The Google Disavow Tool: 5 Do's & Don’ts (When & When NOT To Disavow)

When And When Not To Use The Google Disavow Tool

What is the Google Disavow Tool?

The Google disavow links tool is a feature of Google Webmaster tools. It lets you submit a file that tells Google which links you want them to disregard. Here are a few reasons you may want Google to disavow your links:

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  • You think a competitor could have run a negative SEO campaign against your site.
  • You see your rankings drop and think it might be to do with a Google penalty.
  • You have built links in the past that used to work but are now regarded as low quality and could potentially cause you to be penalised.
  • You could’ve been bombed with thousands of spam backlinks.

So, you may ask, when exactly is the best time to use the Google Disavow Tool?

Here are 5 things you should do when considering using it:

1) Compile a list of links that you feel are toxic and potentially holding back your site

The very first thing you will need to do before even thinking about submitting a disavow links request to Google is to analyse your backlink profile. You need to look at the links pointing back to your site very carefully, and in detail, to determine whether or not you think they are toxic links that could get you penalised.

2) Try contacting webmasters first

Although this is widely debated, the next thing you should do after compiling a list of bad backlinks is to make a manual attempt to remove them. You can do this by visiting each site individually, looking for contact details and then sending the webmaster an email; asking them to kindly remove your link/links. Some may not reply and some may not even have a contact page, however before you submit your links to the disavow tool, Google likes to see that some sort of manual effort has been made to remove them.

3) Only use the tool if you are confident

If you are 100 percent confident that the links you have analysed are low quality and potentially stopping your site from ranking, then that is the only time you should really use the disavow tool. You should not use it if you are only 50 percent sure, or guessing that these links are harmful as disavowing them could potentially harm the performance of your site.

4) Be careful and patient

Following on from the point above, you need to be extremely careful and patient when looking at links to disavow because you do not want Google to disregard links that are helping you rank! Therefore, when analysing your backlinks please make sure you take your time and do not rush. I cannot stress the importance of this enough.

5) Use the tool if your rankings have dropped drastically

If your website rankings have dropped drastically and you think this could be due to a link penalty, then this is the time you should use the Google disavow tool. However, remember to first try contacting webmasters before submitting a disavow file. This is not only important because Google likes to see this manual attempt, but it is also important as the disavow request may take months to go through.

Here are 5 things you definitely should NOT do when using the Google disavow tool

1) Do not just blindly disavow your links

The first thing you should definitely not do when submitting a Google disavow links request is to just blindly disavow your links. By this I mean to not just add any links to your disavow file. It is important that you spend plenty of time looking at your links and carefully selecting the ones that are toxic.

2) Do not disavow your links without making a manual attempt

If you do submit a disavow file it can take months to go through and for Google to stop counting the links you have included in it. For this reason, it is important that you do your best to contact webmasters beforehand to get as many links as possible removed manually. Google also likes to see this manual action before you submit your request.

3) Do not submit a list of all your links

This is a huge don’t! Make sure you do not download all of your backlinks to a file and submit the entire list. This would be catastrophic and would drastically affect your rankings. So, before you submit a disavow file, please just double check it and make sure it is the right file with links you actually want to disavow.

4) Do not use it if you are not confident

If you are not 100 percent confident that the links you have selected have caused your rankings to drop then do not use the tool! You don’t want Google to disregard links that are actually providing juice and helping your site to rank.

5) Don’t use it for the sake of it

The final don’t of the Google disavow tool is to not to just use it for the sake of it. Say your rankings have dropped slightly and you THINK it might be because of low quality links then don’t just go ahead and use it. You need to properly analyse your links and give your rankings time to steady.

The main point I would like to get across from this article is to always make sure you are 100 percent confident in the links you want to disavow. Do not use the tool if it is not necessary as you don’t want to cause needless damage to your site and rankings.

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