The Google Link Disavow Tool – Pros and Cons

Not too long ago Google introduced their long anticipated Link Disavow Tool. A lot has been said on the web about this tool, what it does and who needs to use it. Now, let me first remind you how Google (and most of the other search engines) work. Even though they have been iterating it again and again that links are losing their power, they are still what they use to arrange search results in a specific order. The Google bot is looking at the links between pages in order to determine the reputable pages that are relevant to their users’ queries. This is how Page Rank is calculated. Page Rank is the best known and most popular metric system and is what many, many spammers are aiming at. We all want first positions in the search results, right.

If you have been target of negative SEO or spammy links, or probably been building “bad links” yourself in order to get that strongly desired high page rank, you might have received a message in your Webmaster tool about “unnatural links” pointing to your website. If that is the case about your site or if you have been hit by the Panda updates, you will want to remove those links. You can contact the owner of the website, whose links you want removed and ask him to do that, but we all know this is not how it always works. Well Google has a solution for that-it is called Link Disavow Tool. Here is how it works-it does work with the Webmaster tool and it will allow you to upload a simple text file with source URLs that are linking to your website that you want to disavow the links from and Google will “nofollow” those links from your site. You need to put a single URL per line. You can either put “domain:” and get all the links from this source deleted from your link profile, or put the precise URL. The Disavow Tool does not work like a robot text file you upload in the root directory of your own website, it only works with the Google Webmaster tool. Comments are allowed in the text file-you can put notes about your reasons for wanting those links removed, if you have already tried contacting the webmaster and didn’t get a response, etc.

One thing did Matt Cutts repeat again and again and again in his presentation- be very, very careful with that tool. There is a big warning that comes up when starting the Link Disavow Tool that says “This is an advanced feature and should only be used with caution. If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search result”. That is not a feature all webmasters should use and Google recommends using it only if you are 100% sure you have bad links in your link profile. And how can you be sure you have bad or spammy links in your profile. Well, unless you received an Unnatural link notice in your webmaster or you were hit by one of the Panda updates and felt a serious drop in your rankings, you can never be sure a link is bad. Some people think that disavowing spammy – looking links before a Panda hit might save them from getting it. But then just because you think a link is spammy or black hat that doesn’t mean that Google is counting it as bad link. So, I think the Link Disavow tool is pretty great, but at the same time ranking dangerous feature, because you will see not an increase but decrease in ranking if you disavow the wrong links.


About the guest author: Katina Gerdzhikova has been working as a SEO specialist for two years now. She shares everything she knows on her SEO blog.

This is an original article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

2 thoughts on “The Google Link Disavow Tool – Pros and Cons”

  1. Unless there is an obvious issue, I’d recommend staying away from this tool. Every site is going to have a handful of bad links. They aren’t going to hurt you as long as the good outweigh the bad. You don’t want to disavow the wrong links and end up seeing a dip in ranking.

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