When and how should I use the Google Disavow Tool?
Some people claim that using the Google Disavow Tool should only be considered when you file a Reconsideration Request after a Manual Action.
We have seen thousands of proven examples where disavowing risky links has led to a recovery from an algorithmic Penguin Penalty – where you don’t even have the option to file a Reconsideration Request.
Google recommends using the Disavow tool whenever you’re not able to remove risky links:
In general, a link from a site is regarded as a vote for the quality of your site. (…) In some circumstances, incoming links can affect Google’s opinion of a page or site. For example, you or a search engine optimizer (SEO) you’ve hired may have built bad links to your site via paid links or other link schemes that violate our quality guidelines. First and foremost, we recommend that you remove as many spammy or low-quality links from the web as possible.
If you’ve done as much work as you can to remove spammy or low-quality links from the web, and are unable to make further progress on getting the links taken down, you can disavow the remaining links. In other words, you can ask Google not to take certain links into account when assessing your site.
We recommend using the Google Disavow tool and clean your backlink profile on a regular basis. Even if you don’t get a Manual Action Penalty, the toxic links pointing to your website can a trigger Penguin spam filter any time. That’s something you want to avoid if you care about your online business.
Now that Google Penguin works in Real-Time do I still need to disavow bad links?
The Disavow File and the Google Disavow Links Tool are still extremely important, even though Google now tries to find spammy links automatically. Google never said that users should stop using the Disavow Links Tool. There are no plans to discontinue the tool. Nothing has changed with Penguin 4.0 in regards to disavowing toxic links. They confirmed that they still have the tool, and we should continue using it. The disavow tool was also recently updated by Google.
!Google will process the disavows just like they did in the past – when they crawl the links.
The question is: will Google crawl the links faster? Probably not. This is why we recommend using Link Detox Boost.
Do I only need to disavow the links listed in Google Search Console?
Google only shows you a selection of your backlinks, but not all of them. You will not be able to see every link that points to your website. The selection usually shown sometimes varies from day to day and it, too. Usually identifies the domains that link to you the most, along with your most-linked-to. Unfortunately, nobody except for Google knows how they select the links.
The most important thing that you need to keep in mind is that Google Search Console does not show you all the links you need for a fast Google Penalty recovery. To see all your backlinks in one place, you have to use a professional SEO tool alongside Google Search Console.
Google Search Console does NOT list links from sites that were already penalized by Google, which makes finding those penalized sites impossible when using Google Search Console only. We know this from clients who removed all the bad backlinks shown in Google Search Console. After a failed Reconsideration Request these clients then got sample URLs from Google which were not listed in Google Search Console previously.
LinkResearchTools (LRT) supports integration with Google Search Console. We automatically grab those extra links and include them in your report. This integration saves a lot of time. The links will still come from the Google Search Console, but you will no longer have to undergo the manual process of exporting the links from Google Search Console and uploading them to LinkResearchTools (LRT) every time you want to start a new report.
How do I find out which links to disavow?
Have in mind that you need to have all the backlink data that you can get. Link Detox has the most comprehensive link data graph, with over 25 backlink sources.
Link Detox shows you the full picture of your backlink profile and brings up risky links that can hurt your rankings. The risk of each link, as well as the overall risk of the domain, is estimated using the Link Detox Risk (DTOXRISK) metric.
There are different risk levels in Link Detox: Very Low, Low, Below Average, Average, Above Average and High DTOXRISK. The higher the calculated DTOXRISK™ score is, the more attention you should give to those links.
Is disavowing links enough or do you need to remove them completely?
Some webmasters were successful disavowing the links only. As Google officially stated, links that you cannot get rid of should simply be disavowed. This is the case for many “Web 2.0” links, article directory spam, link directory spam and of course blog comments.
But of course, Google wants to see your “considerable effort”. It is very important to show at least some effort to Google because in the case of a Reconsideration Request you are talking to a real person who will decide whether to revoke your Manual Action or not.
Therefore, we recommend using automatic tools like our PitchBox integration and keep the e-mail log to prove you have contacted several webmasters for link removal. There are some very simple ways to show Google all your “considerable efforts”. Become an LRT Certified Professional and learn how.
How do I know if the disavowed links I uploaded actually reached Google?
Google will take the disavowed links into account when they crawl them again. They will not provide you with a confirmation mail or e-mail notification. From experience we know that this can take several months.
You can start Boost directly in Link Detox. Running the tool is simple and will only take you a minute. Read here how to run Boost in only 4 steps.
After running Boost, you will see a table with the last Google Crawl Date of each backlink.
Does disavowing only work if you submit a Reconsideration Request?
Using the Disavow Links tool is not strictly connected to Manual Actions and Reconsideration Requests. Reconsideration Requests are not possible with algorithmic penalties, but we have certainly seen recoveries by only using the Disavow Links tool. The Disavow Tool confirms your upload immediately. Link Detox Boost makes sure that Google takes the Disavow file into account.
Does the percentage of disavowed links have a negative effect on my link profile?
The disavow percentage does not have a negative effect on your backlink profile, providing you disavowed the links that are harmful to your website. We recommend reviewing all of your links before disavowing them.
Keep in mind that the links you disavowed might have been good links at some point and helped you rank for certain keywords. What you need to do is start building powerful, low-risk links that will blend in with your backlink profile. Your website needs links. Remember, links are Google’s #1 ranking factor alongside good content.
But don’t take it from us when we say that links are important, take it directly from Google.
In March 2016, in a Q&A with Google, Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said the first two ranking factors were links and content:
“I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.”
Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google
Keep in mind that your backlink profile should always look natural so you should try to keep within the acceptable link ratios of your niche. You can use Competitive Link Detox (CDTOX) to get a better understanding of your link ratios and risk levels in your niche.
Can you comment on Google saying that disavowing links is not a 100% cure?
Disavowing a link means telling Google not to count this link anymore. If you disavow a link, it will be ignored, but keep in mind that the spammy backlink is still online. It’s always better to get spammy links removed, but if this is not possible, you should make sure that you included it in your Disavow File.
Does it make sense to consider un-disavowing links?
Yes, it can make sense to consider un-disavowing links if you have included good links in your disavow file by mistake. It’s important to regularly review your disavow file to make sure it only includes links that are truly harmful to your site’s search rankings. By using a tool like Link Detox’s Disavow File Audit mode, you can see the current link risk for each disavowed link and make informed decisions about whether to un-disavow any links that may have been wrongly included in the file. Un-disavowing good links can help improve your site’s search rankings and increase traffic.
Are disavows as effective as they were before Penguin 4.0?
Google will process the disavows just like they did in the past – when they crawl the links. From that point of view, nothing should change. The question is: will your links get crawled faster? Probably not. This is why we recommend using Link Detox Boost. We built Link Detox Boost to help you push Googlebot into re-crawling the low-quality links you have already asked Google to disavow.
How important is it to manually contact webmasters to get bad links removed?
Our recommendation was always first to disavow and then reach out to people to have those links removed. Quite often webmasters will not get back to your link removal requests, but it’s always worth a try. We’ve seen some Penguin penalty recoveries without having any links removed. Bear in mind that you should try to have the links removed, especially if your website has a Manual Action.
Disavowing Links can sometimes lead to a drop in rankings. On the other hand, you risk a Penguin Penalty if you choose not to disavow the high DTOXRISK toxic links. The SEO has to decide whether to disavow links or not. We recommend using CDTOX and checking what risk level is natural for your market.
When I have a site with just a few links in a very “clean” market, should I be extra careful with disavows?
If your market has a very low risk, you should disavow exactly enough to have a risk on a similarly low level.
When I have a domain like domain.com/language (/en /de, etc.), where should I add the Disavow File; on the main domain or the /en?
In Google Search Console, you can add multiple domains, subdomains, and subfolders as properties. We recommend uploading the Disavow File to all of them. We also recommend that you have separate properties for http and https and upload the Disavow File to each one.
We have a lot of spammy links called e.g. thiruyada.xyz – what shall we do?
You should disavow the entire root domain. If you continue to get spammy links from this domain, then Google will not count them in the future if you disavow the whole domain.
Does it make sense to upload a new Disavow File on a regular basis?
We always recommended disavowing on a weekly basis.
Just have in mind that Google crawls the web daily. It makes sense to upload a new Disavow File on a regular basis, if you haven’t already.
When does Google take the disavowed links into account?
When you upload a disavow file to Google Search Console, Google will process the file and take the disavowed links into account the next time it crawls the source URLs of those links.
However, it’s important to note that Google does not provide any information about when it will crawl specific URLs, so it’s difficult to predict exactly when the disavowed links will be taken into account.
This is why Link Detox Boost exist - in can help speed up the process by generating a large number of crawl requests for the URLs in your disavow file. This can help minimize the amount of time it takes for the disavowed links to be taken into account by Google’s algorithms.
As a rule, do you disavow all links from sites that are not indexed by Google?
In general, it’s a good idea to disavow links from sites that are not indexed by Google.
If a site has been deindexed by Google, it’s a strong indication that the site is not trustworthy and that the links from that site could be harmful to your site’s search rankings. Additionally, links from non-indexed sites are unlikely to provide any benefit in terms of link power, so there’s no reason to keep them.
It’s also a good idea to use Link Detox Boost to speed up the process of getting the disavowed links taken into account by Google’s algorithms as fast as possible.
Do I have to disavow domain:www.example.com or is it enough to disavow domain:example.com to disavow all subdomains?
Yes, you can use domain:example.com to disavow all subdomains of that domain, including www.example.com. This is confirmed by Google and is the recommended way to disavow an entire domain and all its subdomains. It’s important to make sure that you use the correct syntax when disavowing links, as specified in Google’s guidelines. Using the domain: operator followed by the domain name is the correct way to disavow an entire domain and all its subdomains.
We call it “Root Domain Disavow.”
Our system is based on Google’s statements and here you can find a summary:
„If you want to ignore all links from that domain, you can say domain:pornsite.com“
Source Matt Cutts
„If you want Google to ignore all links from an entire domain (like example.com), add the line domain:example.com.”
Source Google Guidelines
„The domain: needs the right syntax. domain: and domain, don’t do domain: and http or www. or something like that. An actual domain like example.com or mattcuts.com is what we are actually looking for.”
Source Matt Cutts
Please note that this entry is about URLS and not domains! http://www.example.com and http://example.com are not the same of course, and if you want to disavow both on Page basis you will have to enter them separately into the disavow file, BUT „You can always disavow an entire domain, of course.“ which means that you can disavow on domain basis, which works with domain:example.com. You can find a confirmation here: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/webmaster-de/tLBbhh-GXVg/pphAN40xn9gJ
You should not necessarily disavow links with money anchor text. A certain percentage of money anchor text is normal in every industry, so it is important to determine if the distribution of money keywords in your backlink profile is normal for your niche.
Additionally, just because a link has a money keyword as anchor text does not mean that it is a bad link.
It is important to check if the backlinks are unnatural or if they trigger any DTOX rules before deciding to disavow them. If a link has a low DTOXRISK, you may want to try to change the anchor text instead of disavowing the link.
How can I add new links to my Disavow file?
Google only accepts one Disavow file. If you wish to add new links, you have to create and upload a new Disavow file to the Google Disavow Tool.
Make sure that the disavow file you have in your LinkResearchTools account is the same one you last uploaded to the Google Disavow Tool. We will already label the links that are already in your disavow file with “Disavowed”. You can analyze the rest of your links
Whenever you create a new Disavow file in Link Detox, the old files will be overwritten. Link Detox will combine all previous files to one. This way you make sure you always work with the most current file and disavow the links you actually wish to disavow.
Is it enough to Disavow or should I also Remove Links?
We recommend to always disavow, and then try to remove those links.
There are often cases where it is just not possible or practical to remove a link, in which case disavowing the link is the best option.
Especially while waiting days or weeks for a response from a website owner, it is a good idea to disavow the link in the meantime.