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Google Disavow Tool

The Disavow Tool was created by Google to give webmasters and domain owners a means by which to clean up poor quality backlinks that cannot otherwise be removed. However, while the Disavow Tool is an important and useful part of any link audit and removal process, it can also do immeasurable harm when used incorrectly by someone without experience and expertise in removing Google penalties.

Think of the Disavow Tool as a very sharp double edged sword. On one edge is the best tool for getting Google to ignore poor quality backlinks. The other edge is a dangerous tool that will slice your SERP's to ribbons if your link audit isn't precise and you inadvertently submit domains containing high quality links in your disavow document. You're probably thinking that it goes without saying that you would never include good links in a disavow document. Perhaps, but that may not be as easy as you think, especially if your website has thousands of backlinks coming from hundreds of domains, which is often the case. It takes time, experience and a keen eye to weed through all those links to find the problematic ones.

The Google Disavow Tool can be used as part of the process to recover a website's rankings after it has been penalized by an unnatural links manual action or by the Google Penguin algorithm update, which essentially penalizes websites for any number of problems with their backlink profile. The difference is that with a manual action penalty, you can then submit a reconsideration request to Google after using the Disavow Tool and ask that they remove the manual penalty. With a Google Penguin penalty, the Disavow Tool will help you clean up and improve your backlink profile, but your only option after using it is to wait until Google runs the algorithm again and hope that your SERPs recover.

Note that we say that you can use the Disavow Tool, not that you should, use it. This is because Google advises that the Disavow Tool should be thought of as a last resort after you've exhausted every other means to get rid of bad backlinks. The reality is that if you have a lot of bad backlinks there is no way you can ever get rid of them all so the Disavow Tool is your best, last option.

Before you use the Disavow Tool, Google will want to see that you have done some work in attempting to get your poor backlinks removed on your own. In fact, Google wants to see a great deal of work before you use the Disavow Tool.

The Disavow Document:

Recommended steps to take before submitting a disavow document to Google via their Disavow Tool:

  • Clean up your backlink profile: Google wants to see evidence that you have done a complete audit of all of your backlinks, that you have clearly identified all poor quality backlinks and that you made several attempts to contact domain owners and webmasters requesting that they remove these links to your website.
  • Create a detailed worksheet: In order to record and track your backlink audit and your outreach campaign you should create a detailed worksheet or Google doc spreadsheet. This worksheet will be indispensible when it is time to submit your disavow document. It should list all bad backlinks and domains, webmaster contact information, dates of your actions, replies to your requests and a list of links you had removed.
Once you are satisfied that you've done everything in your control to have as many poor quality backlinks removed as possible it is time to use the Google Disavow Tool for those links that you have no control over and have almost no chance of getting removed. Or you could make the smart choice - and let the experts at PenaltyBeGone take care of it for you. The PBG proprietary penalty removal process is your best option for creating an effective, Google-compliant disavow document that will jumpstart your way to a penalty-free website.

The PBG Disavow Links Process

  • Comprehensive review and analysis of backlink profile to identify poor quality backlinks and incorrect use of anchor text.
  • PBG Findings Report - summary of PBG findings following site analysis including recommendations for remediating all areas of concern.
  • Identification and isolation of poor quality links.
  • Create action/tracking spreadsheets to record and monitor link audit and link removal process and to create reports to be submitted to Google.
  • Outreach campaign to domain owners/webmasters identified as having poor quality links requesting they remove these links.
  • Follow-up requests to domain owners/webmasters
  • Track compliance to our outreach campaign.
  • Create and submit Google recommended and properly formatted Disavow document for all links not removed during outreach program.
  • Monitor and respond to all Google replies and notifications.