How to Use Google’s Disavow Tool For Better Rankings

How to Use Google’s Disavow Tool For Better Rankings

Recently, I had a pal ask me for assist as a result of her web site rankings had been tanking.

Always prepared to lend a serving to hand, I requested her what she had been doing to construct hyperlinks and enhance search engine optimization.

Everything she was doing checked out OK. So, I fired up Ahrefs and took a take a look at her backlink profile. That’s once I noticed it.

Tons of spammy hyperlinks had been pointing to her website. These hyperlinks had been killing her rankings.

Then I took a take a look at her Google Webmaster Tools account and noticed that she had a guide actions report stating that her web site had been penalized for low-quality hyperlinks.

Here’s an instance from that exhibits what that report appears to be like like.

manual action unnatural links to your site message google disavow tool

I requested her if she tried utilizing the disavow device to take away these spammy hyperlinks. She checked out me like a deer in headlights.

Here’s the deal:

It’s no secret that spammy hyperlinks can penalize your website’s rankings.

Knowing how to construct hyperlinks is a cornerstone of search engine optimization. But the flip facet is figuring out how to keep away from having dangerous hyperlinks level to your website.

If you don’t know the way to defend your self from dangerous backlinks, you might be setting your website up for epic failure.

The excellent news is that you may audit your hyperlink profile and use Google’s disavow device to stop or reverse any penalties.

If you employ it the improper means, you are able to do extra hurt to your website than good. You’ll need to be sure to’re cautious when utilizing the device.

This article will educate you ways to use the device effectively.

What is Google’s Disavow Tool and When Should You Use It?

Before we go into utilizing the device, let’s dive into the idea of disavowing hyperlinks.

Good backlinks can elevate your Domain Authority (DA) and Page Authority (PA) scores, improve your visibility in engines like google, and enable you to rank higher.

Bad backlinks just do the other. They hurt your search engine optimization and trigger you to lose rating.

With that mentioned, you shouldn’t go disavowing hyperlinks left and proper.

When you disavow a hyperlink, you’re telling the various search engines not to consider a particular hyperlink when crawling your website.

There are a number of classes of dangerous backlinks you may contemplate disavowing:

  • Sites arrange only for hyperlinks
  • Obviously spam websites
  • Links in spam feedback
  • Backlinks from websites in your non-target nation/international locations (e.g., a backlink from a German website when your viewers is within the U.S.)

If you don’t have management over the spammy hyperlinks, use the disavow device so Google disregards them.

Google disavow tool screenshot

Google’s Disavow Tool Warning

According to Google, utilizing this device the improper means can have a damaging impact in your rankings.

google disavow tool warning

That sounds fairly intense, however don’t fear; Google simply desires to be sure to’re not disavowing the improper hyperlinks. You ought to request removals first, and I’ll speak about that later.

Just be sure to use the device when you could have lots of low-quality backlinks pointing to your website and if you’re certain they’re inflicting issues.

The excellent news is that in the event you use it the appropriate means, you’ll be able to enhance your rankings.

Disavow Tool Best Practices

There are a number of vital guidelines of thumb it’s best to comply with when utilizing the disavow device.:

Try Removing Links Via Email First

Google prefers that you just strive eradicating hyperlinks by yourself earlier than utilizing the disavow device.

You can do that with a hyperlink elimination request.

A hyperlink elimination request happens when one website proprietor emails one other to request the elimination of a hyperlink.

Moz exhibits an instance of a hyperlink elimination request right here.

link removal request email disavow tool

Unfortunately, link-removal requests get a nasty rap. Oftentimes they’re ignored, missed, malicious, and even spammy. There’s an artwork to sending profitable link-removal requests.

Use It When You Need It

Matt Cutts (former head of Google’s Webspam group) offers the inexperienced mild on utilizing the disavow device:

pasted image 0 964

You could also be apprehensive about damaging search engine optimization or a bunch of spammy hyperlinks pointing towards your website. In this case, it could be an excellent transfer to disavow. It’s OK to disavow hyperlinks even in the event you don’t see a message in your webmaster console.

If your removal-request emails aren’t efficient, be happy to use the disavow device everytime you want.

Use It Like a Shotgun, Not a Rifle

Instead of selecting out dangerous hyperlinks one after the other, it’s best to as a substitute use the area operator to disavow all dangerous backlinks from a complete area as a substitute. This can also be a sooner methodology for bettering rankings. It might take longer to see outcomes in the event you handpick dangerous hyperlinks one after the other.

How to Use the Disavow Tool: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now it’s time to dive deep into how you should utilize the disavow device — step-by-step

Create a List of Backlinks

There are numerous completely different instruments that you should utilize to get a listing of your backlinks.

These companies usually strive to automate the auditing course of. While it does save time, you received’t get as clear of a outcome as would in the event you manually reviewed every hyperlink.

To create your individual backlink listing manually, right here’s what you do.

Download Your Links From All Sources

First, go to Google Webmaster instruments. Click search site visitors, and hyperlinks to your website. Download each the most recent hyperlinks and pattern hyperlinks.

google webmaster tools links to your site disavow guide

If your website has numerous domains linking to it (over 1,000), you will discover extra hyperlinks by downloading the pattern hyperlink listing daily for a number of days.

You may obtain hyperlinks from different sources:

  • Open Site Explorer: A fantastic device from Moz, one of many largest manufacturers inside the superior search engine optimization group.
  • Ahrefs: One of probably the most correct and largest databases of stay backlinks
  • Majestic search engine optimization: Breaks down lots of info into digestible, granular items. This device is nice at stopping overwhelm.
  • Ubersuggest: View your backlink profile, see content material solutions, and extra.

Put Your Links into One Spreadsheet

Once you could have gathered the spreadsheets out of your sources, discover the URL column of the websites that hyperlink to you and replica this column into a brand new spreadsheet. Feel free to use Google Docs or Excel — whichever you like.

Now you’ll have a grasp listing of each hyperlink that leads to your website. You will see some duplicates, however don’t fear as a result of we’ll repair that later.

Break the URLs into Subdomains

Make a brand new column that’s to the fast left of your URLs. At the highest of the spreadsheet (A1), kind this system:


Now, spotlight the complete column and hit CTRL+D in your keyboard. This will fill in every cell within the row with the system.

pasted image 0 946

Once that’s finished, spotlight the entire column once more and convert the outcomes of the system into values. This will permit you to copy and paste information into the column.

Do this by hitting CTRL+C to copy, then press Edit, Paste Special, and Paste Values Only.

Next, let’s use the Find & Replace device to break all the things down to its subdomain.

With column A highlighted, click on edit, then discover and exchange. Type “HTTP://“ (without quotes), don’t put anything in the replace field, and hit “Replace All.”

sort links for disavow tool

Repeat the identical steps with these two phrases

  • https://
  • www. (Remember the interval after www)

After you’re finished, column A will now have the subdomains or domains of every URL that factors again to your website.

sort links disavow guide

Get Rid of Duplicate Links

You’ll probably have some domains with a number of hyperlinks. What we wish is to solely have one hyperlink from every area. Sort column A into alphabetic order after which insert a brand new column to the left of the domains. Put on this system:


Copy this down the complete spreadsheet once more (you too can click on the little plus signal within the decrease right-hand nook of a highlighted cell — also referred to as the “fill” button).

Next, filter this column to solely present the duplicates. Finally, delete every duplicate URL.

Now you’ll have one URL for every area that’s supplying you with a backlink.

Audit Your Backlinks

Now, click on on every URL in your spreadsheet and determine if you would like to hold all of the hyperlinks from every area or disavow them.

audit backlinks example disavow tool guide

If you’re not sure, you’ll be able to all the time mark hyperlinks as “maybe” and are available again to them later after you’ve checked out all of your hyperlinks.

Sometimes, you’ll be able to choose up patterns after your whole hyperlinks that you just wouldn’t have seen in any other case.

If you’re undecided whether or not or not it’s best to disavow a hyperlink, assume by way of these questions:

“Does this link help me?” i.e., “Could I actually get business and/or traffic from this link?”

“Was this link made 100% for SEO only?”

“If a Google employee saw this link, would I be worried?”

Remember that Google solely penalizes websites which might be making an attempt to sport the system. Every website has its share of unnatural hyperlinks.

You’re not going to get hit with a penalty in the event you’re taking part in by the foundations. So in the event you see some unnatural hyperlinks, don’t sweat it.

Make a Disavow File

Once you’re finished reviewing every hyperlink, filter the column so that you solely see the hyperlinks that you really want to disavow.

Next, make a brand new spreadsheet and replica and paste your domains into the brand new sheet.

filter your disavow file

Next, you need to add “domain:” (no citation marks) in entrance of each area title.

When you disavow on the area stage, you’re doing a clear sweep of all of the dangerous hyperlinks on that area. When you disavow by URL, you’re extra probably to miss dangerous hyperlinks.

You’ll need to all the time disavow on the area stage.

Type the next system into B1 to add “domain:” to the entrance of each area title.


Use the fill button to paste the system down the complete column. Once once more, spotlight the column after which choose paste particular, paste as values.

Now, column B might be filled with disavow directives.

create a disavow file screen shot

Make a Text File

Your disavow file have to be in 7-bit ASCII or UTF-8 format. You can do that a pair alternative ways.

On a Mac, open TextEdit, copy and paste column B into TextEdit, after which hit Format and make plain textual content.

On Google Docs, open a Google Doc, copy column B right into a doc after which click on File, Download As, and Plain textual content.

Add Comments

Feel free to add feedback to your disavow file by beginning your remark with a #. But keep in mind, Google staff don’t take a look at your disavow file.

The disavow device is 100% automated. Any remark you add is on your personal information. You can insert them to jog your reminiscence on sure issues when revisiting the file sooner or later.

google disavow file example

File Your Disavow

Go to the disavow device and choose your file from the dropdown listing. Click disavow hyperlinks twice after which choose “choose file”. Then you’ll need to add the .txt file you made.

Here’s what a profitable disavow appears to be like like:

pasted image 0 974

Top Disavow Tool Mistakes

You might run into errors if you try to disavow hyperlinks.

Luckily, it’s quite common for an error to pop up when disavowing hyperlinks. In this video, Matt Cutts talks about frequent errors that folks run into when utilizing the disavow device.

  • You ought to solely add an everyday textual content file. No sorting, fonts, or syntax must be added to this file. People strive to add spreadsheets, Word docs, and different file codecs. Only add a textual content (TXT) file.
disavow text example
  • Start out through the use of the area: command when disavowing hyperlinks so that you just disavow all hyperlinks from the complete website. Many occasions, customers will strive to disavow particular URLs with a fine-tooth comb. Don’t do that.
  • Incorrect syntax is one other situation that pops up rather a lot. Make certain you employ a TXT file with the right syntax.
  • If you need to present commentary on why Google ought to disavow sure hyperlinks, save that for the reconsideration request. Don’t write it within the textual content file.
request review disavow guide
  • When you remark utilizing the disavow device, just remember to use tags. If you don’t, it’ll trigger syntax errors. In truth, it’s finest to restrict your commenting.
  • The disavow device will not be a magic wand that may repair each URL. You ought to clear up your hyperlink profile manually as well as to utilizing the device.

Frequently-Asked Questions

Still received questions? Here’s a number of of the most-asked questions

How Often Should I Use the Disavow Tool?

This all is dependent upon your hyperlink profile. For instance, in case your website has a monitor report of unnatural hyperlinks, you might want to do a month-to-month disavow.

In different instances, it’s finest to do a hyperlink audit first after which a disavow.

By spacing out each disavow, you give your self time to spot recurring issues and developments. This will enable you to make higher selections along with your link-building methods.

But when you have a mean web site that doesn’t have a historical past of low-quality hyperlinks, and in the event you aren’t in a brilliant aggressive house the place damaging search engine optimization isn’t a lot of an element, you’re good with disavowing solely a couple of times per 12 months.

When Should I Remove a Link Manually and When Should I Use the Disavow Tool?

Removing a hyperlink manually ought to all the time be your first possibility.

But, in the event you’re hit with an algorithm penalty, say from Penguin, there’s no want to go on a protracted, drawn-out strategy of emailing website homeowners to ask them to do away with hyperlinks.

In that case, it’s best to disavow. But, in the event you’ve been hit with a guide penalty, it’s best to positively strive to manually take away hyperlinks first.

Can I Reavow a Link if I Make a Mistake?

pasted image 0 960

To reavow, modify your disavow file by eradicating the directive and re-upload it. Matt Cutts has acknowledged that it takes “a lot longer” to reavow a hyperlink than to disavow it.

Google purposely builds on this lag time to discourage spammers from making an attempt to sport the system.

How Long Will It Take to See Better Traffic and Rankings?

Google applies your disavow directives to your hyperlinks as quickly because it crawls your website.

After you’ve uploaded your directives, Google applies an invisible nofollow tag to the disavowed hyperlinks that time to your website.

This implies that these hyperlinks might be thrown out of the equation when the Google algorithm considers your web site.

You’ll want to wait till Google wants to run the algorithm once more, so that you received’t see adjustments immediately. Most hyperlinks solely take a month to be eliminated.

Quick Guide to Using the Disavow Tool

The Disavow device is a strong device to clear up your hyperlink profile. Here’s how to use it.

  1. Download All Links From All Sources

    Head to Google Analytics, Ubersuggest, and Ahrefs to view all of your hyperlinks.

  2. Sort The Data

    Pull all of the lists collectively, then take away duplicates and kind.

  3. Audit Your Backlinks

    Check to see which hyperlinks are problematic, take away those which might be okay.

  4. Attempt Manual Removal

    Send emails to websites asking them to take away the hyperlinks.

  5. Create a Text File

    Your disavow file have to be in 7-bit ASCII or UTF-8 format. You can do that a pair alternative ways.

  6. Add Comments

    Use # to add feedback or notes as wanted.

  7. Submit the File to Google

    Send your file over and look ahead to Google’s resolution.


Whether it’s from hiring a shady search engine optimization company or being the sufferer of damaging search engine optimization, you’ll want to disavow dangerous hyperlinks earlier than you get penalized.

However, watch out and don’t abuse the device. Disavowing the improper hyperlinks can damage your rankings the identical means dangerous backlinks can.

If you carelessly disavow hyperlinks, your backlink profile might look unnatural and may trigger you to get penalized.

You should evaluate particular person backlinks earlier than you submit your disavow file. There’s no getting round it.

When you get issues proper, although, and your site visitors and search engine optimization will enhance.

The disavow device will not be the end-all-be-all magic button that may ship tons of site visitors your means.

However, it’s a nice search engine optimization device to have in your arsenal and one that each website proprietor must be aware of.

What outcomes have you ever skilled from utilizing the disavow device?

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