The Disavow Links Tool that Google launched back in 2012 is user-friendly and inviting, but that doesn’t mean you should rush to use it. Some webmasters have embraced it, it’s true, but others have been negative about it. And then there are those who say you should use it only sparingly. So, what should you make of all this?
What Is the Disavow Links Tool?
It’s a way to deny or block inbound links from poor quality websites that could negatively affect your SEO ranking. By using it, you ask Google to exclude them when it assesses external links to your site. In theory, the disavow links tool should help those who have purchased links in the past maintain a good SEO ranking. Also, it should be useful to webmasters who find they have (without wanting to) a lot of external links from low-quality sites.
How Does It Work?
You create a plain text file in which you list the URLs to be excluded, or if you want to exclude all URLs from a single domain, you use the format ‘domain:facebook.com.’ Once your file is ready, you open the Disavow Links Tool in Google Webmaster Tools, select your site, and submit your file.
Google will review your list and disavow the links in a few weeks. The disavow links file cannot be bigger than 2MB.
A warning: if you make a mistake and disavow the wrong site, it will probably take a month or more to ‘reavow’ it.
What You Should Know Before Using It
It’s generally not a good idea to use the disavow links tool if you haven’t been penalized. By using it, you may attract Google’s attention for all the wrong reasons.
Also, you cannot know for certain that a link is doing your site harm. When you disavow it, you may actually do your site more harm than good.
Since the process of disavowing links takes weeks, don’t expect this tool to bring you overnight the traffic you’ve lost.
The Bottom Line
So, should you use the Disavow Links Tool? Better not. Focus on creating good content instead. Unless of course you already have fantastic content and for some strange reason your SEO ranking is bad. Small chance of that happening, though.