In the past ranking highly in the search engines was dreadfully easy. All you needed to do was get as many links out there as possible and it did not matter where those links came from. The search engines are smarter now though.
As a result, many of our clients come to us with tired sites that no longer rank in the search engines. Once we take a closer look, 90% of the time it is because their old SEO was blindly building backlinks, which ended up giving the site a bad reputation. If you have a link on a site not relevant to your site then it is definitely doing more harm to your rankings than good.
What’s the solution?
Obviously you can ask each and every webmaster to remove the link for you; but what if they say no or you get no response? Fortunately, Google introduced a tool to help people who are facing these problems, it known as the Google Disavow Tool.
The Google Disavow Tool allows you to tell Google to disregard certain links when it comes to ranking you in the search engines. It is a fairly straightforward tool to use if you are computer/website savvy.
We find ourselves using it quite often to keep our client’s sites as clean as possible.
Let me run you through briefly how we use it. For the purposes of this article I am going to assume that you already know which links you wish to be disregarded, (but if not, stop here and get in touch with us so that we can talk about your situation).
If you are signed up to Google Webmaster Tools–you are going to have to be if you wish to use the Google disavow tool–then you will be able to view a list of linking websites there. The problem is that this is only a partial list, so you’ll need a subscription to a link aggregation service like ahrefs or Majestic. Once you compile your list into a spreadsheet, you can go through this list and work out which links are harming and which ones are beneficial to you. This is more of an art than a science sometimes.
Next, follow these steps to disavow your spammy backlinks:
- The first step to using the Google Disavow Tool is to put together a text file which lists all of the links you wish to be disavowed. You want one link per line. You want it in this format “domain:google.com”. Obviously replace Google.com with any link that you are trying to disavow.
- Save your file and login into Google Webmaster Tools. Find the disavow tool.
- Select your site from the dropdown box that appears (if you have multiple sites)
- Click the link that says “Disavow Links”
- You will now be prompted to upload your created file. Click submit and you should be done.
It is worth noting that it is unlikely that the disavow of the links will be instant. It will normally take several days to process, in some cases it could take months for the links to be ignored. This is because the links will only be updated when Google crawls and indexes your website. It does this more often for popular websites, but if your link is on a site that barely gets crawled then it is likely that you will be waiting around for a while.
Rest assured though; if you have created the link report properly, and if you followed those steps above, then you are going in the right direction. Just make sure you update the file regularly if you come across any new links that should be ignored!
Again, if you are looking for a search engine marketing company in Jacksonville that can handle this whole process for you and help make your website work for you, please get in touch with us to set up an appointment today.