By now we all know how important link building is to our business, right?

A link building strategy is going to allow us to gain authority and scale positions on Google. But … is any link good? Is the saying ‘Don’t give a tooth a gift horse’ correct?

The answer is no! Not all links are good for our brand.

Still, if you’ve got backlinks or poor quality links are pointing to you, don’t worry. There is a free solution to disavow them and prevent them from harming you: Google Disavow Tool.

Google Disavow Tool: what is the tool for?

Google Disavow Tool is the tool that Google itself offers to disallow links from your website. Direct and at the foot.

When you have analyzed the link profile of your website and have detected backlinks that could be harming your brand in terms of positioning, it is time to remove them.

For this, there are two options:

  1. That you speak to the person in charge of the web and ask him to remove it. It is the fastest option, but not always the most effective. And it is that in many cases they will not listen to you and, in others, you will not be able to access the administrator.
  2. Use the Google tool for disavow. This option is somewhat more complex but effective and, once the links to be disallowed have been sent, it can take up to 6 months for Google to stop associating them with your website.

There will be occasions, especially with toxic links, that you will not be the one to request them, but they will put them in spam and harm you. Therefore, the second option must always be used.

Link Building and Disavows: Why More can be Less?

Many times we make the mistake (especially at the beginning of a project), of trying to get the maximum number of links, and then we have to make disavows. And is that if you have to be clear from now is that:


Surely you have heard that the more links it will be the better to push your website and make Google track it earlier, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It is true, it can work (although not always), and this is usually aimed at those who work in the world of niches. This is a complete guide to link building in 2020.

I build a niche, I put any type of links and … in the worst case, if they penalize the web, I mount another.

But what do we do when that website is about business? Are you willing to throw all your work for a bad link strategy that leads to the penalty?

Why are Not all Links Good?

Backlinks are important, how do you acquire links to your site? Link building is still critical to the success of any SEO campaign when it comes to ranking organically. Backlinks today are much different than when they were built in 7-8 years back. Simply having thousands of backlinks or only have link from one website isn’t going to affect your rank position

The importance of disavowing with Google Disavow first detects those backlinks that are not good for your business.

For what reason are not all links good? Because they can negatively affect your positioning strategy.

When we take a project already started and study the link profile, in parallel with obtaining quality links, the corresponding disavows must be made (if needed).

Later we will give you a series of tips so that you can detect these toxic links and you can make a disavow. However, it is important that these actions are carried out by a technical professional, to the extent possible. Even more so when your site already has a considerable journey.

Keep in mind that if you disavow it without prior knowledge, two things can happen:

  • Leave yourself toxic links to disavow.
  • Disallow quality links.

Tricks to Detect Toxic Links

If you have come this far, you are surely wondering how you can detect toxic links yourself. So we are going to give you some tips so you know how to recognize them:


Those links that point to your website but the destination is an image (jpg, jpeg). All these backlinks will have to be unauthorized in a massive way.

Links with “strange” domain extensions

If you have backlinks that come to you from pages with domain extensions outside the usual ones (.com, .es, .org, .net…), consider disavowing after studying them. These types of extensions are usually: .xyz, .tk, .biz , among others.

Links from Russian pages

.Ru are links that you should also avoid at all costs. If you have a website in Spanish there is no point in having back page links in another type of alphabet. Like the previous ones, they are usually created automatically and you have to control them.

The same occurs with pages in Arabic, Indian or Chinese, among others.

Webs with penalties

The sale of links is the order of the day and Google works day by day to detect websites that are dedicated to it to penalize them. If you have obtained links from a penalized website, it will also affect you.

To detect this you must be able to access web analysis tools such as Semrush, Ahrefs, Sistrix, etc.

Recognizing these types of links will be more difficult for you as are individual. However, a trick (although it is not a certain science because it depends on many factors), would be to enter the link platforms, see the blogs and newspapers with more affordable prices and enter random news from their website.

If you see that many of the entries contain dofollow links to external pages, try to avoid these means.

Profiles and forums

Profiles and forums are a more complex case. Since their practice can be positive for your link building strategy, but it can also affect you negatively.

Generating links in profiles, forums, and directories is a positive practice if it is done with meaning and in thematic spaces, where there is agreement and you can add value.

For example, if you have a renovation company, listing in construction company directories would make sense. The same in repair forums where, as an expert, you could give your opinion to users’ doubts.

If you have created profiles in any directory and forum for having more links to your website, it is time to study them one by one and decide which ones to deauthorize with Google Disavow.

Subdomain websites

They are usually pages that are used exclusively for creating links. Many use them, but it is not a recommended practice. Therefore, these links could also be unauthorized.

In this section, we refer to those websites such as Jimdo, Blogger, WordPress (don’t forget that we are talking about websites with this subdomain, not creating a website with this CMS).

Porn websites, online casinos or adult content

Not much more to say. If you have backlinks of this type of website, disallow them.

Although these are some of the patterns that tend to follow the links that must be disavowed with Google Disavow, the reality is a little more complex. However, it will help you get an idea of ​​what your link profile is like.

How to Disavow Links in Search Console Step by Step Guide

It’s time for practice! And we are going to summarize them in 4 steps:

Detects toxic links

It is the first step. Detect those links to disavow. Although we have given you some tricks to recognize them, you must first find them.

To know the links that point to your website, go to the links section of Google Search Console and you will get the list .

There are other options such as Semrush and Ahrefs, but these are payment tools. Personally, Ahrefs is the most comfortable, intuitive, and practical for this, but it depends on taste.

When you have the list of links to disavow, write them down in an Excel sheet

Prepare the Disavow.txt file

The file that is sent to disavow links in Search Console has to be written in plain text .txt. You can do this with the default notepad on any computer.

When writing the .txt file with the toxic links, the syntax should be as follows :

  • For disavowing links for an entire domain (recommended option), use: domain:
  • For disavowing links on a specific page:
  • If you want to add comments to the document, use the pads: #comment. Comments are often used, for example, to put the date the disavow update was uploaded.

DON’T FORGET: For the file to be correct you will have to put an order per line (domain, specific URL, comments).

To give you an idea, an example of a Disavow.txt file would be:

Upload the file to Google Disavow Tool

If you already have the .txt file ready, go to the tool page and choose the domain to which you want to disallow links. To be able to do it you must have it on your property.

When you enter you will have to click on ‘Disallow link’ and the following notice will appear:

Choose the file you want to upload and hit send.

Update your Disavow.txt file

Over time you will need to update the file with the new toxic links that have appeared.

As the Search Console links disavow tool only allows you to upload a file, it is recommended that you update the original file and upload the new version.

If you wish, you can also delete the file from the disavow if, for example, you got confused when uploading it. However, it is advisable not to.

Think that if you reconsider a link, it may not have the same value again.

How Long Does a Disavow Take to Take Effect?

At the beginning of the post, we commented that it could take up to 6 months. But the truth is, you can’t predict when Google will disavow those links.

The key is not to become obsessed with the subject. Above all, do not constantly consult Search Console, Ahrefs, Semrush, or other tools.

Although Google has disavowed those links, the tool may still show them to you.

On the other hand, you should know that Google has improved a lot, and, with Penguin 4.0, some toxic links are detected and you do not have to later disallow them.

Most Common Mistakes We Make When Disavowing

Google Disavow Tool is a practical tool, but it is easy to make some kind of mistake. So make sure you are doing it right.

Some of the typical errors with Google Disavow Tool are:

  • Disallow incorrect links. It is usually done out of ignorance, but before deleting any link, make sure you do it.
  • Using an incorrect format. Only .txt files are valid. Forget about any file that is not in plain text: Excel, Word, etc. AND ONE ORDER PER LINE.
  • Go to a very specific URL’s. The ideal is to go to the full domain, but if you disallow specific URL’s, it is possible that some may be forgotten or that you put it in the wrong format.
  • Abuse comments. Use them only if necessary. They can confuse you, or worse, make them wrong and that you cannot upload the file.
  • Over-size. Disavow Tool only accepts 100,000 URLs or weight of 2MB. Do not worry! This is difficult to happen.

Google’s John Mueller on How to Use Disavow Tool – Two More Times


At the end of the variety is quality. When you propose a link strategy try to make a link building that includes both thematic and general media, an appearance on forums and directories, guest posting

Don’t make disavows for doing. If you see that you have some spam, don’t worry. Google interprets as normal that you receive 2% -3% spam, so do not send to disallow every link that comes in.

At Grow Marketers, we have an extensive SEO team and professionals who are exclusively dedicated to generating effective and quality link building strategies.

Do you want us to help you? Get help.