Disavow Backlinks


What does Disavow Mean?

Disavow is the process of instructing Google to ignore unwanted backlinks in order to positively impact ranking in SERPs. This can be done using Google’s Disavow Tool.

Why is it Important?

While you may think that collecting any backlinks is great for your website’s SEO, that’s not true. There are some backlinks you should stay away from.

These backlinks fall under the category of black hat techniques. These include:

  • Links to spammy websites
  • Links to sites created purely for backlinks 
  • Links from countries outside your targeted demographic
  • Links that are bought
  • Private Blogging Networks (PBNs)

These low quality backlinks will undermine your domain authority, and can lead to a Google manual penalty, or algorithmic penalisation leading to a drop in ranking. You should disavow these backlinks.

How do you Disavow Backlinks?

When you know what to look for, it’s not hard to amend the situation. Below are the steps you need to follow in order to discover and disavow backlinks.

  • Keeping a constant eye on your links will help you avoid any sticky situations. To do this, conduct a high-level link audit. This will help you pick up on any dodgy looking links. If you feel like this won’t cut it, go one step up and perform a full-link audit
  • Once you have found the links you want to disavow, you need to format your new disavow file (there are tools to help you with this)
  • Once you have submitted your disavow file, you should monitor the effects. It may take a while to have an impact, as the Google crawlers need to recrawl your site

When to use Disavow Backclinks?

While this is a useful tool, you shouldn’t overuse it. Here’s when to use the disavow tool.

1. If You’ve Taken a Big Hit to Your Traffic

When you notice a significant drop in traffic and your ranking in SERPs, and you have singled out bad backlinks as the issue, you should use the Disavow tool.

But, only if manually removing the links hasn’t worked.

2. When You’ve Been Hit by Negative SEO

If you’ve been caught up in a negative SEO attack, then you should consider disavowing the bad backlinks.

3. When You’ve Been Slammed With a Manual Google Penalty

If you have been flagged up due to unnatural links, you should disavow them. You can check your status in the Google Search Console.

4. You Have Been Involved in Creating Bad Backlinks

If you know that you or a company you have employed to work on your SEO has been involved with black hat link building, disavow them, before you get hit with a Google penalty.

What Tools are there to Help?

There are tools out there to help you get insight into your website’s health and check your domain authority.

1. SE Ranking 

SE Ranking Backlink Monitor Landing Page - Disavow Backlinks

SE Ranking offers a monitoring tool that tracks your backlinks and notifies you of significant changes. Users can add backlinks manually or by importing from Google Search Console.

The monitoring software measures the value of your backlinks by analysing the referring domains and assessing parameters like Alexa Rank and social shares. You can also check your dofollow/nofollow ratio and ensure optimal off-page SEO.

If you have a lot of unwanted backlinks, you can use SE Ranking to automatically disavow the links you want Google to ignore. 

2. Brand24

Brand24 Home Page - Disavow Backlinks

Brand24 is primarily a brand reputation management tool, but it provides features that are effective for backlinking and off-page SEO. The software combs through social media, blogs, and review websites to find mentions of your brand.

Afterwards, the mentions are analysed and segmented into positive, negative, and neutral. Backlinks that carry negative sentiment are bad for you, and they may affect your SEO and brand reputation.

Subsequently, you may decide to disavow these links or contact the referring sites to ensure a positive resolution. 

3. Ryte

Ryte Home Page - Disavow Backlinks

Ryte is a powerful SEO tool, and its High-Performance Crawler is regarded as one of the most effective in the industry. The crawler inspects your website, analysing your backlinks, keywords, and content.

It focuses on optimisation, helping users maximise ROI and stay on top of search engine results.

To get insights about your backlinks, Ryte imports data from Google Search Console and converts the data to actionable reports. It also tracks website health, calculating your expected traffic amount and sending out a notification when it reduces.

4. RankActive

RankActive Home Page - Disavow Backlinks

RankActive has a backlink monitoring tool that does a little bit of everything. The software lets you track your website’s backlinks, find what backlinks are pointing to your competitors, and see which of them may be valuable to your linking strategy.

You can assess the domain authority of the referring website and measure how impactful the link is to your off-page SEO efforts. If the links are spammy, you can quickly add them to your disavow file to avoid getting penalised by Google.

5. SEMrush

SEMrush Backlink Analytics Toolkit Landing Page - Disavow Backlinks

SEMrush provides a backlink analytics toolkit that monitors your links and analyses the referring domains. Users can sort backlinks by type (text, image, frame, or form), and root out links that are harmful to SEO.

To find gaps in your backlinking, you can compare the domains of up to 5 websites that you’re looking to outrank. This comparison shows you untapped linking opportunities to include in your strategy.

SEMrush also lets users generate custom PDF reports that outline a website’s backlink profile and overall health.

Other tools include: Ahrefs, Cognitive SEO Tool, Monitor Backlinks, BuzzSumo etc.

How Can We Help?

Think you’ve got some dodgy backlinks scattered throughout your site and need a hand dealing with them all? 

Give us a call and we’ll set you up with a team that are well versed in managing SEO issues and helping you come back from any hits you received in the meantime.