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How To Disavow Backlinks Using Google Search Console

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Backlinks are vital to site owners since it holds a significant role in elevating the site’s ranking. Getting backlinks or inbound links from other webpages contribute to a better standing on search engines like Google. Hence, the necessity to establish an unfailing link profile.

Unfortunately, not all the links leading to your site can be automatically considered good. Some links are actually hurting your backlink profile instead of strengthening it. This is the main reason for the need to evaluate your site’s backlinks.

This SEO tool conducts link audits and allows disavowing links. You should remove harmful links, and only good backlinks should be allowed to guarantee your high rank on search engines. This can be ensured by using Google Search Console.

Getting rid of bad links is equally important as obtaining good links pointing to your site. This article will guide you to remove links that are putting you down on search results. This specifically focuses on using Google’s disavow tool through the Google Search Console.

Why Should You Disavow Backlinks?

Securing domain authority is an imperative measure of SEO success. As aforementioned, building a strong link scheme helps in having a high organic search ranking on Google. However, not all the backlinks have a positive impact, thus the need to disavow links.

More than the disadvantage bad backlinks cause on search engine ranking, a more bothering consequence is the possibility of being charged with penalties by Google because of “unnatural links.” Thus, it is important to handle using domain rights to avoid being penalised.

Establishing positive link schemes is not limited to creating good connections but also eradicating low-quality backlinks. Google’s disavow tool is one of the best ways to deal with this, and you can also employ other tools.

Google Search Console is a useful tool with Google Analytics that holds the data on a website’s backlink profile and other link schemes. This is the go-to SEO tool that will help you if you want to disavow low-quality links.

When Should You Disavow Links?

In the case of backlinks, it is not always the more links, the better for your site. In instances where there are bad links, you may want to disavow them. You can even check Google for the disavow list that harms your backlink profile.

The question is, when should you really start disavowing backlinks? Though Google disavows tool is useful, it is not something that should be used without concrete reasons. You should know which bad link is hurting your Google rank.

Below are the circumstances you should consider when deciding to get rid of a bad backlink.

1. If Your Traffic Has Dropped Significantly

If you don’t have a manual action, your website’s traffic significantly diminishes; one condition to look into. If your site’s ranking lowers with your traffic, it is just appropriate to take the necessary action by disavowing links.

A practical option is to evaluate the backlink profile and segregate the bad backlink from the good one. Using the Google Console or other SEO tools, you can employ a full link audit.

This is not just to manipulate PageRank but to rule out all possible reasons since traffic drops substantially impact domain authority. Having harmful backlinks necessitates link disavowal.

2. If You’ve Been Attacked by Negative SEO

Competition is inevitable in the SEO community but purchasing too many backlinks directed toward your site to boost domain property is not a good strategy. Doing so will lead to being penalised, which you must avoid.

Unfortunately, this can still happen to you if your rival company has too many paid links pointing to your site. This is often referred to as a negative SEO attack. In this case, you may want to disavow backlinks as a defence.

A negative SEO attack or being bombarded with spammy links as a dirty tactic from competitors is a concrete reason to disavow links. Spammy backlinks can hurt your site, and you use the disavow tool to counter its impacts.

3. If You’ve Contributed to the Creation of Negative Backlinks

It is not just about having most sites pointing to you since the quality of these links matters too. Google is also very keen on links, and you can also get penalised if you are a part of the creation of bad backlinks. This is especially true if your company is involved in the practice of black hat techniques.

Building a link profile is not just about having more sample links. Their root domain matters as much too. Being a contributor or using spammy backlinks, paid links, and other harmful links can hurt your entire domain.

Since these put your domain authority at risk, resorting to using Google Disavow Tool to remove these bad backlinks becomes an inevitable necessity. To avoid the penalty, you may want to disavow bad backlinks as soon as you can before Google get to you first.

4. If You’ve Been Hit With a Google Manual Penalty

The worst possible consequence of having low-quality links pointing to you from referring domains is receiving a manual action from Google. To use the disavow tool becomes a must in this very circumstance.

Links are intended to boost the status of your webpage by establishing a solid link network, and if you happen to hire Google employees that violated terms, the disavow links tool can be used to clean up this kind of unwanted mess.

Since every link from referring domains counts as a vote of trust from Google, the last thing you don’t want is to be hit by Google manual penalty because of dodgy-looking links. This is when the disavow tool becomes handy by cleaning unwanted backlinks.

What could happen when you disavow links?

When recovering from a penalty, the disavow tool is a helpful way to remove bad links that are posing a threat to your website. However, the use of this should always be done with caution because you may end up causing trouble for your site. You may end up removing good backlinks from your site that will affect your ranking in the process.

It is important to remember that even Google warns about using the disavow tool because of the potential harm it may cause to your website’s performance when it is misused. Thus, when choosing to disavow backlinks, you should consider their necessity thoroughly. 

How to find which backlinks to disavow?

Decoding which backlinks to disavow is a crucial process. To be able to decide on the best solution for your website, you can conduct a link audit to check the existing backlinks and classify which are good or bad.

A backlink audit tool will help you identify bad backlinks that need to be removed. Using a tool will help you create a disavow list in the form of a text file which you can submit to perform the removal of unwanted backlinks.

When doing it, you must follow the correct link file format for the links you want to disavow. It is a must to create a disavow file that follows the standards in formatting and uploading the file.

How to disavow backlinks in Google Search Console?

As mentioned above, the prerequisite to having disavowed links is identifying which need to be removed first and creating a disavow file. This is, of course, given the premise that careful consideration and contemplation were done before making the decision.

If the evaluated situation necessitates that you should disavow backlinks, you can resort to doing so using the Disavow Tool from the Google Search Console. As follows are the necessary steps to take when disavowing backlinks.

Step 1: Create your disavow backlinks .txt file

When you are ready with the list of backlinks you want to disavow, you need to create a disavow file. Remember that you need to put every disavow rule in its own line.

screen capture of disavowing links to your site

When you are pertaining to individual pages, make sure to put the complete URL. You can refer to the format below:

  • http://linkexample.com/disavow/comments.html

On the other hand, if you are aiming for an entire domain, you have to follow the format below:

  • domain:linkexample.com

Remember that the disavow file must be saved with .txt and must be encoded in either UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII. You can create a disavow file that is up to 2 MB.

Step 2: Submit a .txt file via Google Search Console

Once you are ready with your new disavow file, you need to submit the disavow file through your Google Search Console and make sure to choose your website from the drop-down. You can then click the Upload disavow list button to place your disavow file.

screen capture of submitting a txt via google search console

The links will show in your interface to confirm that you’re all set. Remember that if you have previously removed backlinks for the page, you selected, the new disavow file will replace the existing one.

There are also other important things to note about using the disavow tool. One is the fact that the disavow links tool does not support domain properties. In this case, make sure to create both HTTP and HTTPS versions for your page to make sure it works regardless of the version.

Another point to note is having any disavowed links in your subdomain will also apply to the main domain. If you put a different disavow list to the subdomain and the main domain name, the consequence is merging the list.

Step 3: Wait a few weeks

It is important to remember that doing such does not show immediate results. In this sense, you will have to wait for Google to be able to process the information given once your upload is complete. Thus, the success of your action to disavow backlinks will only be conclusive after a few weeks.

What if you realise that you made a mistake with the backlinks you chose to remove? There is nothing to worry about because there is a way to undo this.

If you think you made an error and you want the backlink as part of your profile, there is a way for your to cancel your disavows. Google will let you change this.

To perform this, all you have to do is access your disavow tool page. Make sure to choose the correct website you are working with from the drop-down and select the option Cancel Disavowals.

Again, you will have to wait for a few weeks to see the impacts of the changes you opted for on your webpage since these actions do not take effect instantly.


Building a strong backlink profile is an imperative measure of the success of a website in terms of its SEO standing, especially rank-wise. Being on top of the list is a goal for any web page owner hence the adherence to Google standards.

Creating a network of good backlinks as one way to improve a page’s performance also has its setbacks, and that is because unwanted backlinks also exist. These bad links drag down a site’s standing and should be eradicated.

The worse scenario, of course, is having to face a penalty because of them. It is a good thing that there are ways to be able to remove these threatening links. One of which is through the Google Search Console with the availability of the Disavow Tool.

Though disavowing backlinks will really boost the performance of your page, there are underlying unwanted circumstances that you will have to deal with, which is why opting to disavow should be done after careful and thorough evaluation.

If you think disavowing is best for your page, remember to follow the proper formats for your commands to work properly. Remember to monitor your profile and make the necessary evaluation to see if the course taken is right.

Since disavowing is one way to go to keep improving your website, make sure it is done right!

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