pass authority:

The backlink can pass on huge amount of authority from one website to another. Furthermore you can do the same within your website from one page to another. For example; if one of the pages on your website has higher authority, you can create backlink with relevant information to pass on some authority from that page to lower authority page. The key thing to bear in mind here is that the information must be relevant at all times.

Google Disavow Tool & Backlink Authority

For this you need a keyword to create anchor text and then a url to link back to your website. An anchor text holds hyperlink, on clicking it will take you to a designated web page. It sounds all too technical. Wait till you see it yourself.

The following image will illustrate what a backlink looks like;

Google Disavow Tool & Internal Backlink
To view the LIVE backlink, click on the link below.
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Referring Domain:

Now that you know what a backlink looks like, let’s take a look at the referring domain. Referring domain will usually have something similar on their website or blog. An hyperlink referring to a domain or specific page.

A referring domain is used with the intent that it will do the following:

  • Pass authority to your website
  • Refer visitors interested in similar content
  • Refer customer for the purposes sale and in return earn commission

Google Disavow Tool:

By performing disavow of a link you are telling Google to ignore that backlink for the following reasons:

  • Link is Spam – the most common reason why an SEO would suggest to disavow a link.
  • Artificial Link – It means a link has been created that never existed or does not exist anymore
  • Domain is no longer valid or active
  • Referring domain has lost authority
  • You have changed the structure of your website i.e. from blog to e-commerce selling stuff, a complete change of business
  • Either the link has caused a manual action by search engine/s or is likely to cause one
Google Disavow Tool

Further and detailed information can be found from Google Disavow Link Tool page.

Step 1) Create a list of bad backlinks that you wish to disavow

This can be easily done by creating a file that has the following structure

  • Specify individually each link
  • Strictly one link per line
  • Link can be a domain or specific url
  • The file must be saved in .txt format as most of the .txt files are encoded in acceptable UTF-8 format
  • You can include comments if you like

Example of file may look like as following:

## Must adhere to one domain or page url per line

# Starting with comment (optional) - specific page/url example
https://spamylink.example.com/blog/spam-page.html
https://nicespam.example.com/blog/nice-spam-page.html

# Starting with comment (optional) - specific domain example
domain: johnexample.com
domain: Natexample.com

There are many tools that can help you achieve the results in couple of clicks. However, I have been using this tool for quite sometime now and find it extremely useful. The reason being not only you can view your backlinks and create the file in a few clicks but also you can track the behaviour of links.

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Step 2) Let’s upload the file that you have created

  • Open the Tool
  • Select your website from drop down list
  • Choose the option disavow links
  • Browse the file that you have created from your computer

If no errors are found, you will see a successful submission message. Please review the errors if found and resubmit. It can take several weeks for Google to process the data submitted in the file. Once the Google has re-crawled your website you will see the shift in your index.

Sometimes you may come across issues to do with your website not appearing in the drop down list of Google Disavow Tool. The following reasons can help you to understand why:

  • You may be using a different Google Account
  • You may have never added your website through Google Search Console (GSC). The website is called a property in GSC.
  • You must follow the steps outlined in GSC to add new property. It’s quite straight forward. However, if you are struggling try searching for a video in YouTube on how to do it.

Conclusion:

Now that you understand the use of Google Disavow Tool, please use it carefully. It can negatively impact your domain authority and may remove your website from search engines completely. This must be used with extreme caution at your own risk. The information provided in this article is a guideline only. However if the tool is used wisely it can help remove the spam links and improve your Google ranking.

Lastly as always, Thank you for reading this article. Your feedback or comments are welcome. Don’t forget to share the article if you find it useful. Let us know your thoughts if you feel that something does not add up or that we can improve further.

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