Google Disavow Links – Recover from Pengiun update

Google had Launched a new tool “Disavow links” which allows Webmasters to eliminate links to their site which may be hurting their search engine rankings. Google formally announced the tool on their blog Webmaster Central.

What is Disavow Link Tool?

If you believe your site’s ranking is being harmed by low-quality links you do not control, you can ask Google not to take them into account when assessing your site.

Matt Cutts,Head of Google’s web spam team warned that the tool should be used with caution as there is a chance of breaking quality links which may not be possible to add back later. If used incorrectly, Disavow links can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results. He also recommends to use disavow backlinks only if you believe you have a considerable number of spammy, artificial, or low-quality links pointing to your site, and if you are confident that the links are causing issues for you.

I would recommend to use  “Disavow links” if you believe you are hurt by Google’s Penguin Update & there is drop in the traffic on/after April 24, 2012 where websites were penalized by Google for using unnatural aggressive link-building strategies like paid links, link exchanges, or other link schemes that violate  Google’s quality guidelines.

How to use Disavow links :

The tool can be accessed from Google’s Webmaster tools here, & first select your site.


Disavow links Webmaster Tools - recover from penguin update

You’ll then be warned & prompted to upload a file containing the links you want to disavow.

Webmaster Tools - Disavow Links

The format is straightforward. All you need is a create a plain text file(.txt) with one URL per line. An excerpt of a valid file might look like the following:

# Contacted owner of on 7/1/2012 to ask for link removal but got no response
# Owner of removed most links, but missed these

Disavow links text file Syntax Explanation :

The main points to be considered while preparing a text file to use with DisAvow links is :

  1. In the above example, lines that begin with a pound sign (#) are considered comments and Google ignores them.
  2. The “domain:” keyword indicates that you’d like to disavow links from all pages on a particular site (in this case, “”).
  3. You also has the option to disavow links on specific pages from a domain (in this case, three individual pages on
Google currently supports only one disavowal file per site and the file can be shared among site owners in Webmaster Tools. If you want to update the file, you’ll need to download the existing file, modify it, and upload the new one.
Once you have uploaded the file it will take few weeks before Google considers & evaluates your request.The reason for such a long delay is Google needs to recrawl and reindex the URLs you disavowed before your disavowals go into effect.
Note: Disavow links file size has a limit of 2MB.

How to find Bad Links pointing to your website :

One great place to start looking for bad links is the “Links to Your Site” feature in Webmaster Tools. From the homepage, select the site you want, navigate to Traffic > Links to Your Site > Who links the most > More, then click one of the download buttons. This file lists pages that link to your site. If you click “Download latest links,” you’ll see dates as well. This can be a great place to start your investigation, but be sure you don’t upload the entire list of links to your site — you don’t want to disavow all your links!

More Information about Disavow links :

Please have a look at the below where you can see Matt Cutts in action speaking about the Disavow links Tool:

To learn more about the feature, check out Google’s Official release here.Got any questions unanswered? Feel free to ask them below and I will look to get back to you as soon as possible.