Does Google Links Disavow Tool Really Work – A Case Study

9 months has passed since the Penguin update and Google started to hand out the Unnatural Link Building warnings and penalties and there are still thousands and thousands of websites that still haven’t been able to recover from their penalties and in many cases, submitting one or several Reconsideration Requests haven’t had an impact at all.

It’s been a while now since Google released their Links Disavow tool as a as a tool for webmasters to get rid of and clean up their spammy backlinks and now is a perfect time
to try getting rid of the penalty using the Disavow Tool before submitting a Reconsideration.

Some info regarding the site:
4 years old & PR2
Position for main keyword prior to penalty in April 2012 – #6
Position for main keyword after receiving the penalty – #300 to #500

Website participated in free, but automated link exchange system (footer and sidebar links)
All links do follow and from PR1+ sites.

One reconsideration request has already been turned down, despite removal of almost all the links from the link exchange system.

Actions taken


First, if you do know that you have done something nasty in the past and you’re confident that it’s behind your penalty, make sure to remove / try to remove those links first
and save all the links to a text file.
In our case, yeah, we participated in link exchange, but luckily for us the links are removed since it was an automated link exchange system.
Leave the network, delete links from your site, and all links pointing to your website gets deleted automatically.

This was a while ago, but plenty of them turned recently up in Google Webmaster Tools as freshly found links, so even if you don’t have a list
there is a big chance of finding the links in your GWT account.


Download links to your site from GWT

  1. On the Webmaster Tools home page, click the site you want.
  2. On the Dashboard, click Traffic, and then click Links to Your Site.
  3. Click Download.


You need to be very very careful about which links to disavow.
Too many then you could hurt your rankings (and for gods sake, don’t just upload all the links you can find to the disavow tool)
and if you do too few you won’t pass a reconsideration request.

So we already added the nasty links (even if they are deleted) to two text files.
One containing the links we are going to disavow and the second one with links we are going to submit together with our reconsideration request.

Next, I recommend you to add all your de-indexed links, they do more harm then good, so just let’s get rid of them.
Second, take a good look at your links, and add all your spammy links (we know we all have a couple of those)
Again, links that do more harm then good, when they are going through your reconsideration and randomly checking your flagged links.
Remember, it’s all about showing good faith and showing that you’re taking this seriously and taking some action !

Now we take our nasty links, our de-indexed links and our obvious spammy link together with the dead links and add them to a text file.
One url per line, example given:

and if you have multiple urls from same domain/subdomain you can save time by adding:

Now it’s time to upload the text file into the Disavow tool:


Upload a list of links to disavow

  1. Go to the disavow links tool page.
  2. Select your website.
  3. Click Disavow links.
  4. Click Choose file.

All we have to do now is to wait a week to make sure that the Google Bots has time to crawl those links before submitting a reconsideration request.


This is one of my Guest-Posts and was originally posted at Website


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