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Disavowing Backlinks

Google’s disavow tool enables website managers to inform Google that they do not want a backlink to be counted or considered when Google reviews the links pointing to their website. This can be useful if there are numerous unnatural or spammy links pointing to a site. Our SEO Office Hours notes below compile advice from Google’s regular video sessions regarding disavow options for poor-quality backlinks.

For more information, read Google Search Central’s guidelines on disavowing spammy backlinks.

Add Nofollow to Shared Links

If you are giving out links to be shared on other websites, you should ask for nofollow to be added. If a few links are added without the nofollow, it probably won’t cause a penalty, but you can disavow the URLs with the links to be safe.

29 Jul 2016

Status Codes and Disavows are Not Permanent

404 and 410 do not have permanent effects. If you change them back to 200 then the pages will become indexed again, or redirects will start to pass PageRank. Disavow also isn’t permanent, so if you remove the URLs from the disavow file they will start to pass PageRank, although this won’t happen until the URLs are recrawled.

29 Jul 2016

Don’t Disavow Links to Old Content

You don’t need to disavow links for old content which is no longer on the site, you should only do it for links from low quality sites.

8 Jul 2016

Disavow On the New Domain After a Migration

When you migrate a website to a new domain, you only need a disavow on the new domain.

16 Oct 2015

You Don’t Need to Remove Links If Asked

If someone asks you to remove a link to them, you can just ignore them. They can disavow you if they want, which won’t harm your site.

21 Apr 2015

Disavow Backlinks on New and Migrating Domains

If you migrate a site to a new domain which has unnatural backlinks, you should disavow the unnatural links on the new domain as well.

2 Dec 2014

Reconsideration Requests Don’t Work for Algorithmic Penalties

Reconsideration requests can’t be made for algorithmic penalties like Panda and Penguin. You need to do is disavow the links, or fix the quality issues for the penalty to be lifted in time.

6 Oct 2014

Monitor and Disavow Backlinks Regularly

It’s good to monitor your new backlinks links for potentially low quality, irrelevant links, and disavow them, to avoid any risks from backlink penalties.

26 Sep 2014

Disavow Works Immediately to Prevent New Penalties

A disavow link submission file is processed as soon as you submit it, and the link will effectively be nofollowed or blocked the next time the the link is crawled, so this will prevent a new penalty.

22 Sep 2014

Backlink Disavow Doesn’t Do Anything Until Google Updates Penguin Data

If you have a Penguin penalty for backlinks, and you remove or disavow those backlinks, you won’t see any effect until Google updates the algorithm again and refreshes the data. John says it’s a long delay and you should go as far as possible with disavow including domain level disallow directive to make sure you cover as much as you can.

29 Aug 2014

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