Google Disavow Links Tool Now Available

 Posted by on October 16, 2012
July 4, 2017

If you have been slapped by the fickle flipper of fate, aka ‘Google Penguin Algorithm Update’, you have probably been waiting for this SEO news:

Google has launched its “disavow links” tool for sites hit by Penguin.

Disavow Links Tool

Ker Communications doesn’t have any links to disavow, but this is what the tool looks like.

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team made the big announcement at the Pubcon conference today and the Disavow Links tool, which allows webmasters to request that Google ignore certain “undesirable” backlinks, was launched shortly after the announcement.

Site owners are now able to submit a complete list of spammy, or otherwise unwanted URLs which have caused a Penguin problem.

Penguin, if you are new to SEO, is the algorithm update that was launched in April 2012 which is designed to negate the effect of certain types of links to a website. Too many links from low quality sites, and links using the same or similar anchor text are among the things Penguin is looking for.

The word on the Webmaster Central Blog is that it will take a few weeks for Google to process the lists, so we will have to wait and see if sites affected by Penguin are able to recover after disavowing their shady past. Full recovery does not seem likely, since those bad links did pass some rank at some time before Penguin and whatever benefit they had in the past is also gone.
Google also advises that you really shouldn’t mess with it if you aren’t entirely sure you need to. Even then, be very careful – don’t accidentally disavow good links!

Google’s Matt Cutts Explains the New Disavow Links Tool:

  • Bernardinelli

    So, you are sure that, this disavow tool is for “healing” the site from Penguin and NOT from unnatural links warning ? LOOK – I ve been hit by Penguin, After some time, I received an unnatural links message AND …later I also received the manual action revokal message

    BUT, my rankings ddint recover. SO can this tool help me ?

    • Many sites were hit by both the unnatural links warning and Penguin, which makes sense since one of the main things Penguin is looking for is unnatural links. While the Disavow Tool announcement does mention Penguin and not the other link warnings, it seems like it should work for either one.
      Now here’s where it can get more confusing: Even though your unnatural links penalty was lifted, you could still have a penguin problem. Or it could just be that the links you had to remove to get out of the unnatural links penalty are gone and your site is no longer getting whatever rank was passing from them prior to the warning. And it could also be that there are other issues with the site. Google has been rolling out these updates very close together, sometimes simultaneously, so it can be difficult to tell exactly which one is your biggest problem. Chances are, if you got one of them, your site is probably also a candidate for one or more others.

      I can’t give you a definite answer regarding whether or not it will help you specifically without knowing what the site is, but here’s my advice:
      Make sure you have done all you can do to get problem links removed.
      Check your site for other issues – duplicate or copied content, overuse of keywords, technical issues, and even spelling and grammar. If you aren’t sure what to look for, get help from someone who does know.
      Even if you think you know, another objective point of view can be enlightening.

      Then, once you have done everything you can do to clean up your incoming links and your website, put together a list of the URLs that link to your site that you are absolutely certain you don’t want Google to count. This is VERY important – you don’t want to have Google discount good links. Again, if you aren’t sure which links to disavow, don’t just guess – get help. Submit that list through the Disavow Links Tool and wait. Google says it will take a few weeks to process. I expect there to be a flood of disavowals at first so it will probably take even longer.

      • Bernardinelli

        Thanks very much Nick,
        Very rapid answer. Beeing honest – This is quite complicated Nick. Because – When google sends someone the “manual spam revokal message” – this means – the unnatural links will no longer count OR the bad ( low quality ) wont count anymore?
        Or neither, or either ? Anyway lets wait a little more and see. Tks

        • Again, hard to say without a closer look. But if you received an unnatural links warning, had the links removed and then received a message about a manual spam action being removed or lifted you probably don’t need the Disavow Links Tool. In that situation, the links you removed would of course no longer count.
          So you rankings may not improve since you no longer have those links which may have been giving you a boost before the penalty. You would, however, have the ability to rank better again with some legitimate links.
          If you do get some good links to replace the bad ones that were removed and still can not improve your position in the search results, then you will need to look at other possible issues – on page and maybe additional bad links which could be triggering Penguin (but not triggering a manual penalty).
          Dr Pete at SEOMoz just published a more detailed article that includes some ideas about how to determine if you should use the Disavow tool: