Disavow spammy links before they impact your rankings

SERPs is a competitive battleground. Carry out optimisation techniques and continue to do so, and you’ll see a flow of traffic. Ignore, and your competitors will steal all the potential traffic that you could be getting instead.

For those that don’t specialise in search engine optimisation, the tasks required to achieve decent organic traffic can seem like a nightmare, but if you tackle them one step at a time – it will make the whole process much more manageable and could make a big difference to your business.

In this post, we will be listing a very important search engine optimisation task you should carry out to prevent a negative impact on your rankings.

Disavow negative backlinks

This is a simple task you can carry out and a very important one. Backlinks are when external websites create a hyperlink that points to your website. Genuine ones are great, but it’s very easy to get unwanted spammy links. Spammy backlinks can see your organic traffic drop like a stone if you do nothing about them. Whilst this may not be a fair policy, it’s the way it works.

Google is interested in the authority of the website that links to you, not the quantity. Therefore, disavowing those unwanted links is a very important task you should carry out, on a regular basis.

There are a few ways you can gain these unwanted links.

1. Organically

As you become more popular on the web, you’ll have higher chances of websites linking to you.

2. Black hat SEO

You may have purchased links or contracted someone to carry out SEO work for you, who has gone against Google’s policy and purchased a bulk amount of links. It happens.

3. Sabotage

Sad but true. Some agencies will go on a sabotage mission of purchasing these cheap links to competitor sites in the hope they won’t notice/do anything about them.

Now the truth is, however, you may get these spammy links – left alone you can find your website gets penalised and deindexed from Google. However, there is an easy solution to finding and disavowing these links. Essentially, letting Google know that you don’t want to be associated with them.

You can use premium tools which will alert you to these types of links, or you can go down the manual route of checking for yourself. If you’re looking for a premium tool to do this for you, contact me and let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction. It’s a much easier process, but being a premium tool, comes at a small monthly cost.

The alternative is the more manual approach, in the form of a free tool called Google Search Console.

The first thing you’ll want to do is to see who is linking to your site. You can do this by logging into your account, navigating to ‘Links’ on the left-hand side and clicking on ‘More’ under ‘Top Linking Sites’.

This will give you a list of external domains linking back to your website. You’re able to export this list which if it contains a lot of external domains, could make the process quicker for you. However, if you go down this route, make sure to delete the domains from the export that you wish to remain associated with. By associated, I simply mean external links you are happy with.

You can either use this file or create a new text file from scratch, which you’ll use to let Google know which domains you don’t want to be associated with. The format is quite simple and below you will see examples for how you disavow a single page as well as a domain.

# Two pages to disavow
http://spam.example.com/stuff/comments.html
http://spam.example.com/stuff/paid-links.html

# One domain to disavow
domain:example.com

Now, you can go to the disavow links tool page, select your domain from the list (assuming you have more than one website linked to your account), click ‘Disavow links’ then ‘Choose file’ and select the file you have created.

It can take a few weeks for Google to process this information, and during this time, you should also make attempts to contact the webmasters of those domains asking them to remove your links. More often than not, you won’t get a response. After all, they are low-quality links you are trying to disavow, but it’s worth trying. Disavowed links will, unfortunately, continue to be shown in the links report, making future lists a bit annoying to compile.

As mentioned previously, there are alternative methods to carrying out this important SEO task, however, it really does depend if you’re looking for a premium tool or a free approach. Either way, make sure you don’t let other webmasters damage your rankings by doing nothing.