Content farms and PPC ads are a huge part of online marketing. They’re the easiest way to get started and get traffic, but there are some drawbacks. Google announced a new tool that will help webmasters clean up their sites to reach the highest positions in SERPs.

In order to be in the top of Google’s search results, website owners need to use their SEO (search engine optimization) tools to rank their website with search terms their customers are using. How do these tools work?

Google’s disavow tool is a powerful way to get rid of links from low-quality, and potentially harmful websites, to prevent their negative effects on your search results. But how do you know if you have a problem? If you want to find out, you can use Google’s Disavow tool, and we’ll explain how to do it here.

Just like you go to the doctor for a checkup every year, you should regularly check the health of your backlinks.

Every year, you should review your backlinks to identify unwanted links that could negatively impact your SEO – and therefore your traffic, SERP position and ultimately your sales.

Fortunately, there are several ways to remove bad backlinks or ensure that they are not associated with you. One such method is to use the Google Disavow tool, which prevents your site from being associated with questionable websites.

In this guide, you’ll learn when to use the Google Disavow tool (and when not to), how to use it, and find answers to frequently asked questions.

What is the Google Disavow tool and when should I use it?

Before we go deeper into the use of this tool, let’s look at the concept of link disavowal.

Good backlinks can increase your domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) scores, increase your visibility in search engines and help you rank higher.

Bad backlinks have exactly the opposite effect. They are detrimental to your SEO and make you lose places in the rankings.

At the same time, don’t refuse to connect left and right.

When you drop a link, you’re telling search engines to ignore that link when they crawl your site.

There are several categories of bad backlinks that you can eliminate:

  • Pages created only for links
  • Clearly spammy pages
  • Links in spam comments
  • Backlinks from websites in non-target countries (for example, a backlink from a German website if your target audience is in the US).

If you don’t have the ability to check spam links, use the Disavow tool to get Google to ignore them.

Google Disavow Tool Warning

According to Google, using this tool incorrectly can have a negative impact on your ranking.

It sounds rather complicated, but don’t worry: Google just wants to make sure you’re not posting the wrong links. You have to ask for the deletion first, and I’ll get to that later.

Be sure to use this tool if you have a large number of poor quality backlinks to your site and you are sure they are a problem.

The good news is that you can improve your ranking if you use them correctly.

Best practices for using the Disavow Tool

There are some important rules to follow when using the Disavow tool:

Google prefers that you try to remove the links yourself before using the removal tool.

This can be done by asking you to remove the link.

A link removal request occurs when a site owner sends an email to another site requesting the removal of a link.

Unfortunately, requests to remove links are notoriously difficult. Often they are ignored, neglected, maliciously or even sent as spam. There is an art to submitting successful link removal requests.

Use it when you need it

Matt Cutts (former head of Google’s webspam team) gives the green light to using the Disavow tool:


Maybe you’re worried about negative SEO or a lot of spammy links pointing to your site. In that case, it would be a good idea to retire. Don’t abandon links, even if you don’t see the message in Webmaster Console.

If your deletion emails have no effect, you can use the Disavow utility if necessary.

Use as a shotgun, not as a rifle

Instead of removing bad links one by one, you can use the domain operator to remove all bad backlinks from an entire domain. It is also a faster way to improve your ranking. It may take longer to get results if you eliminate bad links one by one.

To use the Disavow utility: step-by-step instructions

Now it’s time to see how to use the Disavow tool, step by step.

There are many different tools you can use to get a list of your backlinks.

These services often try to automate the audit process. This saves time, but you won’t get as good a result as if you checked each link manually.

To manually build your own list of backlinks, here’s what you need to do.

First, go to Google Search Console. Click on Links in the sidebar. Download both the latest links and the sample links.

If you have a large number of domains (more than 1,000) linking to your site, you can find more links by downloading a list of sample links every day for a few days.

You can also download links from other sources. You can simply enter your URL here and get a list of all the pages that link to you.

Put your references in a worksheet

After you have compiled the tables of your sources, find the URL column of the referring websites and copy that column into a new table. You can use Google Sheets or Excel, whichever you prefer.

You now have a master list of all the links leading to your website. You’ll see some duplicates, but don’t worry, we’ll fix them later.

Splitting URLs into Subdomains

Create a new column directly to the left of the URLs. At the top of the worksheet (A1), type this formula:


Now select the entire column and press CTRL+D on your keyboard. Therefore, each cell in the row is filled with a formula.

Then select the entire column again and convert the results of the formula into values. Allows you to copy and paste data into the column.

To do this, press CTRL+C to copy and then Edit, Paste Special and Paste Only values.

Then we use the Find & Replace tool to break everything down into subdomains.

With column A selected, click Edit and then Find and Replace. Type HTTP:// (without the quotes), leave the replace field empty, and click Replace All.

Repeat the same steps with these two sentences

  • https://
  • www. (Don’t forget the dot after www).

Once filled, column A contains the subdomains or domains of each URL pointing to your site.

Removing duplicate entries

You will probably have multiple domains with multiple links. We only want one link from each domain. Sort column A alphabetically, then add a new column to the left of the domains. Insert this formula:

=if(B1=B2, duplicate, unique)

Copy it over the entire table (you can also click on the small plus sign in the lower right corner of the selected cell – this is also the fill button).

Then filter this column to show only duplicates. Finally, remove all duplicate URLs.

Now you have a URL for each domain you backlink.

Now click on each URL in your spreadsheet and decide if you want to keep or remove all links for each domain.

If you’re not sure, you can always mark the links as possible and come back to them later when you’ve checked all your links.

Sometimes, if you look at all your links, you might see patterns you wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.

If you’re not sure if you want to post a link, consider these questions:

Will this link help me? That is, can I really get business and/or traffic from this link?

Is this link made 100% for SEO?

If an employee of Google saw this link, would I mind?


Remember, Google only penalizes sites that try to manipulate the system. Every website has its share of unnatural links.

You won’t get fined if you follow the rules. If you see unnatural links, don’t worry.

Create a disclaimer file

After viewing each link, filter the column to see only the links you want to reject.

Then create a new spreadsheet and copy your domains into it.

Next, you want to add the domain :. (without the quotes) for each domain name.

When you remove links at the domain level, you remove all bad links on that domain. If you refuse to link by URL, you are more likely to miss bad links.

You will still want to code at the domain level.

Type the following formula in B1 to add a domain:. at the beginning of each domain name.

= domain:&A1

Use the fill key to paste the formula into the entire column. Select the column again and choose Paste Special, Paste As Values.

Column B is now filled with guidelines for work permits.

Creating a text file

Your disambiguation file must be in 7-bit ASCII or UTF-8 format. You can do this in several ways.

On a Mac, open TextEdit, copy and paste column B into TextEdit, then click Format and make it plain text.

Open Google Docs, copy column B into the document, and then click File, Download As, and Plain Text.

Add a comment

Feel free to add comments to your disavow file by starting your comment with a #. Remember that Google employees do not see your disavowal file.

The Disavow tool is 100% automated. Any comments you add are for your own records. You can insert them to refresh your memory about specific moments when you review the file in the future.

Request for non-recognition

Go to the split tool and select your file from the drop-down list. Double-click the Reject Left button and select Select File. Next, you need to upload the .txt file you created.

This is what a successful disavowal looks like:

Error in the above disavow tool

Errors may occur when trying to remove links.

Fortunately, it is very common for a link exit error to occur. In this video, Matt Cutts talks about common mistakes when using the Disavow tool.

  • All you have to do is upload a simple text file. No sorting, fonts or syntax may be added to this file. People are trying to download spreadsheets, word documents and other file formats. Download only the text file (TXT).
  • Start by using the domain: command when removing links to remove all links on the entire site. In many cases, users try to eliminate certain URLs with a fine-tooth comb. Don’t do that.
  • Incorrect syntax is another common problem. Make sure you use a TXT file with the correct syntax.
  • If you want to comment on why Google should disavow certain links, leave that to the review request. Don’t put it in a text file.
  • When annotating with the de-ambiguation tool, make sure you use tags. Otherwise, syntax errors will occur. In fact, it’s better to limit the comment function.
  • The Disavow tool is not a magic wand that restores all URLs. In addition to using the tool, you should also manually remove your link profile.

Frequently asked questions about the Google Disavow tool

How often should the disavow tool be used?

It all depends on your link profile. For example, if your site has a history of unnatural links, you may need a monthly disavowal. In other cases, it is better to check the links first and then throw them away.

By rejecting rejection, you give yourself time to notice recurring problems and patterns. This will help you make better decisions about link building strategies.

If you have a regular website, with no history of poor quality links, and if you’re not working in a highly competitive environment where negative SEO doesn’t matter much, getting rid of links once or twice a year is quite sufficient.

When should I manually remove a link and when should I use the disavow tool?

Manual delete on the left should always be your first option.

If you get hit with an algorithm penalty, for example B. Penguin, you don’t need to send long emails to site owners asking them to remove links.

In that case you should leave out the links. If you have been affected by a manual penalty, you should definitely try to remove the links manually first.

Can I fix the link if I made a mistake?

To fail again, modify the error file by removing the directive and uploading it again.

Google deliberately introduces this delay to discourage spammers from gaming the system.

How long will it take for traffic and rankings to improve?

Google applies disavowal rules to your links once it has crawled your site.

After loading the guidelines, Google applies the invisible nofollow tag to disavowed links pointing to your site.

This means that these links are disregarded when Google’s algorithm looks at your website.

You’ll have to wait for Google to re-run the algorithm, so you won’t see any immediate changes. Most links are not removed until a month later.

To use the Disavow utility: Quick Start Guide

The Disavow tool is a powerful tool for cleaning up your link profile. How to use it.

  1. Load all references from all sources

Go to Google Analytics, Ubersuggest and Ahrefs to see all your links.

  1. Sorting data

Collect all lists, then remove duplicates and sort.

  1. Check your backlinks

Check the links that are causing problems, remove the ones that are fine.

  1. Manual delete attempt

Send emails to websites asking them to remove the links.

  1. Creating a Text File

Your disambiguation file must be in 7-bit ASCII or UTF-8 format. You can do this in several ways.

  1. Add a comment

Use # to add comments or notes as needed.

  1. Send file to Google

Submit your file and wait for Google’s decision.

How to use the Google Disavow tool Conclusion

Whether it’s the result of hiring a shady SEO agency or a victim of negative SEO, you need to get rid of bad links before you get penalized.

However, be sure not to misuse this tool. Fake links can hurt your ranking just as much as bad backlinks.

The disavow tool isn’t always the magic button to solve your problems, but when used correctly, it should help improve your traffic and SEO.

What results have you achieved with the Disavow tool?

  • SEO – Unlocks a large amount of SEO traffic. To see real results.
  • Content marketing – our team creates epic content that gets shared, attracting links and traffic.
  • Paid media – effective paid strategies with a clear return on investment.

Google’s Disavow Tool is the latest algorithm update implemented to combat the so called “fake news” and “fake news websites” by using its authority over search results. This update is important to understand because many fake news websites have websites that are legitimately ranking in the first page of Google search results.. Read more about disavow subdomain and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you use disavow tool?

The disavow tool is used to remove links from your website that point to a page on your website that you don’t want people to see.

The link disavow tool is a Google webmaster tool that allows webmasters to remove links pointing to their website from search engine results.

How long does it take for disavow tool to work?

It takes about 24 hours for the disavow tool to work.

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