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A Guide to Google’s Link Disavow Tool


Hi I’m Jake and this post is about Google’s new tool, the Link Disavow Tool for those people who struggle to remove harmful links that are linking back to their site.

At the glitzy PubCon search and social media conference and expo event in Las Vegas this October, Google’s Matt Cutts announced the new Google Link Disavow Tool for webmasters.

Warning!

Before he revealed the URL for the new tool, he had a warning for those present in Vegas. Even though the tool is designed to help you contact that ‘20% of sites that are impossible to contact’, you MUST try and manually remove the links yourself before you use the tool.

The reason for having to do the manual audit before you use the tool is because you don’t want to disavow a genuine link that is passing value to your site. Also, on the other hand, you need to make sure that you get rid of as many of the bad sites as you possibly can.

Be Careful…

As much as the Disavow Tool is there to help you with your rankings, it is also potentially harmful, too. Like the ‘One Ring’ in Lord of the Rings, if in the wrong hands and used in the wrong way this tool is deadly.

Gollum with Ring
Image Courtesy of forafewmoviesmore.com

Reconsideration Requests

In the same way that disavowing too few links won’t help you when you go to put in your reconsideration request, using this tool without first trying to manually remove the links first will result in your reconsideration request simply getting ignored.

The tool allegedly takes quite a while to work so it’s probably worth prolonging the amount of time you wait before re-submitting your reconsideration request. A week is the advised amount of time.

Sub-Domains

Not only does this tool work on domains, it quite handily works on sub-domains too. So if you were wondering whether or not any of your .wordpress or .blogspot links will be affected then the answer is yes, yes they will.

Duplicate Content

When you’re trawling through your list of backlinks and starting to get bored, tired or whatever you get when looking through this list, just remember one thing; you need to pay attention to duplicate content because duplicate content is bad for your site.

It can prevent pages from ranking, prevent pages from being indexed and Google isn’t interested in showing the same info to people so it actively filters out any unoriginal pages so that it isn’t showing the same thing time and time again.

Another thing to watch out for where duplicate content is concerned is when a single page is accessible from more than one URL i.e. www.domain.com/seo/services and www.domain.com/?id=44. This is still classed as duplicate content by Google and will receive the same treatment from them too.

The Two Ps

Next, something you need to keep an eye out for is permalinks and pagination. If there’s a post on a WordPress blog category page, for example www.domain.com/category/seo/page/2, it’s always better to disavow the whole domain than a specific page as permalinks will change or it could quite simply be that there are multiple links on that site.

Everyone Loves a Success Story

The tool has been used now, by a number of different people and it’s been quite a success thus far. There have a couple of questions asked regarding the tool, one being whether or not the tool follows 301 redirects. The other question, a question about canonical tags and whether or not the tool obeys them has been answered already by Mr Cutts in this Q & A with Search Engine Land.

To Summarise…

Overall, the tool has many processes that you need to be wary of when you’re using it and there are a number of different procedures that you need to make sure you do before you begin to use the tool such as trying to manually remove as many links as possible beforehand.

As we said above, the tool has been quite successful so far, so if you’re planning on using the tool for your site, why not let us know how you got on in the comments below.


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