How Google’s Disavow Tool Can Improve Your Rankings

disavow toolSearch engine optimization has gone through many stages. Though trends have come and gone, one aspect is consistent: Backlinks pointing to your website are crucial to your success. Unfortunately, not all links are helpful – that’s where the Disavow Tool comes in.

Quality Matters More Than Quantity in Modern Linkbuilding

Over time, building a link portfolio for websites has gotten more challenging. Google penalizes heavily when it detects an “unnatural” pattern of links pointing to a site. Generally, authoritative sites that share a similar niche to your own provide the most useful links.

Some problematic links include:

  • Sites with little original content or low quality content (for example, “spun” articles);
  • Sites from a radically different geography or written exclusively in another language;
  • Sites that have been compromised by malware or that perform poorly in other ways.

Of course, it’s possible sites like these will link to your own site despite your best efforts. You can get an idea of your inbound link portfolio using Google Search Console, which maintains a clear picture of which pages on the Web link to your content. Third-party services like Majestic can also help.

If you notice sites you deen inappropriate, it’s Disavow Tool to the rescue.

Using the Disavow Tool

disavow toolBy using the Disavow Tool, you have the chance to prune unwanted backlinks from your link portfolio. These links continue to exist on the site in question, but their effect on your search engine position will be minimized.

Getting it done is as simple as accessing Disavow Links in the Search Console. The tool takes a text file where you should specify links to disavow. In general, whole domains – not individual links – are problematic, so you can accelerate the process using the domain operator:

List the domains, one to a line, in a standard .txt file. When listing domains, do not include http://www or any port numbers – either will give you an error. Likewise, the file should be free of comments or special formatting, as it is processed entirely through an automatic process.

After you submit the file, you should receive an immediate confirmation that it was processed successfully. If you need to submit a new disavow file in the future, make sure you’re “building on” the original, as any new upload will completely overwrite what you had.

Congratulations – you are one step closer to having a clean backlink profile!

The new disavow list works to append “invisible” nofollow tags to the specified links. They go into effect when Google next crawls the target sites. By disavowing, you may see significant changes in your search position in a short time. It is worth disavowing any domain that seems suspicious!