How to Disavow Bad Links

How to Disavow Bad Links

When it comes to people linking to your site, it isn’t about the numbers that you get, but about how high the quality of those links are. There are many dubious sites out there and some of them may try to link your site with theirs. So how can you get away from them?

Google invented the Disavow Tool specifically to deal with these shady links. This tool tells Google to remove these sites from your ranking factors when indexing the site.

Why use the Disavow Tool?

  • If you get a manual penalty.
  • If you get an algorithmic penalty.
  • As you remove toxic links on a regular basis.

How to use the Disavow Tool

  1. Try to remove the link first.

Ask the webmasters of the site that is linking to yours to take it down. You can do this by finding the link in Google Webmaster Tools; audit the list of links and research the internet for the webmaster information. You can use an email address or contact form to contact them. Ask, and wait a week to see if they do. If there’s no luck, try again, and if it still isn’t removed, create the disavow.txt file.

  1. Create a disavow file.

Things to remember when creating a disavow file:

  • One link per line.
  • It needs to be a text file (.txt).
  • It should be encoded in UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII.
  • Domains require ‘domain’ at the start of the URL, i.e.,
  • Record your removal attempts, but put # at the start of each line detailing this.
  1. Disavow Away

Submit to Google by logging into your account, going to the Disavow Tool and clicking ‘Disavow Links’. This will give you the option to upload the .txt file you have created. This process isn’t instant, so don’t worry if it takes a while.


Image credit © Peter Barr: