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Disavowing Backlinks: What is it and How is it Done in Console?

Disavowing Backlinks

 A strong backlink profile is a major factor in successful SEO. But do you know what a strong backlink profile is?

Here are some factors which decide that the backlink profile is very strong:

– Quality backlinks

– Authority referring domain

– No link spam

– No link scheme

But sometimes, there are situations where you have all types of backlinks pointing towards your site (due to many reasons). These backlinks include high-quality as well as low-quality ones. 

In that situation, you have to remove these low-quality spammy links. That’s where disavowing backlinks comes into the picture. 

What is Disavowing?

Disavowing means asking search engines like Google to ignore some links to your website. This helps ensure those links don’t impact how your site is viewed and ranked in search results.

This is typically done using a disavow tool provided by the search engine, where you can submit a list of URLs or domains that you want to disavow.

What are Bad Backlinks?

Bad backlinks are links from other websites that can harm your website’s reputation and search engine rankings.

Key traits of bad backlinks are: 

  • Low-quality sources
  • Unnatural patterns
  • Irrelevant content

PRECAP

Understand why disavowing links is key to protecting your SEO and keeping your search engine rankings high.

✅Learn the steps to use Google’s Disavow Tool to tell search engines which backlinks to ignore, safeguarding your website’s reputation.

✅Get tips on identifying harmful backlinks that should be disavowed, including those from sketchy sources or with irrelevant content.

✅Discover third-party tools that can help with the disavowal process, making it easier to manage your backlinks and keep your site’s SEO strong.

Why Disavow Links?

Disavowing links is a crucial step in protecting your website’s SEO. Bad backlinks can harm your site’s search engine rankings. 

By disavowing these links, you show that you don’t support low-quality or spammy sites linking to you. This helps maintain your website’s reputation. 

Additionally, disavowing links can prevent search engines from penalizing your site for having too many harmful links.

Understanding Backlinks and Google’s Approach:

Backlinks are important, but not as much as normal SEOs understand them. They help Google find your website and your content and help understand relevance. But this work is done only with some high quality backlinks

Over time, Google understood and developed algorithms to separate bad backlinks from good backlinks. However, over time, Google also understood that any penalty for bad backlinks would cause more damage to the website. 

Because backlinks can be generated in any way for a website. Google has developed a reward system for high-quality backlinks but has not developed a penalty for bad backlinks. 

However, this does not mean that PBN links or link schemes are harmless. I am only talking about low-quality backlinks, and Google does not penalize them.

How to Disavow Backlinks?

You might encounter backlinks that negatively affect your site’s performance. Disavowing these links is crucial for protecting your site’s integrity and ensuring your search engine rankings remain unaffected. Here’s a straightforward look at how to identify and disavow unwanted backlinks.

Introduction to the Disavow Tool:

Disavow tool is not a direct part of the search console like removals, but it is useful for webmasters and works to remove useless elements like the removals tool. 

With the disavow tool, you can remove bad backlinks found on your website. These backlinks 

  • maybe made by you or 
  • have been made over the time, or 
  • maybe made by your competitor to harm your website. 

You can remove them from the disavow tool. However, before using this tool, it is very important to understand some things.

When to Use the Disavow Tool?

Use the disavow tool only for links you’re sure to harm your site. When in doubt, leave it out.

Accessing the Disavow Tool:

The disavow tool cannot be accessed from inside the search console. It has its own direct link, which you will find below:

https://search.google.com/search-console/disavow-links

By the way, look at this URL carefully, search.google.com/search-console/disavow-links. There is a search console in the middle here. That’s why this tool’s direct access is covered in the search console series even though it is not from the search console. 

If anyone ever asks whether the disavow tool is part of the search console, you can say with complete confidence that it is.

Disavow Bad Backlinks:

Let’s start disavowing those toxic backlinks.

1. Login and Select Website

Log in with your correct Gmail ID and select the website from this drop-down whose bad backlinks you want to disavow.

2. Upload Disavow File

After selecting the correct property here, you will get the option to upload the disavow file. 

The disavow list file should be in .txt format. 

SEMrush, Ahrefs, and all other important tools give you the facility to generate the disavowed file automatically. But if you want, you can easily make your disavow file. Open a notepad and paste all the backlinks that you want to pin, that is, you want to disavow from your website.

Formatting Tips: Type the same backlink URL in one line. 

If you want to disavow all the backlinks coming from a specific domain, then type it in one line like this,

– domain:example.com

– domain:sample.example.com

With this instruction, all the backlinks coming from example.com, whether it is example.com/abcd or example.com/xyz/abcd, are disavowed at once. 

In this one file, there can’t be more than 1 lakh lines, or its total size can’t be more than 2 MB.

3. Finalizing Disavowal

Once you have typed all the URLs in this notepad file, then save it in .txt format and then upload it. 

If there is any error in your file, then an error window like this will appear. 

If the file is correct, then you will see the information like this: 

The name of your file and upload time are shown. 

If you want to cancel the disavow request, click on the cancel button. And if you want to download this file, click on the download list. If you want to upload a new disavow file, click on replace.

How to Find Which Backlinks to Disavow?

Alright, let’s break it down to basics – finding backlinks to kick to the curb:

  1. Grab a Backlink List: Start by pulling up all the sites linking to you. Google’s Search Console is your friend here.
  2. Spot the Shady Links: Keep an eye out for links from sites that just don’t mesh with your vibe or scream “spam.”
  3. Quality Check: If a site looks sketchy or the link to your page is in a weird spot, it’s probably not helping you.
  4. Look for Red Flags: An unexpected flood of backlinks? That could be someone trying to mess with your site’s ranking.
  5. Trust Your Gut: If a link doesn’t feel right and isn’t adding any value, it’s probably best to ditch it.
  6. Save the Winners: Remember, it’s not about ditching all backlinks, just the ones that don’t do you any favors.

So there you have it, a no-fuss way to tidy up your backlink scene. Keep what works, toss what doesn’t, and always go with your gut feeling.

3rd Party Disavow Links Tool 

Here are tools designed to streamline the process, helping you identify and manage backlinks that should be disavowed:

  1. Disavow Files (CognitiveSEO): While CognitiveSEO is a full SEO suite, it offers a feature specifically for managing and generating disavow files. This functionality helps you review your backlinks, decide which ones might harm your SEO, and then easily compile and export a disavow file.
  2. Link Detox (by LinkResearchTools): This tool specializes in identifying toxic backlinks that may harm your site’s search ranking. Link Detox analyzes your backlink profile and suggests links to disavow. It can generate a disavow file that’s ready to upload to Google’s Disavow Tool.
  3. Disavow.it: Disavow.it is a simple, user-friendly tool that helps you compile and format your disavow file. While it doesn’t help with the identification process, it’s perfect for creating a properly formatted disavow file after you’ve identified which links to remove. Just paste your list of URLs or domains, and it generates a file that’s ready to be submitted to Google.

These tools offer a mix of identification and file preparation functionalities tailored toward the disavowal process. 

Conclusion

Through disavowing, you’re essentially telling search engines, “Hey, ignore these links; they’re not a good fit for my site.” The key? Don’t go on a disavow spree.

Use tools, yes, but also trust your judgment. Not every backlink you’re iffy about needs to go.

And remember, mistakes happen. If you disavow a good link by accident, it’s fixable.

It’s a process of learning that links to cut. Give it time, and you’ll get sharper at it.

Keeping your site’s backlink profile clean is crucial, but no need to stress over every single link. Keep it chill and methodical.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can disavowing backlinks accidentally harm my SEO?

Yes, disavowing good backlinks can negatively impact your SEO. Be cautious and only disavow links that are clearly harmful.

Is there a limit to the number of backlinks I can disavow?

No, there's no specific limit, but it's important only to disavow links that are truly harmful to your site's reputation.

How long does it take for disavowed backlinks to be removed from my backlink profile?

Disavowed backlinks can take a few weeks to several months to reflect in your backlink profile and search rankings.

Can I undo a disavow action if I made a mistake?

Yes, you can remove the link from your disavow file and resubmit it. However, it may take some time for the change to take effect.

Should I disavow backlinks from social media platforms?

Generally, you don't need to disavow backlinks from reputable social media platforms unless they are part of a spammy or artificial link scheme.

Sahil Ahuja

Sahil Ahuja

Sahil Ahuja, the founder of Outreach Monks and a digital marketing expert, has over a decade of experience in SEO and quality link-building. He also successfully runs an e-commerce brand by name Nolabels and continually explores new ways to promote online growth. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn profile.

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