Should you Disavow Links? Things to Know Before Using the Disavow Tool

Google’s disavow tool can be quite useful in your 2022 SEO strategy. However, there are times when you should and should not use it. There are many questions about this tool in the SEO world, and this guide is here to answer them. You’ll read everything you need to know before using the disavow tool – scenarios, methods, and common misconceptions. Let’s jump to the case.

More about the Disavow tool

Before we continue using the disavow tool in 2022, we should tell some basic information about it. The tool appeared back in 2012 when SEO was not nearly similar to the one we’re dealing with today in 2022. This tool is part of Google Search Console, and it helps websites avoid link-based penalties by discounting the value of an inbound link. It’s an important tool for all businesses, as it helps them to protect the reputation of their website from all the bad links.

The way it works is that you report certain links to Google requesting it doesn’t count those links to your domain. However, you should know that these requests are considered suggestions to Google and may not be approved. In case Google accepts your request, it will not count those links when ranking your pages in search results.

Bad links are sometimes difficult to notice, which is why you need a tool like this to help you protect your reputation and keep the search result score high. And if your website is an essential part of your business – bad links and penalties should be your concern.

google search screen
Google can help you with the bad links.

Should you disavow links? Situations where using the disavow tool could help

Well, this is an interesting topic. Google doesn’t recommend using this tool all the time, but only when it’s absolutely necessary. This is not Google’s favorite way of getting rid of bad links, which is why you should use this tool wisely.

Therefore, you need to decide first if it is necessary to take this action. To do this, you should recognize any of the following situations with your website:

  • you have a ‘manual action’ in Google Search Console¬†
  • there’s more than 60% spam score of your links
  • there are links to your website that you don’t want, or they give your website no benefits
  • you’ve noticed a drop in rankings, but you’re sure it’s due to many bad links to your website.

These are common situations where disavowing could help. However, you need to be very careful with it, as disavowing will also lose you any benefits of the links you’ve received so far. This would also mean you’ll have to work hard to replace those links with some high-quality equivalents.

Links that you should consider to disavow

If you are not sure whether or not you should be using the disavow tool, take a look at the common links that are good candidates for it. These include:

  • paid links from unrelated sites, especially the ones that have obvious ‘ sponsored’ labels somewhere around them;
  • links from hacked sites can get you into trouble, making your website participate in illegal action;
  • links from directories that lack authority and quality;
  • PBNs (private blogging networks) may sound great at first, but there are certain risks of using them to generate traffic. Google doesn’t approve PBNs and will penalize those who are using them.¬†
two men using the disavow tool on a tablet
Recognize when it’s time for using the disavow tool.

Reacting on time

Removing bad links doesn’t only come after seeing bad results. Sometimes, website masters decide to go for a proactive disavow action. This can happen if they are worried about the future of their website, even though the traffic may seem great now. This action can make sense in case you see some bad-looking links building up, but be sure to do it carefully, so you don’t lose on some perfectly fine links.

How to disavow links?

There are several steps that will help you report ad links to Google and try to disavow them. Firstly, you can use Google Search Console to do an audit of your link structure. This will help you export all the external links so you can decide what are the ones to include in your report.

The next step would be creating the report. You should make the list of links in a text file, in a simple yet very precise format. In case there are several links, make sure each has its own line, and entries should start with domain: followed by the problematic link. Here you can have separate URLs and entire domains, and we recommend the second option. Disavowing the whole domain will save you time, but also protect you from any future ‘attacks’ from that domain. The text file name is not that relevant, so you can proceed to the next step

Now, you need to go to the Google Disavow Tool in the Search Console. There are several warnings you’ll read first before uploading your text file. Also, you can use some third-party tools to help you with this task – SEMruch, Ahrefs, Moz, etc. Either way, make sure you follow the process and record it, so you can track the results and notice any changes.

seo audit letters
Do an audit of your link structure to understand if there are links you receive no gain from.

Finally, focus more on your backlink strategy. Work with a professional team to help you build backlinks with maximum results, so there’s no need for using the disavow tool ever again. Your website is the basis and the mirror of the success of your business, so make sure it is spotless. Google Penalties can be tough if your business depends on the website, so it’s crucial to do everything to avoid them.

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