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Disavow Links Through Google Webmaster Tools

By Chris Soames 19 Oct, 2012
Essential
Link-building

Widely expected (and useful) new tool introduced

Google have recently launched a new tool to its Webmaster toolkit, giving you the ability to identify and remove (at least in Googles eyes) unnatural or spam inbound links (from other sites to yours).

Google have become more active in notifying webmasters of problems with inbound links, this now enables you to remove the offending link(s) from Google's link graph without contacting the owner of the other site.

You may have received a message from Google in the past saying that they have identified unnatural, spam or paid links to your website, this usually left you having to identify the potential problem links and approaching each website to get the links removed. Not a massively effective process and neither is it a good use of your time. Bing also launched a similar tool earlier this year.

Here is an explanation of this new tool from Googles, Matt Cutts

Steps to disavowing links

To ask Google to not take certain links into account when ranking your website, the steps are relatively simple:

  • Login to Google Webmaster Tools
  • Check inbound links through the "Links to your website" feature, download into a CSV to make the next steps easier
  • Click to the disavow links page
  • Select the website which has unnatural links
  • Upload a file in the correct format identifying the links (from your spreadsheet earlier)

The format is straightforward. All you need is a plain text file with one URL per line. An excerpt of a valid file might look like the following:

  • # Contacted owner of spamdomain1.com on 7/1/2012 to
  • # ask for link removal but got no response
  • domain:spamdomain1.com
  • # Owner of spamdomain2.com removed most links, but missed these
  • http://www.spamdomain2.com/contentA.html
  • http://www.spamdomain2.com/contentB.html
  • http://www.spamdomain2.com/contentC.html

A welcomed tool to the SEO community no doubt, you can find out more including some key Q&As here.

By Chris Soames

Chris Soames is a Smart Insights blogger and consultant, he has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years with the last few years managing international web strategies for a leading travel brand. Now the Commercial Director at First 10, an Integrated marketing agency, he helps clients get clarity on their marketing strategy and create campaigns engineered to engage with their consumers to help drive sell-through. Most of all, Chris enjoys working with talented people who want to create great (& commercial) things not just tick boxes.

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