When & how to disavow backlinks in 2021


Okay, maybe it’s not that surprising that checks & phones still exist. But for some reason, people think links penalties are outdated too.

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There are legitimate reasons why people think this, và I’ll go inkhổng lồ those in a minute.

For now, keep in mind that links penalties still happen.

Because liên kết penalties are still around, you need khổng lồ constantly audit your link protệp tin lớn make sure it stays clean.

That also means you’ll need khổng lồ become a master at using Google’s Disavow Tool.

Disavowing links is an important part of any backliên kết strategy.

Unfortunately, it’s often the part that I see people put the least effort into.

So in this article, I’ll show you how khổng lồ use the Disavow Tool. I’ll tell you when to use it so you don’t waste any time disavowing link that don’t need it.

Ready? Let’s get started.

Why và when should you disavow?

First, let me address these two questions.

If you don’t already know what disavowing a link is, it’s basically telling search engines that you don’t want them lớn consider certain link when crawling your site.

Why would you ever want lớn eliminate a backlink from your site?

The more link that are pointing to lớn your site, the better, right?

Not always.

There are some links that will hurt your site’s SEO if you don’t remove them.


Source: Solidtechdev.com

The #1 reason you should disavow a link is because it’s spammy or low quality.

Unfortunately, many sites fall victyên to lớn these kinds of liên kết.

There are a few categories of bad backlinks:

Sites set up just for linksObviously spam sitesLinks in spam commentsBacklink from sites in your non-target country/countries (e.g., a backliên kết from a German site when your audience is in the U.S.)


Source: Waterang.com

You might be wondering why this is such a big khuyến mãi at all.

In Google’s words, “a links from a site is regarded as a vote for the quality of your site.”

Good backliên kết can raise your Domain Authority (DA) & Page Authority (PA) scores, increase your visibility in search engines, and help you rank better.

Bad backliên kết do just the opposite. They harm your SEO và cause you lớn lose ranking.

With that said, you shouldn’t go disavowing liên kết left và right.

In fact, Google has a warning about the Disavow Tool on their support page:


That seems pretty intense! It makes you second guess using the Disavow Tool.

But don’t worry about it.

Google just wants to make sure you’re not disavowing the wrong link. You should request removals first, và I’ll talk about that later.

So here’s the million dollar question: What doesn’t count as a “normal” or “typical” site?

In other words, when would you need khổng lồ disavow a link if Google does most of the work?

There’s also been a lot of talk about Google’s new algorithm rendering liên kết penalties useless.

This idea came from a Facebook conversation between Google’s Gary Illyes và Search Engine Land’s Barry Schwartz:


Barry concluded the article with, “So in short, it seems Google Penguin no longer penalizes the site or specific pages but rather ignores/devalues the spammy links and thus the rankings are adjusted.”

This made it seem like webmasters would no longer need khổng lồ use the Disavow Tool.

But that conversation isn’t the whole picture.


Over at Moz, Michael Cottam found this wasn’t exactly true:


He’s talking about the difference between manual and algorithmic penalties.

Manual penalties are links penalties that a Google staff member personally hands out. An algorithmic penalty is one that Google’s Penguin algorithm hands out.

What Michael found is that algorithmic penalties are still being given out by Google.

So what’s the bottom line?

Although Google does have sầu excellent systems in place, some bad links still slip through the cracks.

And while Google’s Penguin algorithm might not be handing out any more penalties, Google still does assign penalties.

These two reasons are why you still need khổng lồ disavow bad or unwanted liên kết.

If you learn khổng lồ use the Disavow Tool well, you can avoid low-chất lượng backliên kết and make sure your SEO is the best it can be.

Before you disavow…

Don’t forget that disavowing a link is always the last resort.

Essentially, disavowing a link is telling Google that the link is a threat khổng lồ your site. It’s a serious action khổng lồ take.

So you shouldn’t disavow link indiscriminately. Like Google says, you could hurt your own SEO, và that’s not what you want.

Before you disavow, try manually requesting a removal of the links.

The best way to lớn go about this is to lớn email the owner of the site. Typically, there will be a support or tương tác tin nhắn at the bottom of the site or on a tương tác page.

You might also find tương tác information on an About page or in a sidebar.


Source: Coffeewithus3.com

In any case, there should usually be tương tác information somewhere on the site or on a social truyền thông media network.

If you can’t find any information on the site itself, try Whois.com.


WHOIS is a service provided by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names và Numbers (ICANN) that allows you lớn look up information about a site’s ownership.

On Whois.com, you can find this info by entering the URL in question inkhổng lồ the box at the top right-hvà corner & clicking “WHOIS.”


Most of the time, you can get a tương tác email this way.

When you find their information, send them a request to lớn remove the backlink in question. Make sure you’re specific and polite.

Here’s what a good removal request should look like:


If you can’t find any contact information whatsoever, see if there’s another way khổng lồ get in touch with the site owner. These might include:

Reaching out on social mediaCommenting on a blog postSearching the site owner’s name on Google

If you still can’t tương tác the webmaster, go ahead & disavow the links.

But always request a removal before you disavow.

Best case scenario: The owner approves your request & no one gets hurt.

Worst case scenario: The owner never responds (or you can’t contact them) & you have to lớn disavow the liên kết.

It’s not the over of the world if you have khổng lồ disavow link, but it’s much, much better if you can get a removal without disavowing.

Which links should you disavow?

This can get tricky.

You probably have sầu plenty of backlinks, & I’ll bet you assume they’re all helping out your site.

Unless you’re lucky, you’ve sầu probably got a few undesirable backlinks.

The problem is finding them.

To sniff out the bad liên kết, you essentially need to vày the first part of a liên kết audit.

I’ll walk you through that if you haven’t recently performed an audit.

Google actually shows you how khổng lồ vị the first step:


Here’s what that will look like in the Google Webmasters interface.

First, go to the left-hvà sidebar và cliông chồng “Search Traffic.”


Next, click “Links to Your Site.”


Under the “Who links the most” section, cliông chồng “more.”


Finally, clichồng “Download more sample link.”


This will give you a danh mục of all the pages linking to your site.

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Now…what vày you do with them?

This danh mục contains both good & bad backlink, so you’ll need lớn sift through them all khổng lồ find the bad ones.

Thankfully, you don’t have khổng lồ vị this manually.

You can use a links analysis tool khổng lồ vì chưng the hard work for you.

For the purposes of finding bad liên kết, I really lượt thích SEMrush’s Backlinks phân tích và đo lường tool.

This is one of the most powerful backlinks tools I’ve sầu used.

SEMrush uses 30 “toxic factors” (how cool does that sound?) to lớn analyze each links. So you can be sure every liên kết that passes SEMrush’s demo will be high unique.

To use the tool, create a miễn phí SEMrush account. Go lớn SEMrush.com and click “Log in” at the top right corner.


Switch khổng lồ the “Register” tab and make your trương mục.


Once you’re in, visit your Dashboard và clichồng the Projects tab in the sidebar. In the thực đơn that opens, choose “Create my first project.”


You’ll see another button that says “Create my first project.” Cliông xã that.


Paste your website’s URL inlớn the box và name your project. Then cliông chồng “Save sầu.”

For this article, I’ll Call this sample project “Bad Link Removal.”


Clichồng “Set up” under “Backlinks Audit.”


Decide on the scope of your campaign, then cliông xã “Start Backlinks phân tích và đo lường.” Choose the “root domain” option.


Now, SEMrush will run the audit for you. All you need to vì chưng is sit bachồng & relax.

This should take less than 10 minutes for most sites.

You can also use other tools in conjunction with SEMrush Backlink Audit. I like Majestic, Moz’s Open Site Explorer, & Ahrefs.

Explaining how lớn use all of these would take too long, so kiểm tra out my article on links auditing for more information on these tools.

After you’ve done everything, you should have sầu a list of any spam or low-unique backlink.

In SEMrush Backliên kết phân tích và đo lường, you can get this menu on the audit results page. Cliông chồng on the phân tích và đo lường tab to lớn get there.


Now, you can actually start the disavow process right in the SEMrush interface, but I still recommkết thúc doing it manually so you’re 100% sure you’re doing it right.

Also, if you’re new khổng lồ disavowing liên kết, you should definitely vị it manually. This will give sầu you a better idea of what the process is like.

So what you should vị is select all of the toxic links by clicking on the “Toxic” tab.


Then, cliông xã the Export button khổng lồ tải về a .csv file of the bad links:


This danh sách is extremely important. These are all of the bad links you’re going to lớn disavow.

Copy & paste these inkhổng lồ a document and keep it handy.

Pay a visit khổng lồ shady liên kết (proceed with caution!)

Before you go to lớn the next step và disavow your liên kết, I want lớn give you a tip: If you don’t have a lot of liên kết, it’s worth your time lớn visit each site yourself.

All of these tools are wonderful, but sometimes, you need khổng lồ see it for yourself.

Of course, this isn’t practical if you have a lot of bad link. In that case, run through them quickly & see if there are any that have sầu legitimate-looking URLs. Then visit those sites.

Of course, you should make sure you have anti-virus software installed, & don’t cliông xã on anything that gives you a bad feeling.

Let’s look at a few examples of different types of sites that you might want to disavow.

Let’s say you run a kinh doanh blog và you find link like these:


What vày chess và coffee have sầu lớn vì with marketing? This is a good example of how irrelevance khổng lồ your nibít is often your first warning sign.

The next warning signs come when you visit the sites. The first is a German site about––you guessed it––chess:


The other link leads khổng lồ a recipe:


The problem isn’t that these sites are linking to lớn you, but that they’re in completely different niches from you.

That’s one great reason to disavow certain backlink.

You should also look out for link that look weird, lượt thích this one:


Unusual TLDs are a big tip-off for bad links. TLDs like .clichồng or .xyz are very likely lớn be low-chất lượng sites.

And sure enough, if you visit the site we found above, you’ll see this:


I don’t know about you, but lớn me, that doesn’t look lượt thích a site for marketing articles.

You probably see the pattern––if a backliên kết isn’t in your nibít, strongly consider disavowing it unless you have sầu a concrete reason khổng lồ bởi vì otherwise.

You should also be on the lookout for country-based TLDs lượt thích .ru or .cn. These aren’t always bad liên kết, but they don’t have the best reputation.

Now let’s take a look at some spam sites.

Spam backliên kết come in all shapes and sizes.

Some spam liên kết are easier khổng lồ spot than others. For example, .xyz domains have a reputation for being spammy.

These sites are often malicious. Some are “warez” sites, which are malware tải về sites that appear legitimate:


Source: Bluecoat.com

One of the best ways khổng lồ prsự kiện spam sites from affecting you is to set up a spam filter in Google Analytics.

But if you’ve sầu already gotten spam backliên kết, it’s best to lớn clean them out as soon as you possibly can.

Once you’re sure you’ve sầu gotten all the bad links in your danh sách, copy and paste them into lớn a document. Save sầu it as a text tệp tin with a .txt extension.

Now you’re ready to use the Disavow Tool.

Using the Google Disavow Tool

Thanks khổng lồ Google, disavowing liên kết is very straightforward.

I know you might not believe it, but this is actually the easiest part to do.

Everything before this step is so difficult because you need to make sure you’re getting the right link to disavow.

Make sure you have sầu your các mục of bad backlinks ready. Then head khổng lồ the Disavow Tool at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main.

Select the site you want to lớn use và click “Disavow Links.”


Source: Webmasters.googleblog.com

Next, you’ll see a warning:


This is the same warning you saw earlier on Google’s tư vấn page. Cliông xã “Disavow Links.”

You’ll see yet another warning, and you can ignore it too.

Clichồng “Choose File” và select the correct .txt tệp tin that has all of the bad backliên kết.


Finally, cliông xã “Submit.”

And that’s it! Google will process your request, & your liên kết should be disavowed in a few days.


Disavowing liên kết can be intimidating if you don’t know what to lớn vị.

You can damage your SEO if you abuse disavowing, so it’s crucial lớn get it right.

I think every site owner needs khổng lồ know about disavowing. It can mean the difference between a clean link profile and a spammy one.

Plus, there are so many benefits to lớn disavowing link correctly.

Your site will likely get a boost in ranking, so people will find you easier in search engines.

Your overall SEO will also improve, so you’ll probably see more traffic coming lớn your site và even more high-quality backlink that actually help you out.

But lượt thích I said, you don’t want khổng lồ disavow link if you can help it. A manual removal is always preferable.

Only disavow liên kết when you have sầu no other choice. In this case, don’t be afraid lớn use the Disavow Tool. That’s what it’s there for.

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Hopefully, you have a better understanding of why you should disavow link và when you should do it. It’s scary at first, but once you get used to it, it’s super simple.

What’s your experience with the disavow tool? Was it effective sầu in improving your rankings?