If you have not yet used Google’s disavow tool, you might want to begin. There is a good chance that you could have unnatural links pointing to your website if your site has been up for several years. After Google’s Penguin algorithm, such unnatural links could hurt your website. In fact, you could even be penalized. The good news is that there are some steps you can take to clean up those unnatural links, including using the disavow tool. Here is a step by step guide to help you learn how to disavow links with utmost care.
What is the Disavow Tool?
First, let’s discuss what a disavow tool is and what it does. The tool was first introduced in the fall of 2013. This is a method introduced by Google that allows you to request that Google not count specified links that are pointing to your website. It is important to be aware that if you do not use the disavow tool correctly, it can actually hurt you.
There are many services available that will provide you with a list of your links. There are also services out there that will audit your links, but keep in mind that it is usually best if you audit your links manually. To get started, you will need to download your links. Some of the best sources for obtaining a list of your links include:
• Majestic.com – This site can provide you with a list of your links if you verify your site.
• Opensiteexplorer.org – Available from Moz.
• Ahrefs.com – This is a paid option that can usually provide you with links you won’t find elsewhere.
Manually Reviewing Your List of Links
Once you have a list of all of your links, it is a good idea to place them in an organized spreadsheet, such as Excel. After you have done that, you will need to visit each URL on your list and determine whether you need to keep it or disavow it. Make a note of that on your spreadsheet. When viewing links to determine whether to keep it or disavow it, consider whether the link was made only for SEO purposes and whether the link has the potential for actually directing clients to your site.
Keep in mind that when Google penalizes a website due to unnatural links, the goal is to lower the ranking of sites that cheat. While most sites will have at least some strange looking links, there is no need to disavow a link simply because it looks somewhat odd.
One of the most common questions about disavow links is how soon it will take before Google will take notice. The good news is that Google will begin applying the new directives for each of the links that you disavow as soon as you upload your new disavow file. In the event that you made a mistake and included domains to be disavowed that were actually good links, you can fix it by simply modifying your file and then uploading it once again, but be aware that it may take some time for the modifications to be implemented.