There are so many tools at your disposal to manage your SEO presence more effectively. One of our favorite tools for managing backlinks is the Google Disavow Links Tool.
Backlinks are so important to your SEO, but managing them can feel messy without the right processes in place. What do you do if a lot of spammy websites start linking to you? Or how do you overcome black hat tactics you might have tried in the past?
The Disavow Links tool makes it possible to get a backlinks redo. That’s why it’s so powerful for improving your SEO rankings, especially if you’ve had a manual action taken against your site. Learn more about the Disavow Links tool, when you might need it, and how to carefully use it to improve your SEO.
What are Disavow Links?
Disavow Links is a tool located in your Google Search Console account. It allows you to tell Google to ignore low-quality backlinks when it’s considering where to rank your website. Ideally, Disavow Links severs connections between your website and spammy backlinks, essentially removing a black mark from your SEO report card.
SEO professionals like Disavow Links because it gives you more control over the backlinking process. If a ton of spammy websites are suddenly linking to your website and it’s hurting your rank, you have the tools to do something about it.
Keep in mind that Disavow Links is a Google tool, so remember that this tool won’t help you improve your position in other search engines.
Why would I need the Disavow Links tool?
While Disavow Links is an important tool, not everyone needs to use it. You should only be concerned about disavowing links if you have a lot of low-quality backlinks pointing to your website.
You’re a good candidate for disavowing links if:
- Google took a manual action against your site. This is a big slap on the hand from Google for participating in link practices that go against its best practices. Don’t worry, though. Google notifies you when they take a manual action against your website, so if they haven’t notified you, you’re probably okay.
- Your competitors paid spammy websites to link to your website. This is an unfortunate practice that can result in Google penalizing your website through no fault of your own.
This is why it’s so important to avoid black hat tactics like paid link schemes and spammy business directories. Disavow Links gives you the power to fix your backlinking problems, but it’s best to avoid poor SEO practices from the start.
3 steps to use Disavow Links
Disavow Links doesn’t require special knowledge; all you need is a Google Search Console account to get started.
Step 1: Audit your links
Consult Google Site Explorer to find the domains that are linking to your website. Sort the results by domain authority and focus on the lowest-authority websites. You want to disavow any low-quality links that are spammy, irrelevant, or clearly trying to influence search results.
Step 2: Upload your list
After you’ve identified the links you need to disavow, compile them in a text file with one URL per line. Format the URLs like domain:example.com.
Visit Disavow Links in Google Search Console to upload your list. Google will tell you if there are any errors reading the list so there are no surprises.
Step 3: Monitor your progress
Half of SEO is watching and waiting. After uploading your disavowed links, you should wait 2-3 weeks for Google to index your changes. You can use a tool like Ahrefs to monitor this or lean on a trusted SEO agency to monitor your results.
The bottom line
Backlinks play a huge role in your authority, which directly affects your SEO. You can try to remove some of the links yourself, but if you can’t remove them all, try the Google Disavow Links tool. Keep in mind that you can easily misuse this tool, so it’s best to go with a trusted SEO agency to manage your disavowed links.
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