Remove Bad Backlinks to Your Website with Google’s Disavow Tool

If you’ve ever engaged in a link building campaign, or even if you haven’t, it’s possible that your site has built up some bad links. By bad links – we mean the kind of links that simply don’t make sense at all from a business perspective, or downright spammy ones (you know, from the kinds of sites that you can’t look at while you’re at work). Don’t feel bad – it can happen even to the best of us. And sometimes, it even happens by someone maliciously trying to harm your site.

So, how do you get rid of these bad backlinks?

Up until recently there was only one way: Ask for their removal – Use WebMaster Tools to pull down a list of all sites that are linking to your site and then research how you can contact those sites and then request removal. In many cases this is quite successful.

Google's Disavow ToolBut sometimes those webmasters don’t respond… or you can’t (easily) find contact information. In this case, a new tool from Google called the disavow tool can come in really handy! This tool is basically the equivalent of “no-follow” links, only you’re in control of it.

In a nutshell, you compile a list of links to your site that you want Google to ignore, format it the way that they want and then submit your request. There’s no promise of how fast it will happen, but the general consensus seems to be that within a couple of weeks, there will be probably be some action from Google. For sites that have felt any impact from Penguin updates, this new tool is an amazing opportunity to a) fix the bad backlinks to your site, and b) help you sleep at night.

Want to learn more? Read about the new disavow tool here, or watch this video from Google’s Matt Cutts that explains when it’s appropriate to use the disavow tool.

matt cutts backlinks

Have you ever had to remove bad backlinks to your site? How did you do it? Tell me in the comments!

We may tease Leanne about being the only Canadian at TKG, but in truth she’s an online marketing pro with a breadth of experience including SEO, content marketing, analytics and more. She’ll be talking about these topics as well as high level marketing strategy.

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