When penguin was released on 22 May 2013, the sites relying on paid or completely irrelevant links were drowned down the shock waves as Google punished them severely. All the webmasters that were affected by this blow are desperately checking out options to recover from the loss. Penguin 2.0 attached everything that came under the category of blackhat SEO practices.
Low quality articles, bad links, over SEO, back linking etc was penalized by Google penguin 2.0. Disavow tool is been looked upon like a savior for this entire problem.
What is Disavow tool and when it should be used?
It is a feature by Google which helps you in removing the links which you consider bad or irrelevant. Though it may look like an easily usable tool, a large number of webmasters wont me able to utilize it completely. The tool should be put to use only when you have tried to remove all the bad links yourself. Once you fail in removing it, and then opt for this tool. Directly opting for it, without making any necessary attempt won’t work well for you. When all the attempts of removing the links fails, Disavow tool should be brought up in use.
Google has emphasized on it clearly that all the sites would not require using this tool. Also those who have severe problems in removing the links can use it and it is not developed for everyone. If your site has bad back links or spammy links, do consider using this tool.
Importance of Page Ranking
According to Google, page ranking is of utmost importance. Also it is highly dependent on number of links that are entering the site. The quality of the site would be judged based on the links associated with it.
Also Google understands the problem of site owners and they make sure that any third party sites having minimal relevance affect the original ones. For e.g. you as a site owner would have hired the best SEO practice in town. But sometimes the bad SEO practitioners, in order to bring the site on top, violate the SEO rule and take help of bad links which is punished by Google later on. Google has requested all the webmasters to remove such links from their site. While removing if you find out any links that has been implemented by the previous SEO person and is not getting removed, you may take the help of Disavow tools.
Simply using the tool is not what Google expects from you. Work on the site yourself first. Try removing the links and even then you face some problem, use the tool.
How to use Disavow links
Using this tool requires few steps to be followed.
- Download links to the required site
- Create a folder having all the links you require to disavow
- Upload the file folder on Google and they will take care of it
While downloading the file that has the pages linking to the site, the format must be .txt. Also the file needs to be encoded in UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII. The file should contain only those links that you wish to disavow. Every line should have one link only.
If there are bunch of links which belong to a particular domain and you wish to eradicate al those link put it as:
If you wish to exclude any links mention it with“#” in beginning. Any file with # in the star would be excluded.
“Most sites shouldn’t use this tool. Use caution. Don’t just start disavowing links. Please start slow.” – Matt Cutts
“Click to Click” procedure
The file size is limited to 2MB
How to get reconsideration?
- Remove all the unnecessary links from the site
Google expects you to make efforts in removing the link. Disavow should be the last option. Try removing it yourself first. Google does not expect an 100% accuracy but every effort you make counts.
- Link Report
Download the latest link repost from webmaster tool.
- Pick out the bad links
Remove the bad links either manually or use various links removal tools like link detox, remove’em etc.
Send lots of emails to get the links removed. Various outreach options are buzzstream, rmoov etc.
- Google Docs
While documenting the things do not submit any link to webspam team as they might end up in clicking on any of them. Share it all with Google Docs. This would turn in your favor.
- In appalling situation
Remove the entire domain if you doubt it. Use disavow tool for it
- Proper Formatting
When you upload the file for disavow on Google docs, it should be in proper format. Many files get rejected due to lack of formatting.
- Screaming Frog
Download your latest track of links from Google webmaster to screaming frog or any other crawler for that instance. Anything that comes back as 404 is a threat. List them in a separate sheet and be sure you remove them instantly.
Disavow tool is a very useful feature for gaining back the reputation lost to penguin, but at the same time, it is damn tricky. If not used properly it would back fire on you. Google has made it very clear that use the tool only when it is the last option left. If you think you can dump all your bad links and upload it using disavow tool, sorry to say, but it won’t work. Make efforts, Google want to see you doing it.
If you were hit by Penguin and know or think you have bad links, you should probably use this tool." – Matt
If you have suffered a manual penalty, don’t forget to file a reconsideration request. Nothing would work without it.