Should You Disavow Backlinks?


Have you ever seen some dodgy links pop up in your backlink profile? Have you ever tried building links that are a little bit risky? Whatever the case is, you can always use Google’s disavow tool.

Google’s disavow tool is like a link amnesty. You can choose specific links you don’t want and then Google will ignore them for you. But does it actually increase your rankings? Is it worth your time? 

In this article, you are going to learn more about Google’s disavow tool, what Google has to say about the topic, if it’s worth using, and how to get started.

What Is Disavow?

Basically, disavowing a link in SEO means that you’re asking Google to discard certain links pointing to your site. These links are those that may be harmful for your backlink profile and possibly hurt your rankings in the future. 

There are a few situations where having to discard backlinks may apply.

It may be an algorithmic penalty, a manual action penalty from Google, or a lot of toxic links pointing to your site. At one point, you might even think it has happened because of negative SEO. 

Generally, you should remove these particular backlinks from Google’s consideration when they rank your site. 

What Does Google Say About It Disavowing?

A lot of websites are very strict when it comes to their backlink profile. Whenever they see one or two spammy backlinks pop up in their profile, they suddenly feel the urge to disavow those links. 

Keep in mind that it’s pretty normal to have a few spammy backlinks in your backlink profile.  Getting these types of random links is just a normal part of being on the Internet.

Since 2012, Google has been consistent about how to use its disavow tool. They say their algorithm is smart enough to detect which links to trust and which ones are spammy. With that, Google doesn’t recommend disavowing links.

In fact, if you haven’t received an algorithm penalty, then there’s not much point using the disavow tool. Disavowing links from your backlink profile just for the sake of traffic, won’t actually make a huge difference.

Should You Use The Disavow Tool?

There are times when you might experience a bad SEO that has built a ton of bad links to your site.

You can end up getting a manual action penalty from Google because of the amount of low-quality links in your backlink profile. If this is the case, then you might want to start disavowing links. 

However, if you occasionally get one or two bad links to your site, you don’t need to worry too much about it because it’s a natural part of having a website. 

Personally, I would suggest that you only use this tool if you have experienced a harsh hit to your traffic because of a penalty. Otherwise, it isn’t really worth your time.

Instead of disavowing links and focusing just on that to grow your website’s traffic, you could try to work out if there are any deeper issues.

If you haven’t gotten a penalty yet but still have very little traffic, it may also be because you have to build more high-quality links, publish more content, or target more keywords. 

How To Get Started? 

First and foremost, it’s actually pretty difficult to find the disavow tool in the Webmaster Tools because it’s not there to be used by all webmaster’s.

It only appears during situations when you have an algorithmic penalty or when something extremely bad has happened to your site.

So what if that time comes when you really need to disavow links? Here are the steps on how to use Google’s disavow tool.

  1. Create a text file with the list of links you want to disavow. (Check the correct format for your text file here :
  2. Go over to your Search Console and go to the disavow tool page:
  3. Choose a URL that you want to disavow links from. Click on the orange button to begin disavowing. Google will then show you a caution message about the advanced feature. If you don’t use it correctly, it can actually harm your website more than it can help you.
  4. Click on “Disavow Links”.
  5. Upload the file containing the links to disavow.

Remember that you won’t be getting an instant reaction and it may even take a few weeks before Google’s algorithm begins discarding the links that you’ve just disavowed.

That also means it won’t impact your rankings straight away, especially if you haven’t received a manual action penalty yet.