How to Disavow Backlinks
How To Disavow Backlinks
Backlinks are probably the most important factor for driving search traffic to your website.
They are essential for building your reputation and trustworthiness and helping your site rank on the SERPs (search engine results pages).
However, some backlinks do more harm than good and it might become necessary to disavow them.
But disavowing links is the SEO last resort and should be used wisely.
Consider this a guide on how and when to disavow a link, and perhaps even more importantly, when not to.
What Is a Backlink Disavow & Why Would You Use It?
So what exactly does it mean to disavow a backlink?
It’s when you ask Google to ignore chosen links to your domain.
If the link disavow is successful, it won’t be counted for or against you when determining ranking in the search results.
Keep in mind that Google treats requests as suggestions, and isn’t obligated to accept your request.
So why would you want Google to ignore certain links?
Because not all backlinks are made equal.
Most are an asset, a vote of confidence from other websites, vouching for your trustworthiness and the quality of your content.
But there are some links that can harm how you rank.
Step 1: Create a list of links to disavow
Assemble your list of pages or domains to disavow in a text file that you will upload to Google.
Link file format:
- Specify one URL or domain to disavow per line. You cannot disavow an entire subpath, such as example.com/en/
- To disavow a domain (or subdomain) prefix it with “domain:“, for example: domain:example.com
- The file must be a text file encoded in UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII
- The file name must end in .txt
- Maximum URL length is 2,048 characters
- Maximum file size is 100,000 lines (including blank lines and comment lines) and 2MB.
- You can include comments if you like by starting a line with a # mark. Any lines that begin with # will be ignored by Google.
Step 2: Upload your list
- You can post one disavow list for each property that you own. Uploading a new list for a property will replace any existing list for that property.
- You must be a property owner to upload a disavow list.
- Disavowed links will continue to be shown in the Links report.
- The list applies only to the specific property to which you uploaded it, plus any child properties. So if you have both http and https properties, you should upload a list for each. If you have a disavow list applied to example.com, it will also apply to m.example.com; if you have disavow lists for both example.com and m.example.com, the list for both properties will be a combination of both lists.
To upload the list of pages or domains to disavow:
- Go to the disavow links tool page.
- Select a property from the property list. The list will apply to this property only. If a list already exists for this property, you will see a summary of disavowed pages and domains. Uploading another list to this property will replace the existing list for this property.
- Click the button to upload your list.
- Choose the disavow file from your local computer as directed.
- If the file has any errors, you will see a list of errors immediately. Your old list will not be replaced. You can fix your new list and try to upload it again.
- If the upload is successful, it can take a few weeks for Google to incorporate your list into the index as Google recrawls the web and reprocess the pages that we see.
Remove all disavowals for a property.
If you want to remove all disavowals for a given property, follow these steps. If you want to replace an old list with a new one, you do not need to do this; simply upload the new list.
- Go to the disavow links tool page.
- Select a property from the property list.
- Click Cancel Disavowals. The disavowal list for the selected property will be removed. It can take a few weeks for Google to incorporate your list into our index as we recrawl the web and reprocess the pages that we see.