Google Disavow links tool is one of the most awaited and talked feature after Penguin update. Before I talk about this latest addition from Google Webmaster team, lets do a Time-travel. Back in April, When Google launched Google Penguin update, which is one of the major update after Panda algo change, it storm the whole SEO blogsphere and it cleaned the link spam by Private blog networks, bulk link buying or link spam in any possible ways. Though, at the same time it created a new problem and that is negative SEO.
Since Penguin was targeted to penalize site using spam methods to generate backlinks and manipulating search engine ranking, people started abusing this system and started creating spam links for legit sites, to lower down their ranking. Some of them succeed and many brands were unaffected via negative SEO campaign. Though, this lead to one major problem and that is controlling the backlinks pointing to your site. Bing understood the situation of Webmasters and launched Bing Disavlow links tool after penguin update. A Similar link Disavow tool was highly expected from Google and today, Matt Cutts announced the launch of Google Webmaster Disavow links.
What is Google Disavow link tool?
Let me explain this in simple words: If you understand the above concept of Negative SEO, you would know that negative SEO is one of the dark side of SEO and specially when Google made it clear about the penalizing sites involved in any kind of link spam. Anyone can go to sites like Fiverr and use those bulk link building services to generate 10000-20000 links within a day or two-day time, and can affect any site search engine ranking. It’s not necessary that your site will be hurt with such links spams, but a well planned SEO attack can completely take down a site ranking.
So how a Webmaster controls such link spam?
Earlier there was no direct and easy way to control such link spam apart from Emailing the Webmaster and asking them to remove the links. Specially when such links are created using for spamming purpose, in most of the cases you will not be able to reach the Webmasters or your request will not be entertained.
Google Disavow link tool is an attempt by Google to give power to Webmasters to report and submit such links to Google and if they got hit by negative SEO or any Penguin update, this will help them to quickly get out of it. Technically, Google by default spot spam links and spam sites and in most of the cases such links will not harm your site performance. Though, this is not necessary and many Webmasters have seen getting affected by such spam links and number is rising with each Penguin data refresh and update.
This is what Google official page for Disavow links says:
If you’ve done as much work as you can to remove spammy or low-quality links from the web, and are unable to make further progress on getting the links taken down, you can disavow the remaining links. In other words, you can ask Google not to take certain links into account when assessing your site.
In short, Google will not value links from any such domains, which you have reported using Google disavow links tool.
How to use Google Disavow link Feature?
First of all, this feature is not for everyone to use. If your site is affected by spammy links and beyond your control, Only then use this feature to get rid of such spam links. Specially for Websites which is affected by Penguin updates, you should consider using Google Disavow link feature right away. Though, the hardest part is creating a list of links which you wish to disavow. You can use Google Webmaster tool to Download a list of backlinks pointing to your site. Though you can use any 3rd party backlink checker tools and my favorite here is Ahrefs which not only monitors old links but you will be able to see the list of all new links and dead links.
Now create a text file and write one links/line which you wish to disavow. If you wish to ignore a complete domain which is sending too many spammy links to your site, you can simply use domain: example.com in that text file to ignore links coming from entire domain. Once your list is ready, simply go to Google Disavow links page here, select your domain from dropdown and click on Disavow links.
On the next page, click on Disavow links again and it will open a pop-up and you need to browse and upload the spam links text file you just created in the above step. Click on upload and submit and that’s it. You have successfully reported all spam links to Google.
Here is a detailed video by Matt Cutts, where he talk about Google’s new disavow links feature and before you use this feature, I recommend you to watch this video.
Also, when you want to add new links to your Disavow link text file, Google give you an option to download and add, remove links from existing file. To see the effect of uploaded file, it may take up to 1-2 Week, as Google will reindex and recrawl those pages. As mentioned by Matt Cutts, this is just the initial phase of this tool and in coming days we can expect a better version of this feature.
My suggestion is to use this Feature only when you know what you are doing else let your SEO guy do it for you. Getting any wrong link disavowed might lead to drop ranking for your site. Also, if you are one of those who have received spam link warning in Webmaster tool, it’s time to cheer up and give a nice rebirth to your dead sites which got penalized by Link spam. You can read more FAQ regarding disavow tool here.
- Recommended reading: How to File DMCA using Google Webmaster tool
Though, Google should consider adding this tool in more visual form as it will not only help them to find more spam sites but will give a quick access to this tool. Right now, whole process of finding links, creating a text file with links you wish to disavow, seems to be lot of works. Though, none the less, this feature is something every Webmaster have been waiting for and finally it’s here.
Do let me know how’s your experience with using Google Disavow links? Which tool you used to find the spammy links pointing to your site?