Understanding Google’s Link Disavow Tool

Image courtesy of Vim Trivium/Flickr.
Image courtesy of Vim Trivium/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Vim Trivium/Flickr.

Google’s Disavow tool has been around for a few years, allowing businesses to tell Google that spammy links should not affect a site’s page rank. The idea behind the tool is to allow site owners and search engine optimisation experts to have more control over the links that point to their websites.

If your business uses SEO, you understand how important links to your website are. These links help Google understand what your site is about and how legitimate it is. As Google analyzes things like these links and your site’s content, it ranks it in its search results. If the links to your website are spammy or were acquired through link purchasing methods or other black-hat tactics, they will harm your site’s rankings.

Link-building campaigns are a popular SEO tool, but Google is making more of an effort to penalize sites that use link building in inappropriate ways. Paid links or spam are both link-building techniques that will harm your site’s rankings.

This is where Google’s Disavow tool, which is part of Google’s Webmaster Tools, comes into play. This tool allows your business to tell Google that these links should not be associated with your website. Google is very clear that site owners should do all they can to remove illegitimate links before they turn to the Disavow tool.

How can you remove unwanted links? There are a few options:

  • Ask the site owner to remove the link.
  • Delete websites you own that are spammy or low quality.
  • End paid link campaigns, asking sellers to remove your links.
  • Remove content with links that you published on low-quality sites.

After you have tried to remove the links yourself, you can use the Disavow tool. Google warns site owners to use the tool carefully. If you use it incorrectly or make a mistake, you risk harming your site’s search rankings.

Google also says that most websites won’t need to use the tool, since Google works to determine which links are illegitimate when assigning page rank, without any help from site owners. However, if your business’ site has lots of illegitimate links to it that are negatively affecting its rankings, the Disavow tool can help.

The Link Disavow Process

Google’s support page has detailed instructions on how to use the Disavow tool. You will need to make sure you are using Google’s Webmaster Tools for your site before you can use the tool.

Before you can disavow any links, you need to download a list of links that point to your website. To do this, login into Webmaster Tools, click on the site that has negative links to it, choose “Traffic” and then “Links to your Site.” Then click on “Who Links the Most” and then “More.” Here you can download the links to your site and decide which ones should be disavowed. Then you can visit the Disavow tool page to upload the links that you want to disavow.

This tool can help your business dissociate itself from bad links that are harming your page’s rankings. While it should be used carefully, it can help your site recover from illegitimate or spammy links.