“Disavow tool” Now Available in Google Webmaster Tools

By Wioleta Kawecka

Finally – something many webmasters and SEOs alike were waiting for – Google has just announced a tool enabling you to report on “inorganic” or unnatural links. Read on for tips on how to best utilise the tool and avoid potentially catastrophic pitfalls.

“Disavow tool” – What Is It?

Disavow tool enables you to report on the unnatural links pointing to your domain if it is verified in GWT. What it means in practice? If you come across links that in your opinion may hurt your site’s rankings or if you have received one of Google’s Webmaster warnings on unnatural links you can now use Disavow Tool to indicate which links should be ignored and de-weighed. It is important to understand that Disavow submissions are considered “suggestions” not “directives” (similarly to canonical tag).

What links are considered “inorganic”?

As Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts puts it:

“You might have been doing blog spam, comment spam, forum spam, guestbook spam…maybe you paid somebody to write some low quality articles and syndicate those all over the place with some very keyword rich anchor text, and maybe Google sent you a message that says, ‘We’ve seen unnatural links to your site or we’ve taken targeted action on some of the unnatural links to your site,’ and so as a result, you want to clean up those backlinks”

When Should I Use It?

According to GWT, most webmasters will not need to use this tool. However, if you have received a warning in the past or if you believe you were affected by Penguin update – proceed (with caution!)

Official word from Google:

 “If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. We recommend that you disavow backlinks only if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you. In most cases, Google can assess which links to trust without additional guidance, so most normal or typical sites will not need to use this tool.”

Disavow How To

Once logged in to GWT select the domain you believe is affected by inorganic link building.

The file format required is .txt, with one URL per line. Size limit is 2MB.

–          You can disavow links coming from a specific page

–          You can disavow links coming from a domain

–          You can add comments by using hash sign (#) – these will be ignored by Google.

–          You think you have disavowed incorrect link? You can edit the once uploaded file.

Currently Google supports one Disavow file per GWT profile.

Need more info?

If you need more information on how to use disavow tool, or your organic traffic has been affected by Penguin – contact first.com.au