Google has finally released their link disavow tool enabling webmasters to report inorganic
inbound links for their domains. This document contains a step-by-step guide with screenshots
and a list of best practices including potential problems associated with the use of the tool.
What is the link disavow tool?
The tool allows you to disavow unnatural inbound links for a
domain verified in your Google
Webmaster Tools. Specifically you can ask Google to ignore
links you do not control if you
believe they could be harming your website’s rankings.
“If you believe your site's ranking is being harmed by
low-quality links you do not
control, you can ask Google not to take them into account
when assessing your site.”
What are inorganic links?
Google uses links as one of their ranking signals and they
want them to occur naturally. Paid
links, link exchanges or other types of link manipulation
are considered ‘inorganic’ or ‘unnatural’.
How did I end up with inorganic links?
You may have created some yourself or perhaps your SEO
company did. In some cases even third parties can create unnatural links for you. This can
happen as part of random spam / content scraping, reputation management spam or deliberate
attempt at much debated concept of ‘negative SEO’.
Examples of Inorganic Links
Here are some examples where inorganic links may appear:
● Automated link exchanges
● Low quality article and directory submissions
● Artificial blog networks
● Paid links
● Fake Profiles
● Blog Comment Spam
● Widgetbait Tactics
● Footer Link Spam
● Artificial Blogrolls
The above examples typically exhibit
characteristics of manipulative anchor text
Why use this tool?
There are two reasons why you would use this tool:
Inorganic links could potentially harm your website’s
rankings and by using the link disavow
tool you can specify which links should be ignored by Google
to prevent any algorithmic or manual action against your website.
If your website has been affected by a search quality
algorithm or manual action you can assist in the repair process by specifying which links Google
There are several levels of action Google may take upon
noticing search quality issues including:
● Algorithmic Filter (e.g. Panda, Penguin)
● Manual Action (various degrees of severity)
● Domain Ban
For example, Google recently sent out thousands of
notifications to webmasters whose websites experienced partial intervention and only very
granular action was taken against their content. This could, for example, affect the ability for a
single page or phrase to rank in results after ignoring inorganic links pointing towards that page.
Finding and disavowing unnatural links for troubled pages could be a good strategy to resolve
Use With Caution!
Google’s link disavow tool is an advanced feature,
recommended for experienced and well informed webmasters. By removing good links
you could impact your website’s ability to rank
in Google. If you are certain that the links you are about
to disavow are indeed a part of a link
scheme and you do not control the links then this tool may
be an option for you.
Do I have to use this tool?
No. You have an option to go directly to the source of your
bad links and ask for them to be
removed. Some links are already ignored by Google and will
not affect your website’s rankings.
One such example is any link which contains rel=”nofollow”.
These will neither help nor harm
your website. Another example is various domain information
websites such as domain
information websites (example:
au.similarsites.com/site/dejanseo.com.au) or parked domains.
Google already knows about these websites and deals with
them appropriately on an
Link Disavow Tool: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main