Google’s disavow tool enables webmasters to inform Google that they do not want a backlink to be counted and considered when they review the links pointing to a website. This is particularly useful if there are several unnatural links pointing to a site. Our Hangout Notes cover further advice for using the tool, along with examples from Google.

You Can’t Disavow an Entire TLD

March 6, 2018 Source

There is no way to disavow an entire TLD. John advises against doing this as individual links aren’t reflective of the entire content of a site. Google is also getting better at recognising and ignoring unnatural links itself anyway.

The Disavow File is Only Needed for Manual Action Penalties

November 14, 2017 Source

The disavow file should mainly be used when there is a manual action to help with the reconsideration request. For sites that don’t have a manual action, Google will try to ignore any manipulative links automatically.

Disavowing Links From Partial Manual Actions Isn’t Necessary

October 31, 2017 Source

If a site has received a partial manual action for spammy links, these links will have already been taken out of consideration by the Webspam team. In this case, it is up to the webmaster if you want to disavow the spammy links or leave them there.

Google Counts Links When Removed From Disavow Files

October 31, 2017 Source

Removing URLs from the disavow file means Google will count these links again the next time they are processed.

Disavow Internationalized Domains with Punycode

January 10, 2017 Source

You can disavow domains with the Punycode versions of internationalized domain names.

Search Console Shows a Sample of the More ‘Relevant’ Backlinks

December 20, 2016 Source

The backlink data in Search Console is a sampled set of backlinks which Google considers to be more relevant. For small sites, this might include all the backlinks. The data includes links which are nofollowed and may have been disavowed.

Google Penguin Devalues Links Instead of Penalising Them

October 4, 2016 Source

The new algorithm in Penguin devalues spammy links instead of applying a penalty. Despite this, John says getting rid of disavow completely would be a bad strategy, as you can use the disavow file for any links you do not want to be associated with.

Add Nofollow to Shared Links

July 29, 2016 Source

If you are giving out links to be shared on other websites, you should ask for nofollow to be added. If a few links are added without the nofollow, it probably won’t cause a penalty, but you can disavow the URLs with the links to be safe.

Status Codes and Disavows are Not Permanent

July 29, 2016 Source

404 and 410 do not have permanent effects. If you change them back to 200 then the pages will become indexed again, or redirects will start to pass PageRank. Disavow also isn’t permanent, so if you remove the URLs from the disavow file they will start to pass PageRank, although this won’t happen until the URLs are recrawled.

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Internal Linking Backlinks Anchor Text External Linking Deep App Links