Not all backlinks to your site have a positive effect on your ranking. Unnatural links pointing to your site can hurt your rankings. Google can even penalize you for unnatural links.
To prevent this from happening, use the disavow tool to inform Google about unnatural links pointing to your site, asking it not to count them when crawling your site.
Using the disavow tool incorrectly can hurt the performance of your site. Disavow only those links that you know were created to manipulate Google’s results. Listing every single link in your disavow file is a total waste of time and effort.
How to Use Disavow?
Create an Audit Spreadsheet
Use an online tool to create a list of links pointing to your site. Many digital marketing firms in Sonoma County and elsewhere recommend manually reviewing every link. Follow these steps if you want to create your own list of backlinks:
- Download all your links (both sample links and the latest links) from Webmaster Tools
- Get your spreadsheet from each source. Copy the entire column that contains the URL of sites linking to your website into a new spreadsheet
- Break URLs to the subdomain level
- Deduplicate the list so you have just one link from every domain
- Check every URL on your spreadsheet. Decide whether you should keep links from this domain or disavow. Mark links as either disavow or keep. When deciding whether you should disavow a link or keep, ask yourself:
- Was the link made solely for SEO purposes?
- Does the link send visitors to your website?
- Would you be concerned if Google discovered the link?
Create Your Disavow File
After assessing every link, filter your disavow column. Add domain in front of each domain name. Next, make a text file. To create a text file, copy the disavow directives into a new Google Doc document. Click File——Download As——Plain Text.
File Your Disavow
To file your disavow file, select your site from the dropdown list in the disavow tool. To upload the .txt file you just created, click disavow links (two times) and select choose file.
If you get an error message, check whether:
- Some domains include odd characters
- Some URLs contain http://www.
- Domains have port attached
WSI Smart Marketing is a leading digital marketing firm in Sonoma County. We realize the importance of keeping up with the rapidly changing SEO landscape. Our digital marketing experts keep a close watch on trends and industry developments. Whatever your industry, we will create an agile and scalable solution that fits your exact needs. To discuss your project with our team, call 707-843-3714.