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6 Reasons Why You Should Check Your Disavow File Again

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The Web changes every day

It’s hard to find an industry as dynamic as SEO is. Only a couple of years ago, you could easily rank with low-quality content and with tons of fake and irrelevant backlinks. After the first Google Panda update in 2011 and the first Google Penguin update in 2012, things became drastically different.

Every new Google update meant new quality rules that changed the internet for good. Webmasters have just two options, to adapt to the ever-changing rules or to disappear from the SERPs.

Link building is not dead, it just reached a new level of complexity and is now more advanced than ever before.

Read on and learn all about:

  • Why your Backlink Profile is alive
  • How you can take full control over your Backlink Profile
  • What are the reasons to undisavow your backlinks

The importance of Link Risk Management

From all the dramatic things that happened in the SEO world in the last years, Google Penguin update was and still is the most terrifying. Hundreds of thousands of sites were hit and vanished from the internet.

Since it was launched, every good SEO knows that Link Risk Management is the only way to protect a website against it.

Link Risk Management implies:

  • collecting all the backlinks you can find
  • analyzing them
  • disavowing risky backlinks
  • uploading your disavow file to Google Search Console
  • boosting your disavow file
  • starting again

This is a complex process. If you decide to analyze your backlinks manually, you would spend months collecting and analyzing data. If you don’t want to waste your time and if you want to get the most data possible, you should always use professional SEO tools.

You may have lost some great links

A website that looked suspicious or that had no links one year ago, now may actually be owned by someone else or it may have been cleaned up, it may now have authority. If you included that domain in your disavow file, then you want that link back.

You must constantly review your disavow file, since the Web changes every day and you surely have some very good links in there.
In many situations, especially while working under pressure, some webmasters and SEOs made a lot of mistakes. Most of them didn’t think twice before doing a mass link disavow.

They didn’t put time and effort into analyzing whether a link was good or bad. They just disavowed all of them, with the sole goal of having a Google Penalty revoked as soon as possible.In the end, even if those websites recovered from a Google Penalty, they lost many good and strong backlinks and they never managed to gain back the good rankings they had before.

disavow backlinks

If you don’t fix the mistakes that were made in the past, you will lose many potentially good backlinks. You MUST get some of those gems back to boost the rankings and increase traffic!

How can you audit your disavow file?

Link Detox has a Disavow File Audit mode that allows you to see the DTOXRISK for each disavowed link, helping you find some great backlinks that you already had. All you need to do in order to earn them back is to un-disavow them.

The Disavow File Audit mode allows you to see the current link risk for every backlink you already disavowed.



Thanks to this mode, you will be able to fix all the mistakes you made in the past. As soon as you see some potentially good backlink, you can check it and undisavow it. After that, export your new disavow file and upload it to your Google Search Console. All backlinks that were undisavowed will be removed from your disavowed file and Google will count them in the future.


Potential reasons to undisavow links

1. BEFORE: The site you disavowed was de-indexed due to a Google Penalty

Google has quality standards. If the owner doesn’t respect these rules, his site or pages will be penalized and de-indexed from Google. As simple as that. There are many reasons why a page can be de-indexed by Google (cloaking, content created for search engines, content written to fool search engines…) In any case, you do not want backlinks from such a place.

page not found


NOW: The site has successfully recovered. All pages are indexed again.

The owner of a penalized site will get a Manual Penalty alert message in the Google Webmaster Tools account. Depending on the cause of the penalty, he will get a chance to fix or clean problems and to submit pages again. If that page is indexed again, the site becomes safe. This becomes a place where you want to have a backlink again.


page not found

2. BEFORE: The site was listed as dangerous, with possible malware or virus.

It happens to everybody and it happens all the time. If Google detects malware, virus or some other malicious activities, the site will be listed as dangerous, the owner will get a message in Google Search Console and the site visitors will see this:


In most cases, the owner has nothing to do with this. Usually, they are victims of malware attacks. But Google doesn’t care if it’s the owner’s fault or not. They will just list this website as dangerous and if the owner doesn’t manage to solve this problem, the site will keep on being blacklisted.

For you, as a website owner, a site like this is probably the worst place to have a backlink placed.

NOW: The site is clean and safe.

To get rid of malware is not an easy thing to do. Most webmasters have no idea where to start. The easiest and fastest solution would be to remove all files and databases and to upload the latest clean backup files. In addition to this, the owner should change passwords, clear cache memory and install safety add-ons and plugins.

Once the site is clean and safe again, it becomes a good place to have a backlink again, just as it was before.

3. BEFORE: The site had no external links

We were all there, the new fresh site with zero backlinks.

page not found

Backlinks from this site will not give you too much link juice. Even worse than that, it will look very suspicious to Google, so it would be better to disavow it and to wait for some better times.


NOW: The site has some authority and a lot of backlinks.

A few months later, the situation could be significantly different, this website may have gained some great links. You want a backlink from it!

page not found

4. BEFORE: The site was listed as suspicious

For example, a site can be listed as suspicious if it has great rankings for keywords that are not related to the niche the website is in. For example, you may notice that your website is ranking for “Viagra” when in fact, you are selling tea. This could be the result of a negative SEO attack and it can get a website in real trouble.

negative seo

Such situations are bad for webmasters, but become instantly bad for you as well because you have backlink there.


NOW: The site is safe again after disavowing the spammy links.

With Link Risk Management, everybody can clean his backlink profile from spammy backlinks. Once spammy backlinks were removed or disavowed, the website became safe again and a good place for link building.

5. BEFORE: The site had a massive number of outgoing links

Abandoned forums, auto approved blogs or hacked sites. They are often the source of a massive number of outgoing links. Once they smell “fresh blood”, spammers will use every opportunity for an attack. It ends up turning into something like this:

spammy site

You would certainly disavow a backlink from this website.


NOW: The site is safe again after removing the spammy links.

Sooner or later, somebody will, or at least should take over the site. As soon as the webmaster removes all these links, the site becomes safe again and you will need to undisavow this link.

6. BEFORE: The site was part of a link network

Different sites can be connected to the network in different ways. Many sites can have the same owner, analytics, server, IP address or C-Class. If your site is part of some network, a backlink from those sites will just harm you. Google will easily detect it and possibly penalize the whole network.

page not found


NOW: New owner, new server or IP

The Web changes every day, websites are sold and bought, cleaned, moved to other servers. As easy as you disavowed backlinks from a link network, you can undisavow them after a website has changed the owner or server.


Always focus on your users and give your audience real value: high-quality content, information that is relevant and useful to them. Build links that are relevant, enriching both the web and its users. You have to be proud of the links you build.

The Disavow File Audit mode will surely help you find some great links hidden in the past disavows. You can easily reactivate them using Link Detox and Link Detox Boost. Improve your rankings and increase traffic! Lose no more time and recover those links now!

superhero smallWith the Superhero Plans you can perform link audits, link cleanup, link disavow boost, competitive research, professional SEO and backlink analysis for your own or your competitor's sites.

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Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper is the CEO and Founder of LinkResearchTools and Link Detox. A well-known and distinguished expert in SEO who started link building for clients in 2003, building the Link Research Tools since 2006 and marketing it as SaaS product since 2009. When the famous Google Penguin update changed the rules of SEO in 2012, Christoph started Link Detox, software for finding links that pose a risk in a website’s backlink profile. He introduced ongoing link audits and risk management to the market in early 2011. In 2015, Christoph introduced Impactana, a new technology platform and SaaS product to measure the success of content beyond "social buzz", to find content, videos and people that make an impact.
Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper
Christoph C. Cemper

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  1. Nate Somsen on March 7, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I believe the key to backlinks is how you summarized it in the conclusion Christoph, “Build links that are relevant, enriching both the webs and its users.” Unfortunately, in the past, it was all about building up quantity instead of quality.

    It’s kind of funny that it never occurred to me, that websites that had characteristics that could merit being disavowed by linking websites, could redeem themselves, and once again become a vital backlink, but unfortunately could have lost its value by being associated as a bad backlink.

  2. Emmerey Rose on March 16, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Awesome article Christopher. This process is always almost forgotten by bloggers. How often do you personally check your disavowed links?

  3. hoa tuoi on March 30, 2017 at 7:54 am

    that websites that had characteristics that could merit being disavowed by linking websites, could redeem themselves, and once again become a vital backlink, but unfortunately could have lost its value by being associated as a bad backlink.

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