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Google’s Disavow Tool
Google’s Disavow Tool – 6 Essential Pointers You Need to Google’s algorithms have time and again jolted website owners and online marketing firms. Panda and Penguin tweaking made one thing very clear, Google is serious about inbound links and will penalise web entities in case it is taken for a ride. Many website administrators understood its implications a little too late. The fall in page rank finally awakened all and sundry. SEO experts and optimisation agencies realised that the abrupt fall in SERP was because of toxic back links or to be precise, links which appeared unnatural to Google.
Google’s algorithms have time and again jolted website owners and online marketing firms. Panda and Penguin tweaking made one thing very clear; Google is serious about inbound links and will penalise web entities in case it is taken for a ride. Many website administrators understood its implications a little too late. The fall in page rank finally awakened all and sundry. SEO experts and optimisation agencies realised that the abrupt fall in SERP was because of toxic back links or to be precise, links which appeared unnatural to Google.
While some administrators were sent notices there are others who failed to observe or take it seriously. Whether or not you or your client has been affected by the so called “Unnatural” or “Suspicious” back links and penalised for the same the time is come to take a close look.
Disavow links tool provides webmasters and SEO folks a list of back links whether natural or manipulated. Now this file could be large enough depending on the site’s popularity and age. It is this list which requires pruning. Go through the list with a fine tooth comb. Check out the sites linked to you and verify their credibility. In case you find the concerned site doesn’t complement your ethos, content, service etc simply ask the administrator to remove the link. Modify/edit the disavow file making sure it sports only genuine back links before submitting the same. Google will do the rest of the work.
However, it is easier said than done. Mentioned below are 6 essential pointers you need to know.
1. Correct Formatting:
Before preparing the list of links to be disavowed and uploaded, make sure you follow certain formatting rules. Mentioned below are some of the important ones.
1. Comments – Use # symbol to comment about a particular website or an URL. This helps during subsequent editing or analysing the status of various disavowed entities.
2. In case you are planning to disavow the entire website instead of an URL which incidentally is a bad idea until and unless that web entity has been black listed from major search engines, use the following structure.
However, as mentioned above, it might have serious repercussions if Google does not agree with you. This will typically pull down your page/website rank the next time Google bot crawls your site. Once you are done with the editing, simply upload this file through Webmaster Tools. Here is how can do that.
a. Login to your account and click on the disavow tools page.
b. Select the website for which you need to take action.
c. In the subsequent list, analyse the link profile and edit the same.
Uploading a fresh file will overwrite your original one. So be careful before attempting such an action. A point to note: the inbound links section may continue to sport deleted or no follow links in spite of editing/uploading a new file.
2. URL or Entire Domain:
One fine morning, as a website owner of a top ranking domain, you receive a notification from Google intimating you that your site has been using techniques which are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. It goes a step further and asks you to look into your back links which it thinks are manipulated or simply bought. This notice is sure to turn you nervous; you may even panic. In case you have not done any hanky-panky stuff simply initiate some serious actions to prove Google that you care about its guidelines and will do everything to maintain its sanctity.
This would mean analysing various back links via webmaster tools or any other handy software, and pruning those which are pulling down your organic page rank. You typically remove URL’s from the list. However, when the time comes for reconsideration, many webmasters receive “Denied” notice. The reason is because Google thinks you have not done enough to prove your innocence. The idea here is to spare nothing. Instead of URL’s sometimes you need to delete the entire domain which doesn’t have any relevance to your content.
Send requests to administrators of these sites and ask them to remove the links. Create a new file / doc of your latest back links, using disavow tool, and upload the same for reconsideration. Don’t forget to write Google about the actions taken by you. Chances are this time your request will be considered. However, you need to build quality back links at the same time, strengthening your case further.
3. Reinstating Disavowed Site:
There might be incidences where you removed entire domains that were pulling down your site ranking. However, after analysing the concerned site’s content and popularity you realise you have committed a blunder, especially when the said site boasts several good articles and references. The reason for this blunder could be many. Some of the typical examples are mentioned below.
1. Keyword heavy anchored link.
2. Advertisement popping up on a wrong page.
In such a scenario you as the webmaster can retract from your earlier directive such as domain: website.com, to a specific URL. This will allow you to connect to the said website and at the same time avoid being penalised for unnatural back link.
4. Google is Smart – We all Know That:
Shooting a mail for reconsideration before cleaning up your house will simply result in rejection or “denied” response. What webmasters need to do is to put words into action. Email administrators of those websites which are generating negative impact, use webmaster tools and disavow such sites, create a fresh content with different anchor text etc. This will provide proof that you are serious about Google’s guidelines. Before you disavow, try to get your content de linked from suspicious sites or those which have little relevance. Find all the bad links and remove them in case the owners of these sites do not respond. In short detox your back link profile and create a fresh list.
Now is time to submit your request. As mentioned above, Google is smart. It will know the actions taken by you. Google’s algorithms will determine whether you’ve taken suitable actions or not. In case ii finds you have cleaned up the mess thoroughly it will reward you with “Manual spam action revoked” message.
5. The Importance of No Follow Links
No followed links need not be added to the disavow file as they are considered at par with the links submitted in disavow list. These are typically those URL’s which result in penalisation. No followed links are simply a proof on their own; that you do not want to exploit them for SEO purpose.
By adding it in the disavow file no special attention is drawn. Yet another interesting fact is that no followed links are not used (considered) by any algorithms including Penguin.
6. Updates Take Time:
It is an open fact that not all inbound links are mentioned by Google, neither do they vanish immediately after you get it de linked or update disavow file. It can remain for a long time and may confuse you about their status. However, fret not. There are many third party applications which can help you. A tip here: maintain a spreadsheet of all your new back links and keep a vigilant eye on the new ones. By staying organised you will not fall into trouble with Google’s algorithms, especially back link profile.
See Also: What is Article Marketing?
This Article is Contributed By Rahul Makhija. He is an online blogger and Social Media Expert at Onketing. He likes to blog on various SEO happenings & On-goings. In his free time he likes to study about web hosting.