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How to Use Google's Disavow Tool

Disavow Tool | 

Link building is a very important offline SEO technique for web positioning that consists of getting inbound links from websites with great prestige and domain authority. The links that point to a web page have a great influence on the positioning since, depending on their quality, they can improve the position in the SERPs, or even penalize the positioning.

The disavow links tool is very useful for SEO as it allows you to eliminate those links that are not healthy for the positioning of a website.

Table of content

What is the link disavow tool?

The Disavow Links Tools is a platform that allows Google to provide a list of links so that it does not include them when positioning us in its ranking. Through the Disavow link tool, a list of toxic links that point to a website can be sent to Google, ensuring that they are ignored and have no weight when calculating the ranking or positioning of the web.

The name of the deauthorization tool refers to the fact that the links sent are ignored or deauthorized, but they will never be removed, as this can only be done by the owner of the site with the link. For SEO purposes, disavowing or ignoring an incoming link is like eliminating it, because it will have no influence on the web positioning thereafter.

When should I use this tool?

Google itself indicates that its link disavowing tool should be used with care since links that are positively influencing web positioning can be ignored, and therefore, harm the position in the results pages.

The two main reasons to use the Disavow tool are:

  1. There are many toxic, fraudulent, unnatural, or very low-quality links that lead to the website.
  2. Poor quality links can cause Google to act against the website.

How to use the Disavow link disavow tool step by step

Let’s see how to use Disavow link disavow step by step.

1. Assess whether it should be used

As it is a tool that will eliminate the influence on the positioning of the links sent, it is important to assess whether it is really necessary to use it, due to the risk of making a mistake and ruining the positioning achieved (then, cannot be recovered).

2. Identify the links you want to remove

Once you have decided whether it is useful to use link disavowal, it is necessary to identify each of those links that you want to ignore in relation to web positioning.

It is important to take your time and carry out this process analytically and objectively, assessing the influence of each of the links that you want to remove.

3. Create a list of links to remove

It is necessary to create a list of pages or domains to authorize in a text file (Disavow.txt file) that will later be sent to Google.

This list must have a specific format to provide the necessary information to be able to disallow the link:

  • The specific URL of the page to be removed must be included (complete sub-routes cannot be disallowed).
  • The domain: value must be added before the URL to deauthorize a domain or subdomain.
  • The file where the list is saved must be in text format and with text encoded in UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII.
  • The file has some limitations such as not occupying more than 2 MB, not having more than 100,000 lines, nor containing URLs with more than 2048 > Characters.

As it is a very large file if there are many URLs to ignore, Google allows you to include comments as a form of organization or clarification. To add comments, the # character must be used, both at the beginning and at the end of the comment (Google ignores everything within those characters).

4. Send the list to Google

The next step, once the disavow.txt file is created, is to submit it to Google. To carry out this process, you have to go to the link disavowing tool page, select a property from the list of properties, select the Upload List option, and choose the text file with the list below. Send.

After carrying out this process, two results can be presented:

  1. The file is uploaded and processed correctly by Google, which means that the process has been successful and that the suggested disavowals will be applied in a few weeks.
  2. Some error occurs in the process, so it will be necessary to review the disavow.txt file and correct any problems or errors, before uploading it again.

The link disavowing tool can be accessed at any time to cancel all authorizations made. To do this, just go to the list of properties and select the Cancel Deauthorization option.

Common mistakes when making a disavow

Let’s look at some common mistakes that are made when inbound links from a website are unauthorized.

Disallow positive links

One of the great risks of disavowing inbound links is making a mistake and including in the disavow list, a good link that is positively influencing the positioning of the website.

Disallowing quality links can have a great impact on the positioning of the web, losing positions in the SERPs, which has cost a lot of time, effort, and money to achieve.

Not correctly measuring the influence of a link

It is not easy to measure in many links if their influence is positive or negative on web positioning. Many SEOs and web developers tend to remove any incoming link at the slightest suspicion that it could be harmful, without precisely checking its reach for the web.

Trust 100% in SEO tools

Platforms like Ahrefs or SEMRush, for example, are very useful for detecting low-quality links that point to a website, but they are not infallible. Blindly trusting the indications and reports of this type of tool is a common mistake when ignoring incoming links, damaging, in many cases, web positioning by eliminating some positive backlinks.

Automated tools are a great SEO aid, but custom criteria and analysis for each link to ignore should be a priority.

Although it may seem easy to use the link disavowal tool, it is a delicate process that must be carried out analytically, to avoid making mistakes that may harm web positioning, rather than benefit it, which is the main goal of removing poor quality or toxic inbound links.