Google webmaster tools disavow links

At Last – Google Launches Disavow Links Tool

And on the 7th day, the almighty Google bestowed upon an impatient SEO community a disavow links tool. Hallelujah!

Yep, that’s right! A long last Matt Cutts announced the launch of a disavow links tool while giving a talk at PubCon yesterday. Praise to the Almighty G for finally catching up with noisy neighbour Bing and giving the SEO community something it desperately needs.

Disavow what now?

The disavow links tool is a response to a number of problems SEOs and webmasters have complained to Google about for a long time relating to link spam. It allows a webmaster to ‘disown’ links pointing to their website. While Google says this is predominantly for those who’ve received a bad link warning, it will undoubtedly also be used by SEOs as a tool to clean up unnatural link profiles they believe may have seen them hurt by the Google Penguin algorithm.

Prior to having such a tool, if you received an unnatural link penalty, you had no choice other than to start trying to clean it up the manual way, whether you did it yourself or not! This led to all sorts of fear of negative SEO and left users feeling powerless.

The disavow links tool is Google’s solution to this.

Is this not just admitting to building sh*t links?

You might think that by uploading a list of sh*t links pointing to your site and asking Google not to take them into account, you’re owning up to naughty link building. But this isn’t always┬áthe case at all. There are tonnes of circumstances that might mean you need this:

  • Businesses whose former SEO agency have been doing some tut tut, sh*t, lazy and awful quality link building. This is something I’ve personally encountered before.


  • Negative SEO. Some people have been genuine victims of negative SEO!


  • You acquired links from websites that used to be great quality before they became spam networks!


  • Ok, and yes… there is the possibility you would use this after knowingly doing some pretty questionable link building. Google itself mentions in its post that it may be used in these circumstances. Let’s face it – Google used to reward websites for spammy link building with big rankings (and to some degree still does!) so of course this was widespread. This tool lets you clean up your mistakes and move on, in theory.


Where do I find Google’s disavow links tool?

Login to your Webmaster Tools account and go to this URL.

How do I use the disavow links tool?

This is the easy bit! Google’s instructions on this are nice, clear and really straightforward. You need to create a text file with one URL on each line basically – each URL being the URL of a link back to your site that you want to disavow.

Of course, you will need a list of these first. While Google recommends using Webmaster tools to start trying to find links, you will find a much more comprehensive list of links pointing at your site on Majestic SEO or even in Bing Webmaster tools.

You have 3 ways to start a line on this text file, as Google shows us:

Disavow links tool google october 2012

Disavow Links: Text file format

So, there you have it! Go forth and disown those shi**y links….