Disavowing spammy or low-quality links pointing to your domain is a way to tell Google that you do not want certain backlinks to be taken into account when assessing your website. This can be important if you believe that a large number of poor-quality links might be affecting your site’s reputation and search ranking. Here is how to create and submit a disavow file to Google:
Step 1: Conduct a Link Audit
First, you need to identify the bad links. You can use Google Search Console or third-party SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz to export a list of backlinks to your site.
Step 2: Review Your Links
Go through the links to determine which ones are unnatural or spammy. Look for indicators such as:
- Irrelevant or low-quality websites.
- Sites that are not indexed by Google.
- Links with over-optimized anchor text.
- Links from sites that are created purely for SEO link building.
- Any links that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Step 3: Attempt to Remove Links
Before using the disavow tool, it’s recommended to try to remove the links manually. Reach out to the webmasters of the linking sites and request that they remove the links to your website.
Step 4: Create a Disavow File
For the links you can’t remove, create a text file (.txt) that contains only the links you want to disavow.
- The file must be UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII.
- List one URL or domain to disavow per line. To disavow a domain (all pages from a domain), add “domain:” in front of the domain name (e.g.,
- You can include comments for yourself by starting a line with the “#” character. Lines that start with “#” will be ignored by Google.
Example of a disavow file content:
# Comment about the following domain
# Individual pages to disavow
Step 5: Submit the Disavow File
Once your disavow file is ready:
- Go to the Google Disavow Links Tool page (you can search for “Google disavow tool” and select the appropriate link or go directly if you know the URL).
- Select your website.
- Click “Disavow Links”.
- Click the “Choose file” button and upload your .txt file.
Step 6: Wait for Google to Process the File
Google takes some time to process the information you’ve submitted. The disavowed links will continue to appear in Google Search Console, but Google will treat them as though they carry no weight in the evaluation of your site.
- Use with Caution: The disavow tool should be used with caution as disavowing the wrong links can harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results.
- Not Often Necessary: Most sites do not need to use this tool. Google is often good at understanding which links to ignore. Use the disavow tool only if you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you believe these are causing issues for your site.
- Patience Required: It may take weeks, or even months, for Google to crawl and disavow the links you submitted. Be patient and monitor your site’s performance over time.
Remember, the disavow tool is a powerful feature that should be used sparingly. In many cases, Google’s algorithms are sophisticated enough to identify unnatural linking patterns and assess your site’s link profile accordingly, reducing the need to use the disavow tool.