Hosting Tutorial & Guide

How to Remove Spam Backlinks with Google Disavow Links Tool

updated on Dec 28, 2016
How to Remove Spam Backlinks with Google Disavow Links Tool The quality of backlinks has a significant effect on the SEO performance of websites. By building quality backlinks through White Hat SEO techniques, you can expect a boost of your search engine rankings. However, this also means that bad or spam backlinks would do much harm to your site.

Google Penguin penalizes websites with backlinks from link farms or any site with malicious content. Some companies, then, take advantage of this algorithm to launch negative SEO campaigns to beat their competitors by building many spam backlinks.

If your website is caught by negative SEO, or you have accidentally got some spam backlinks, you may need Google's Disavow Links tool. In below, we will tell what this tool is, and how to use it.

About Google Disavow Links Tool

Spam backlinks are an important component of negative SEO campaigns. They are usually generated by the bad people to lower the search engine rankings of their competitors'. Such links are easy to get, but they are indeed effective in bringing about negative SEO.

In fact, Google is intelligent enough to spot spam sites and spam links automatically, so most of the spam backlinks won't affect your site a lot, but so of them still do.

The traditional way to deal with spam or low-quality links is to contact the webmasters and ask them to remove the links. However, this method is of low efficiency because your request may be ignored, especially when the links are created on purpose to affect your site's rankings.

Fortunately, Google has developed a Disavow Links tool to help address the issue with efficiency. You only need to find out the spam backlinks, list them in a text file, and submit the file to Google. Then Google will not take those links into account when crawling and indexing your site, which can minimize the effect of the spammy links to your site.

Remove Spam Backlinks

After introducing the Disavow Links tool, now we'd like to show how to make use of it.

Find the Spam Backlinks of Your Website

This is a time-consuming task if your website has obtained hundreds or even thousands of backlinks because you will have to find out all the spammy links by yourself without taking down any of the quality ones.

First of all, you need to get a list of all your backlinks. Google Search Console is a great helper for doing this as you can see the links and domains by visiting Search Traffic > Links to Your Site in the dashboard.

See Backlinks in Google Search Console

But as alternatives, you can also take advantage of some professional backlink checkers online which include analyses that help you locate the harmful links. If you want suggestions, below are some.
  • Ahrefs – It is a popular backlink analysis service that lets you track your backlinks easily while offering you all the details about your backlinks. It is a paid service, but you can get a 2-week free trial.
  • SEMRush – It is a complete SEO solution which includes backlink analysis. You can easily export reports from this tool.
  • OpenLinkprofiler – It provides a free backlink checker tool that enables you to check all the links pointing to your site and allows you to export 1000 fresh backlinks in CSV.
Check Backlinks with OpenLinkprofiler

After finding the spam links, write them one by one in a text file and keep them in their own line. If you have received multiple links from one domain, simply note the domain down to ignore all the links from it.

Locating all the spam links is not easy, but you have to make the efforts in order to improve your website's SEO. Also, you can hire an SEO expert to do all the things for you if you are not sure what you should do.

Remove the Spam Links by Using Google Disavow Links Tool

Once you have prepared the text file, you can visit the Google Disavow Links page. On this page, you first need to select your domain, then click on the "Disavow Links" button.

Select Domain

On the new page, you are required to confirm that you want to disavow links. Now click on the disavow button.

Disavow Links

You will get a popup in which you are asked to upload a file containing the links that you'd like to disavow. Simply select the text file you've made and upload it to Google. Then click on the "Submit" button.

Submit Spam Backlinks

That's all. You have reported your spam backlinks to Google. The disavowing should take effect within one or two weeks since Google needs time to re-crawl and re-index the pages in the text file.

After uploading the initial file, you can also make changes to it after some time. If you want to add other spam backlinks for Google to ignore, you only need to download the file from Google, add those links to it, and then upload it again.

The Disavow Links tool seems not perfect, but the good news is that Google is still working on it to make it better. If you have received a warning in Google Search Console regarding spam links, or you have to clean up your website, you are suggested to try the tool with caution.