How to Disavow Links that Hurt your SEO

Disavow Links to Help SEOHelp your SEO with Disavow Links

If you are one of those law firms who suffered from a so-called SEO expert telling you to buy links, or get whatever links you can, no matter what, you might have found your ranking badly hurt by the changes Google has implemented over the past year or so.  The reason for this is that Google has actually started penalizing sites (either manually or algorithmically) that show signs of having purchased or engaged in other link building behavior it doesn’t like. Fortunately, you can fix this problem. Simply get rid of the bad backlinks (links to your site from other sites.) There are two ways to get rid of the links. Ask the web master of the site or use the disavow links tool.

What if the Website Owner Won’t Cooperate?

Your first step should always be to communicate with the website owner and ask him or her to remove the links.  If the person refuses to cooperate, your next step is to use the Google disavow links too.  This tool essentially tells Google, we don’t want these links, please don’t calculate our SEO based on the fact they link to our site.

Here is how it works.

Claim Google Webmaster Tools

If you haven’t already done so, you need to set up Google’s webmaster tools for your website.  If you haven’t done so go to the Google Webmaster tools site and sign up. Then just add your site. You will need to take a couple of steps to connect your site to the tools.

Go to Disavow Links

Make sure you are signed in to your tools. The go to the Disavow links.

Upload the Links

Identify the links you want to remove. You probably have already done that. But if not, look at your links in the webmaster tools. Next, create a plain text document, and put a statement with # at the top explaining why you are disavowing the links. Google wants to know that you tried to contact the folks first.  Then you will put one link per line on your document.  It will look like this.

#contacted webmaster no response

If you want to disavow a specific domain, do this domain:  (there is a space between the : and shadyseolink)  It is frequently easier to disavow an entire domain than just a specific link.

When you are done, save the document as a .txt file.  Then upload it.  Do not try to make this file in Word or similar word processor. Use something like NotePad, a free program included with Windows.

That’s it.  If you want to disavow more links in the future, you can just edit the same document and re-upload it. Or you can download the document from Google and edit it.

Be Careful What you Disavow

If you disavow good links, you will hurt the ranking of your website.  Also, remember, give people a chance first. Always ask the webhost to remove the link and give a reasonable amount of time for a response.  If the person wants to keep the link, you can always ask for a nofollow link instead. This prevents Google from calculating the link in your SEO rank.

Keep in mind, you won’t make many friends if you just randomly start disavowing links and it is possible Google might penalize people who over use the tool.  Disavow links is a tool that should be used appropriately. However, by using it, you can help your SEO if it has been harmed by bad backlinks.

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