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Disavow links tool is used when Google gets an intuition that your site has a high count of unnatural links which includes fake links, spam links or low quality links. This tool was created to allow individuals who have their link profile comprising of links that seem irrelevant have the option of cleaning them out. The process of cleaning out the bad links pointed to your site is known as disavow. Despite its obvious function most people misuse the tool or put it to use in a wrong manner.

disavow tool

Mistakes in Disavow Link Tool

1) File Type Error
While uploading a text document with the list of links you have picked out, a parser will receive your document and the request is said to be parsed dependent on the information you have submitted. The parser is designed in such a way that it handles files with a text extension (.text) only. If by any chance a different extension is uploaded, the parser will reject the file and your request for reconsideration will have failed. Sometimes people upload word files or .doc files, excel files (.xls) and spreadsheet files of which will all be rejected. It is advised to use a basic .txt document with ASCII (7 bit) or UTF-8 encoding containing a list of links you want Google to ignore in a single line comment.

disavow text file

2) Placing context in the text file

Explanations and reasons are resourceful but not with the disavow link tool. When you add long paragraphs filled with reasons behind your submission of links in the text file, the parser will reject your file. Including a hash sign (#) with your back story will make no difference. If you find it really necessary to include the explanation add it in the reconsideration request form, although you can also take advantage and include it in the text file. In this instance you have to be very keen to detail as the content added should be brief and on a single line strictly if not it will be categorized as a bad file and will be thrown out by the parser blocking your request.

3) Not going deep enough to remove back links

Matt Cutts says webmasters submit their reconsideration requests with the disavow tool when they have not reviewed their link profile to fish out the bad links that are obvious. Before approaching Google for help, Cutts advises when you spot a spammy link, as SEO you should “use a machete” instead of “a scalpel” to clean up. This simply means that you should analyze your profile and dissect it deeper.

When you note that your site is filled with links from a particular spam site, avoid selecting individual URLs for removal, instead take a broader step and remove bad links with a “domain:” command, if not,  some links that impact search results might be missed.
Experts suggest, to use following command instead of using each internal link, if your domain has lots of spammy links pointing from the same URL.

4) Using The Wrong Coding Syntax

This type of error can happen to almost anyone who is not keen on their coding.This is the error that involves the typing of the “domain:” syntax. The correct method to be followed is to type this attribute as

Instead of “” or “domain:”

disavow file format

5) Copy and Pasting Lines In The Text File

This method is used by most people when they write the first line, copy it and paste it in the next line. There will be an error in this case in the copy and paste procedure leaving some of the lines without a comment. The parser will be led to believe the file is damaged and therefore reject it making the reconsideration a fail.

6) Disavow Tool is Not a universal cure

Not all that is wrong with your backlinks can be solved by the disavow tool. When suspect an infestation of spammy backlinks to your site, take time and analyze the links thoroughly on your own. You can try and remove the bad links. The disavow tool assists on links that you have no control over and cannot use it as your ‘first aid kit’ immediately you notice bad links trouble in a profile.  It is in the expectations of Google experts that before you turn to disavowing; give the old fashioned way of link removal a shot. It is always recommended to try a minimum of three times to reach out on the site with bad links before adding it to the Google Disavow file. Some ways that can be put into use is sending an email to the site with a request for removal of your link from their website.

The message requesting complete removal of the links should have a personalized touch and follow up should be done at regular intervals. If even after the third trial, the Webmaster does not respond, reporting in Google Disavow can be considered. It might seem as a time consuming method but it helps in escaping future penalties.
Marketers are making the above mistakes with the disavow tool and that can halt the reconsideration process. “[Google] wants to see when you’re doing a reconsideration request that you’re putting in the effort to try to make sure that things have been corrected and cleaned up and are not going to happen again,” Cutts explained.