How To Disavow Links That Are Killing Your SEO

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Posted on March 24, 2020


While backlinks mean more traffic and a boost in SERP rankings, not all backlinks are good.

These bad links can actually be detrimental to your SEO efforts and need to be removed to avoid penalties from search engines.

For this reason, you will need to constantly perform a backlink audit of your site to make sure your backlink profile stays clean.


What does disavow mean?

Disavowing links is an important part of any backlink strategy.

Disavowing bad links is basically a way of telling search engines that the links are a threat to your site and that you want them to ignore these links when crawling your site.


Why would you want to remove a backlink from your site?

The #1 reason you should disavow a link is because it’s spam or low quality.

Listed below are several other backlinks or malicious sites you should stay wary of:

  • Sites set up just for links
  • Spam sites
  • Links in spam comments
  • Backlinks from sites in your non-target country (e.g., a backlink from a Russian site when your audience is in India)

However, you shouldn’t disavow links indiscriminately as you could end up hurting your own SEO. 


How to disavow bad links?
  1. Manually approach the owners of the bad links

Before you disavow, try manually requesting a removal of the link. To do so, you will have to get in touch with the owner of the site. 

Simply disavowing links without attempting to have them removed by the owner first, will likely lead to Google denying your request.

     2. Create a Disavow File

Once you have cleaned up as much as you can manually, you can upload a disavow file to Google Search Console.

Disavow files are simple plain text (.txt) documents that contain a list of every link pointing to your domain that you want Google to ignore.

For example, your line of text could read:


This instructs Google to ignore all links to your site from the domain However, you will have to be judicious while using this command since there could be links on that domain that do pass at least some link juice and you wouldn’t want to disavow those links by accident.

Keep in mind that you are only allowed to add one link per line. You can include notes, for your own reference, about each link using the hash (#) symbol.

After you submit a request to Google to disavow a link/s, domain/s, the search engine will assign an invisible ‘NoFollow’ tag to these link/s or domain/s and they will no longer affect your ranking even though they continue to appear in Google Search Console as a site that links to you.

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