Backlinks are important for rankings but the quality of the backlinks can make a huge difference. Sometimes the low-quality or spammy-looking backlinks can harm your website and you need to disavow them.
Google has provided a disavow tool which is helpful when you want to disavow a backlink. It allows you to ask Google to ignore certain backlinks pointing to your website. Before using this tool you need to analyse your backlink profile and find the bad links. When you disavow a backlink it is not removed from your backlink profile.
Google considers a backlink to be bad when it is created to manipulate the page rank or the website ranking. Links that are purchased, link exchanges, link schemes, footer links and products for backlinks are all considered to be the wrong way of getting backlinks. If you have acquired links in any of these ways then you need to disavow them.
Some of the tools that you can use to check your backlinks are Google Search Console, Semrush, Ahrefs, Moz and more.
You will need to disavow backlinks in the following cases:
If you have acquired links using the wrong practices and have got a manual penalty then you will have to disavow the link to remove the penalty. Connect your website to the Search Console to get notified of any manual penalty.
You should analyse your backlinks in the Search Console and find the one which has violated Google's guidelines. Once you find the link you can contact the owner and ask them to remove it or disavow the link.
Once the link is disavowed you can use the ‘Request Review’ button and ask for the action to be removed.
If you have a link from directories to your website with your keyword as anchor text then you will have to remove them. You should try to remove them manually and if it does not work then you can disavow them.
If you have participated in link schemes, got links that are paid for, taken links from private blog networks and have guest posts on websites that are not relevant to your niche then you should disavow them all.
If you have a backlink coming from comments or editorial links with anchor text then you should disavow them or try to get them removed or changed.
How to disavow links?
Once you have analysed your links you can create a disavow.txt file which can be uploaded to Google Search Console. Follow these guidelines to create the file. The file should have a .txt extension, the file size should not exceed 2MB and 100,000 lines and each URL must be on a separate line. If you want to disavow the entire domain then begin the line with Domain:
You can add comments by adding # in front of the line and they will be ignored by Google. Once the file is ready you can upload it to the Disavow tool in the Google Search Console and disavow links.