If you haven’t used Google’s disavow tool so far, then you should use it. If you are continuously involved in the process of SEO for your website from the last couple of years then there is a definite chance that you have unnatural links pointing to your site.
These unnatural links can poke Google’s Penguin algorithm. In some cases, these unnatural links can get you a manual unnatural links penalty.
In this article, we will discuss some practical things that will enhance your experience of using the disavow tool. It does not matter whether you are an experienced SEO or a Small business owner; these tips will help you to clean up a few unnatural links.
What is Google’s Disavow Tool?
The Disavow tool was launched in October 2012. This tool is Google’s way of allowing you to ask Google not to add or count particular weak or unnecessary links that point to your site.
The documentation of Disavow can scare you. You will be able to disavow the links that you had made to manipulate Google’s results. You can find several articles on how to decide links are unnatural. But, few articles take through the procedure of auditing and disavowing your links from beginning to end.
Why Google created a Disavow tool?
Google is fighting against spam link building for more than a decade. Google always wanted to eliminate these spam links. In the first attempt, they introduced the “no follow” in January 2005.
Google continued to adjust its algorithm in subsequent years, and the next remarkable change targeting links occurred in April 2012 when google launched the first Penguin algorithm. Through the penguin algorithm, “external filter” search results used to pass.
The Disavow Tool offered webmasters more control over the links that Google used to rank. In October 2012, Google analyzed that the disavow tool is practiced by a limited number of webmasters.
Most SEO experts believed by the first three iterations of Penguin that disavowing links were essential to protect sites from long demotions in search results. Consent changed, and the introduction of Penguin 4.0 occurred, which Google launched in September 2016.
4 Types of links to target Google’s Disavow Tool
1. Link schemes
If you are suffering a drop in traffic of your site and thinking that because of Google’s Algorithm, it is hurting your site, then you might have participated in similar schemes. If you have tried to be a little naughty and violated Google’s webmaster guidelines, then you have to check them out once again.
2. Non-editorial links
Google has the full bucket of non-editorial links. This kind of link is the one that the webmaster did not intentionally place, such as a widget, forum spam, signature spam, dodgy links, shady links, etc.
3. Anchor text
If you want to control the money anchor text or high-value keyword, or if you want to control the anchor text, then it is good to throw it in a disavow file. You can quickly tell a shady link by looking at the anchor text.
4. Penalize site links
There is a big question in people’s minds that what they should disavow. When Google Penalizes a link, you then consider it to disavow. It is rare; however, when you get a link penalty, Google usually provides sample links. It will not directly tell you to disavow all the links but will give some sample links. By seeing them, you can look for patterns in your links to observe what matches Google is considering spammy links. You must include those in your disavow file.
Other links to throw to Google’s Disavow Tool
There is a whole set of links in a list that we call other links.
1. Shady 404s
The 404 links are links that show no content when you click them. Sometimes, there is not even a domain. You must have got a whole bucket of these. It seems just something is off about these 404s. The reason behind throwing 404s in disavow file is because generally, you will not find the record about these links. It is considered as some spammy link.
2. Cloaked sites
These are links that display Google one set of results and to the user a different set of results. To find these types of links, you have to see everything from Google’s eyes using a Google bot user agent. Then you can find those cloaked pages. They are considered red flags in terms of link quality.
When you click on a link, and you see a red browser warning that the spam is inside the site, or your system freezes. These are toxic malware links.
No one likes to open these types of links. You should throw them in the disavow.
4. Bad neighborhood spam
Sometimes you get to see lousy neighborhood links in your profile. These links are like pills, porn, and poker. These are the three P of a bad neighborhood. It is quite discomforting to see porn links on non-porn sites. Consider these links as shady ones and throw them into disavow files.
You always need to be careful when you are using the disavow tool. If you know that your site contains low-quality links, then this tool could be an excellent option for you. This tool asks Google not to count these links against you.