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How To Use The Disavow Tool – A Quick Guide

In the last several years, Google has rolled out several updates targeting websites with low quality and spammy backlinks. Besides the algorithmic updates, Google also initiates over 400.000 manual actions each month.

In 2012, Google has released a disavow tool that can help webmasters tell Google what backlinks they don’t endorse, and want to ignore.

If you are one of the unfortunate ones that have received a Google penalty, or you just want to disavow the bad links of your website, keep reading this article, and I will show you how to create a disavow report that you can later submit to Google Webmaster Tools.

To learn more on how to use the disavow tool, check the video tutorial below.

Getting started

Google recommends using the disavow tool with caution, only as a last resort. If you have little experience with SEO, read my previous articles on how to identify the bad links of your website, and what backlinks are against Google Webmaster’s policy.

Matt Cutts also recommends webmasters to try to remove the bad backlinks before creating a disavow report.

Checking your backlinks

The easiest way to create a disavow report is to use Monitor Backlinks.

To get access to all your website’s backlinks, you have two options.

1. Login to your Monitor Backlinks account and connect your domain with Google Analytics. Our tool will automatically extract all your website’s links.

2. The 2nd option is to go to your Google Webmaster Tools account, click on “Search traffic” and “Links to your site”. From the module “Who links the most”, click on “More”. Next, click on “Download latest links”.

With the file report downloaded, go to your Monitor Backlinks Import page, and click on “Import links from file”.

import links

Upload your file and click “Upload & Import”. Our tool automatically detects your file structure, and it will gather all the important SEO metrics you need to determine if a link is good or bad for your website’s SEO performance.

If you need a more detailed article on how to import your links from Google Webmaster Tools, Majestic SEO, Moz or Ahrefs, check this guide.

To easily determine what backlinks you should remove or disavow, you can use Monitor backlinks filters to sort your links. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Google ignores nofollow backlinks. Therefore, you should pay attention only to your dofollow links. To view all dofollow backlinks of your website, click on the green icon from the left side of your backlinks page.find dofollow links
  • Start by looking for websites that are of very low quality and have very thin content, such as: social bookmarking websites, auto approved comments, backlinks from websites with duplicate content, links from irrelevant and low quality pages, and directories.
  • Look for websites with high external backlinks. Click on filters, then on “ext”, to view all your backlinks that have more than 100 external links.
  • Sort your links by their social media activity, and start by verifying those with very few social media shares. From your backlinks page, check the column “Social signals”.
  • Look for links coming from irrelevant domain extensions. Check the column “TLD”.
  • If you have been penalized by Google Penguin, check for the backlinks that use your over optimized anchor texts.

How to create a disavow report

Now, with access to all your backlinks, you can sort them to find the ones that you want to remove or disavow.

Once identified your website’s bad backlinks, select them and click on the button “With selected”. Here, you can choose to disavow only the link or the entire domain. Check the screenshot below.

disavow-your-bad-backlinks

All the backlinks you have disavowed will be highlighted with red, to easily find them in your dashboard.

Now repeat the process with all the backlinks that are bad and you consider to be a threat to your search engine rankings.

To view the links added to your disavow list, go to “Filters”, and from the right table, select “disavowed”.

find-the-backlinks-you-wanted-to-disavow

This is how you get to see all the bad backlinks you have already tagged.

To export all your links in a .TXT format, check the Disavow page, from the top menu.

create-and-export-disavow-report

Here you can manage the links you have disavowed with Monitor Backlinks, and you can easily create a report that you can submit to Google Webmaster Tools. Simply click the button “export”, to create and download your file. It will use the correct format agreed by Google, so you don’t have to make any additional changes. From the disavow page, you can also upload a previously created disavow file, and keep track of the all backlinks you have already submitted to the Google Disavow Tool.

manage disavow report

Submit the disavow report

So far I have showed you how to analyze the bad backlinks of your website, and how to create a disavow report with the links that you couldn’t delete or remove. Now you will have to submit the report to Google Disavow Tool.

Follow the simple instructions and with just a few clicks of a button, you can upload and submit your disavow file.

disavow report

Conclusion

Don’t think of the disavow tool as the bailing ticket. If your website has been penalized, you will have to keep an eye on your backlinks and always try to remove the low quality ones.

The disavow tool is just a piece of the puzzle needed to remove a Google penalty. Always try to delete the bad backlinks, and disavow the ones that you could not remove.

Use Monitor Backlinks to sort your links, and create a disavow report with just a few clicks.

 

Comments

3 Comments

Muba Mi

Hi Felix
You are right spamy backlinks are always pain in the ass. That is why it is better to purge your blog from these nasty things.
Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post to help clean our blog from dirty links

Chalat Itwang

Hello Felix,
I think Google disavow tool doesn’t worked properly, I discussed this thing with another SEO consult, they said we have to email siteowners for remove spam links.
I need your opinion, please share your thought at this time.

Jerome Williams

Hi Felix,

Great article! Really learned a lot. Thanks for sharing such important information!


Leave a Comment

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