How Using Google’s Disavow Link Tool May Help Rid of Bad Backlinks

Bad backlinks and the impact they will have on SEO has become a concerning factor among different webmasters and site owners.  With the introduction of the Penguin update which was set to penalize low value backlinks, the situation will worsen with the upcoming Penguin 2.0. Site owners may be justified for crying foul as they often don’t have control over links from external websites. A competitor could deliberately point thousands of spam links to your site to encourage penalties on your side, a practice known as bad SEO.

Even sites that are not targeted by such spam links may still be penalized for past link building practices as long as they don’t confirm to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, and if they fail to have such links removed.


Fortunately there is a way in which webmaster can resolve the matter, and that’s by using Google’s Disavow Link tool. Basically the Disavow link tool lets site owners submit files through the Google Webmaster Tool listing those links that should be valued and those to be devalued.

Say you have 5 good links pointing back and one bad one. With Disavow link tool you can let Google know of the 5 links you would like considered when your site’s links are valued.

This has actually come as a great solution to webmasters and site owners struggling to remove low value backlinks, and with Google’s Penguin 2.0 set to roll into motion it will be gravely important for site owners to remove poor quality links. However there are some things to bear in mind when using this feature.

Disavow Links May Harm You

Note that if you submit links incorrectly and choose to remove non malicious links your site could drop in search engine rankings. For example, if you choose eliminating links by domain name instead of by individual backlinks you risk removing links from good sites which may have actually contributed to your site being where it is.

Use Disavow Only In the Event of An Attack

With the potential of harming your search engine rankings, site owners should only use Disavow links once sure that they’ve fallen prey to negative SEO, or in the event that certain backlink issues are not resolved with other site owners.

Separate Negative Backlinks from Beneficial Links

Note that the process of separating negative backlinks from beneficial ones can be a hectic process and one that will devour your time and effort. Sites such as Majestic SEO charge $49.99 to retrieve your entire link profile. From then it will be up to you to determine which links are worth removing and which are not. Bear in mind that certain malicious looking links may actually be rated by search engines, and it will depend on how they are placed on the referring site.

How Disavow Links May Harm Your Website Rankings

Google hasn’t really given a solid explanation on how it uses data obtained from the Disavow Link Tool. Although it may remove reported links from your site’s profile, it also reserves the right to thoroughly and independently review your submission and decide on which links to value or dis-value.

Given that the links submitted may come useful as supporting evidence in the event that you want your business reconsidered by Google after penalization in search rankings. With the potential harm associated with using the tool incorrectly it will best to use the services of a qualified SEO professional instead of attempting to troubleshoot and repair damage from SEO attacks on your own.

If you want to know more about using Google Disavow tool in details read this.

Did I missed any point? Are you using this Google Disavow tool? Does it really work?

22 thoughts on “How Using Google’s Disavow Link Tool May Help Rid of Bad Backlinks”

  1. Great post. This tool is another step taken by Google to make the life of webmasters easy & really helpful to remove those links which we can’t get removed by contacting website owners & other sources.

  2. From last few days my blog’s google search traffic is decreased by 80%. I don’t know what is the reason behind it. Is it because of bad backlinks? My blog url is www[dot]thecrazyprogrammer[dot]com, please check it and tell me exactly what is the reason. I will be so much thankful to you.

    1. Hi Neeraj

      I checked out your website, and its fairly new, has a SEO score of 67%. Traffic doesn’t build over night, and i’m suspecting you used artificial link building methods. Do it natural such as commenting on other programming forums and giving useful comments and suggestions. That way you’ll be seen as an expert and traffic will flow naturally. Don’t forget to guest post and share your tips with everyone.

  3. Good points and a good reminder for people who are worried about what if a competitor point bad links towards your site.

    Thanks for the share and I’m enjoying amount of solid tips ABT gives to the reader.. I think ATB should be considered the best authoritative blog which consists of everything a blogger should be knowing about blogging the right way.

  4. Really great article on webmasters and i want a Whole tutorial on it can you help me with that? I just want to know how to add links in .txt file plz help me.

  5. Some time its happened that few thing that are in our favor, with passage of time, those are against to us. It is same situation for Website owners and SEO man. Because before Google Panguin all links are in website favor but as Google Panguin release, all those links with are not according to our keywords or out content, all are become cause of planty from Google.

    Now Google engineers have worked on this problem and they have develop a tool which one now Webmaster are using to remove bad links. This tool is called now Disavow tool

  6. I have few questions.

    I think after the recent Penguine 2.0 update, my website is hit badly as I have lost more than 80% of traffic. After lot of analysis I have done many corrections from Content, links, Technical errors, Blog load time etc. But still I feel I have to do a lot of things. I have gained my 40% traffic back but still working on it.

    I need your help on few things which I am not able to proceed further. They are

    1) I found in webmaster tool under sites link my blog many sites which are not existing now, but they are reffering 30+ links to my site. Examples domains are

    In this case I think I should remove these back links. But I dont know how to proceed in this case.

    2) In most of my articles I used to provide image source website link as dofollow. Is it really hurting my website?

    3) I have removed many W3C validation error, but still 120+ are there which I am not able to fix as they are from blogger side.

    It will be very much helpful if you can explain me these 2 questions or let me know if some post are there which can answer these 2 questions.

    1. Hi Santanu,

      Thanks for your comment and i will try and answer some of questions.

      Your site was hit badly probably because of the badlinks and to some extent non original and unique content. All these factors have an overall effect. Too many websites were getting higher rankings because of automated spammy links, hey you could buy links and get higher rankings which was unfair to all other sites that used natural seo.

      Well now if incoming links are not related to your website or content then trouble looms for you.

      Your answre to 1. I checked those sites and they don’t exist anymore, i reckon they were spammy and you accepted links from them hence you got penalized.

      Your answre to 2. When you place an image from another source without their prior consent and include links to them, they may report you as spam and that will be detrimental to you.

      Work on building natural links such as commenting, guest posting , submitting to authoritative article directories, using Twitter, Facebook etc. These will help in your efforts to rebuild your site.

      Good luck buddie

  7. I receive a lot of emails from people asking me to remove links, links that are on my blog because they hired someone to spam my comments section, when I tell them that I charge a fee for this (why I should remove your spam links for free?), some of them threaten me with the Disavow tool believing it will hurt my blog – it won’t.

    I don’t know why some of them kick up such a fuss as my blog is nofollow.

  8. Hello Josie,

    You have really written this article well and I must appreciate your effort. One of my blogger friend came to me and really furious about decline in his search traffic. I did a few analysis and discovered that someone was point a spamy blog to his blog with over 200 links.

    The Disavow tool which was introduced last year by Google was a life-saver. All that needed to be done was to tell Google to ignore the entire domain and within weeks, things got back to normal. I really hope lot more people can learn from this.

    Nice post buddy :)

    1. Thanks great Nosa, guess the tool really helps cos with over 200 badlinks, your friend was in serious trouble. Now that the tool is available it reduces work in manually searching for such links

  9. Hey Josie,
    Bad backlinks are really risky for every blog. Your point “How Disavow Links May Harm Your Website Rankings” is really helpful for me. Thanks for sharing this great information.

  10. Not only your back links but the back links which you are offering to others with your comments can also hit your site ranking if many of comments are spammy; this happened to me recently when one of my high ranking post got a spam comments and Google blacklisted that post and I lost a huge traffic because of this

  11. Hi Josie,
    I think this feature of Google webmaster will make easier for webmaster to work more accurately as sometime suddenly a bombing click start on your blog so now you can report them through this feature. I have experience of this tool and I found it very helpful for webmaster. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    1. You are right Muhammad, this tools makes it easier for webmasters to work efficiently, but above all to report bad links and saving yourself from penalties

  12. Bad backlinks will too harmful for every blogs. It will penalize any blog by Google. I really like this post as well @josie.

    It’s really valuable and helpful post. Thanks a lot for share your strategy about how to rid bad backlinks.

    Mohammad Reaz

    1. Hey thanks Mohammad

      Yep with Google cracking down on badlinks it will be important for bloggers to avoid being penalized. The homework rests on you and it won’t matter whether or not the links were brought in deliberately by some websites, or are as a result of you allowing them.

      1. My pleasure buddy. I really liked your post. Hope I will get some more posts from you in this blog. I’m regular visitor of this blog and reading all posts.

        Mohammad Reaz

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