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How to Use the Google Disavow Tool

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What is the disavow tool

Disavow is a tool part of Google Webmaster Tools which allows Websites to reduce the value of inbound links, helping to prevent against link-based penalties. Disavow Tool allows you to delete some URLs or domains from Google as a ranking factor in your site’s indexing. You do this by creating a “.txt file” with the list of these domains or URLs and submitting it to Google.

This is an advanced tool which should be used only with caution. If you used incorrectly, this feature can potentially damage your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that if you believe that there is a large number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you believe that the links are causing problems for you, then you can reject these backlinks.

The main reason for using disavow link is to protect the site from the “bad” link which is harming its reputation (and thus it’s rank on the search engine results page) Bad links can be created for a variety of reasons – competitors can use them to try and move higher in the ranking.

There are three main reasons to use the disavow tool

  • Use Disavow Tool as you regularly check and delete toxic links from your site
  • If your site receives a manual penalty, use the discovery tool
  • Manual penalties are the reason why Google created Discovery Tool in the first place.
  • Use Disavow Tool when your site receives an algorithmic penalty

How To Properly Use Disavow Links

Identify the right links to disavow

The most important thing is here. Do not use the Disavow Tool unless you have tried to delete the link first. The only way to get a full understanding of your backlink profile is to have a thorough analysis of your links.

You can check your backlinks using Google Search Console. You need to see more backlinks than what Google shows you. Therefore you need some professional off-page SEO tools, there are more option to audit backlinks, like Link Detox. This allows you to upload your backlink lists when available. By adding your Link Detox account to your Google Search Console, you’ll add yet another data source to your reports. Once the complete list of unique backlinks is generated, it’s time to identify bad backlinks. There is no easy way to do this – while many online tools can assess the value of a link, they also return false positive because the other site is new or small.

A link audit is definitely the toughest part of the disavow process. This is also the most time-consuming task because you have to review your link carefully and in detail.

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Create Disavow file

After completing the backlink audit and after identifying those backlinks which you want to reject. In this step, you will develop a file that lists contain all the URLs and domains name that you need to remove from Google’s consideration.

Required format

First of all, let’s see the format requirements by Google.

  • It must be a text file (.txt)

We see people, their submissions have problems because they do not make files in the right formats. Do not use .docx, .xlsx, .rtf. Google will not accept such files and some text editor cannot display Disavow file correctly. Then you can use WordPad or Sublime for text editing in disavow file.

Your created file must be encoded in UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII.

  • Each line should have only one link or domain.
  • Your file size must not exceed than 2 MB.
  • You can disavow URL the entire domain. If you have many unwanted backlinks especially from spammy sites, for example, it might be better to reject the whole domain The URL requires “domain:” at the beginning, for example, domain: toxiclink.com
  • It’s recommended to disavow sub-domains separately.

If you want to make your work easier, avoid potential mistakes and you can focus on important things than file formats, then you should use professional tools to automatically create a Google Disavow file for you.

Upload your Disavow file

Now, you are ready to submit your disavow file. Now it’s time to upload your file to Google.

Please note that this point you will be overwhelmed with warning messages given by Google. However, this should not irritate you. If you first went through a completely linked audit, then there is nothing to scare.

  • Log in to your Google account
  • Go to the Disavow Tool
  • Select your site
  • Click “Disavow Links”
  • Choose the file you created
  • Click “Submit”

It will take some time for the disavowal to be processed crawling and indexing, Google describes the process as taking “a number of weeks Disavow Tool is not an SEO tool which will bring the increase of your site ranking and traffic. However, this is a tool that you can do to improve the SEO of your site and use it.

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