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Google’s Disavow Links Tool: An In-Depth Look

Is Google’s Disavow Links the answer to your Penguin fueled fever dreams? It could be, but if you were hoping for a magic wand to make your bad link troubles disappear forever, you’ll have to keep waiting.

Here’s what every SEO needs to know about Disavow Links. (For more in-depth look, check out Search Engine Journal’s posting, Google’s Disavow Links Tool: First Impressions.)

When to Use Google’s Disavow Links Tool

Matt Cutts recommends using the tool only after you’ve exhausted conventional (i.e. manual) link removal methods. Google is labeling this as an “advanced tool,” and even SEJ says to use it with caution.

For those reasons, we recommend CAP readers use this tool with great care, especially early on.

How Does Disavow Links Work?

In terms of actual mechanics, using Disavow Links is about as tough as adding an attachment to an e-mail.

All users have to do is load up a text file with domains and specific page links and wait a couple weeks for Google to make updates.

Could Disavow Be Used for Negative SEO?

Using Disavow Links to bring down a competitor could be pretty tough. Both Cutts and SEJ agree that Google will be looking at those links closely and will call out sites that appear too often.

If someone out there wants you to remove links from your page and uses Disavow Links, it’s not likely to impact your page rankings.

At the same time, it’s really too early to know what the long term impact of Disavow Links requests will be.


For now, Disavow Links seems like a life preserver thrown to frustrated SEOs who’ve spent far too long on link removal campaigns.

Have you been using Google’s Disavow Links Tool? Share your experiences in the comments section below.