Google’s Disavow tool is one of the most mysterious tools, and yet others would say that it’s a lifesaver. If your site has gone through a recent Google penalty from bad link building, it can be the easiest way to get your traffic back. However, it can also mean extreme frustration.
Even Google tells webmasters not to use its own product because the disavow tool can be misused and incorrectly disavow good links for the sake of removing a penalty. If you are trying to get rid of a web penalty, the disavow tool is an appropriate way of dealing with bad links. However, there is a better method to ensure that you get it right the first time.
Remove Links First Before Disavow
Google has punished sites because they don’t like certain “shady” links pointing at your domain. Google wants these links removed first. It’s the effort that counts, so if you have thousands of links, you just have to dive in and show proof to Google that you are trying to get these links removed. There are easy ways to do this.
Collect Your Links
Google has a nifty thing called “Latest Links” report that you can access directly from Webmaster Tools to get all of your links together.
Find the Rotten Links
There are a variety of tools to help webmasters find rotten links. There’s also a manual method for link analysis. Ideally, you want to use both of these methods to ensure that your link profile is good again.
To manually find low quality links, use this bad link guide that has easy step-by-step instructions.
For automatic and easy-to-use link research and removals tools, use one of the following:
- Link Detox
- SEOgadgets Link API Extensions for Excel
Once you have got all of your links together and know what the bad ones are, you can start the task of asking sites to take them down.
Send Out Tons of Emails
You’ll be writing a lot of emails in order to get these links taken down. The key is to be informative but polite. If you want some tools to help with your quest, just check out:
Update Your Evidence Frequently on Google Docs
When you start this process, you need to take note of everything that you’re doing to get these bad links removed. When you make a “reconsideration request” because of a Google penalty, they want to see evidence that you are getting the links removed and taking steps to improve your link building.
Format Disavow Files Correctly
After you have submitted a reconsideration request and gotten links removed, you can use the disavow tool. However, this file must be uploaded to Google in .txt format and also “must be encoded UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII” in order to be approved.
Disavowing links is just one way to get through a Google penalty. There may be more in store for a website with the latest algorithm changes. You should always stay tuned to the webmasters blog on Google and Bing for updates.