Disavow Backlinks - tell me the why and the how please?

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Disavow Backlinks - tell me the why and the how please?

I have seen recently a few members here referring to the term "disavow backlinks".

I can guess this is something to do with having low quality, spammy backlinks and then wanting to get rid of them in some way.

I would guess that the reason for having these low quality backlinks is that you would have purchased a low quality service somewhere right?

What are the other reasons you might find yourself with low quality links? Yes I understand that over time links are built naturally but I can't see someone with a really shoddy and low quality website deciding to link to one of my websites for any reason.

How exactly do you check for these bad backlinks and how exactly would you disavow backlinks?

Is this something I could easily do myself or should I rather tread with care and hire an SEO expert to take care of this for me?


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Yes it's something you can do yourself quite easily. Just search your site in Google using the search operator "" and that will show you all the backlinks and other sites that have your URL on them while minusing out results from your actual site. You will need to go through what's showing though and keep a list of all the sites you think are bad links such as spammy links like profile links or links on pages where there isn't much content etc. It can be confusing knowing what's truly a bad link though! Sometimes a link can be on the page with no content on it and that can look like a low quality link but it doesn't mean it's a spammy link and doesn't mean that you'll be punished for having it. The only time you actually need to do this is if you have got a message in your Search Console (Webmaster Tools / Manual Actions) alerting you that they have detected some unnatural links pointing to your site. If you don't have any such message then there is no real need to do this. Just keep building high quality links and making your link portfolio stronger and stronger. That way, any small amount of bad or spammy links you have will pale into complete insignificance.

You can use softwar tools for the job as well. This is where ScrapeBox comes into play. You can use that above search operator and it will go out and search for any sites with that link found on it. Then you can remove the duplicate URLs (Because it will return results from all the Search Engines you tell it to search in). Then you will have a list of URLs where your link is. Then you can remove the ones you know are definitely not bad/spammy/low quality links such as on sites you recognize. Then you will have a list of URLs left over that you will have to check manually really as there isn't really anyway around it. Unless you are good at knowing what is likely to be a spammy link. Then you can then proceed to add them into the Disavow Tool.

But again, a low quality link doesn't mean it's a bad link to have. Again, this is only worth doing if you have had a manual penalty applied against your site for having spammy links. If no manual action then there's no need to do this. Just keep building high quality links.

Here's Matt talking about whether you should use the Disavow Tool even if you don't have a manual action (penalty).

To actually use the Disavow Tool is easy.
  1. Log in to your Google account.
  2. Go to the Disavow Tool.
  3. Select your site.
  4. Click "Disavow Links".
  5. Choose the file you created.
  6. Click "Submit".
  7. Done.

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Hi Mike, wow thank you for such detailed information.

Ok so I understand from what you have said that I need not worry too much about this. I should possibly keep an eye on what backlinks are pointing to my websites but not disavow any backlinks unless I get a penalty or an alert from Google or if there are suddenly a huge whack of scary looking backlinks?

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Right. Indeed. Check your Search Console regularly. I think Google recommends that you check in on it at least once a month. To check for messages and to see how things are performing and that. But you shouldn't ever (hopefully) need to do any link disavowing. Not if you're not engaging in any shady link building practices and only doing high quality link building. Disavow Backlinks - tell me the why and the how please?

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I am visit Google Webmaster Tools at least once a week so that is fine. I am sure I would have noticed something if there was a notification I had to read. I mostly just use Google Webmaster Tools to fetch as Googe when I publish new content or make some changes to content on my websites.

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