If your site is having a lot of poor domains linking to it, the best way to address it is using the Google Search Console’s Disavow tool.
The role of backlinks cannot be overemphasized. Good links help to build a website’s authority and improve ranking. Even as top quality links work to strengthen a website, the opposite is true when you have low-quality links.
The first thing to do when you suspect that many links are spammy is conducting a complete backlink audit. In fact, it is advisable to do this regularly to spot potential issues before they become unmanageable.
Remember that while submitting a disavow file is indeed simple, mistakes can be extremely costly. If unsure of how to do it, it is better to seek assistance.
Download the backlinks profile
When you download the backlink profile spreadsheet, it is easy to see other sites that are linking to you. Some of the top tools that you can utilize include;
- Moz Open Site Explorer
- Google Search Console
The debate surrounding accuracy as well as the reliability of the outlined tools has remained a hot button issue. To carry a complete backlink audit, it is prudent to start with the full picture of the profile. It is, therefore, advisable that you download a report from various tools and referencing them with the Remove Duplicates tool in Excel.
If you had previously done a complete audit and only want to check on the new backlinks, the tools help to check additional links acquired within a particular time frame. Therefore, you need not duplicate efforts every time you do a new audit.
Doing a Backlink Audit
After downloading the backlink profile, move to the next step of auditing the links. The core principle at this point is identifying poor sites that are linking to your site. At this point, many people ask; what really is a poor link?
- Sites that are not indexed by Google
- Sites that are totally irrelevant to your website
- Sites that look spammy
- Sites that contain malware
- Sites with poor domain authority
- Links from link networks
- Paid/bought links
When you are going through the sites, any of them marked as poor should be highlighted and copied to a new tab. The recommended step is trying to reach the site and request removal. However, this is usually impossible in many situations. If you try to reach the site but do not get a response, or the promise to remove it is not implemented, the ultimate decision is disavowing the link.
Updating the disavow file
A disavow file is a list of various domains that are submitted to Google Though Search Console indicating that you want the backlinks ignored. By doing this, Google does not factor the poor links when calculating the site’s authority.
Note that the links should always be disavowed at the link level and not URL level. This guarantees you that any link from that respective site will be ignored.
The next step is adding the domain in front of every site. The right format for a disavow file is =”domain:”&A1. Then, drag the formula in the entire column B.
Drag this formula down the entire column B so that your list should look like this:
Then, you need to drop the formulae used in the cells. Highlight the entire column B and copy. When you paste back to the same place as values, the formula will be left out.
Because the disavow file should be in .txt format, consider using Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on Mac. Ensure to save the file under an appropriate name such as The company disavow file date.
Submitting The Disavow File
To submit the disavow file, you should login to the Google Search Console and pull out the disavow tool. If you are doing the first backlink audits, here is what you need to do;
- Select “Choose File.”
- Find .txt disavow file that you saved earlier
- Upload the file and click submit
For those who are updating their links, a backup with the previous disavow file will be visible. Note that to update the links, all you need is downloading the previous file to add the new domains and resubmit.
Google will send a message to the Results box indicating that the file was submitted successfully and has zero errors. When Google crawls your website next time, all the links in the disavow file will be ignored. Note that this can be done as regularly as you like or when you notice bad links pointing to your site.