Relevant links to your website are valuable for page rank and ranking on search engines. On the other hand, poor quality and irrelevant links can penalise a site and should be removed. As these links originate from third-party web pages where you have no control over the page content and links, it may be necessary to 'tell' Google about these links so that they can be discounted. The Google Disavow Tool enables you to ask Google not to take certain links into account when assessing your site.
Disavowing links is a 3 stage process:
Stage 1: Download a list of incoming links
- Visit your Google Webmaster tools account;
- Go to the dashboard, click on 'Traffic' and then select 'Links to Your Site';
- Click 'more»' under 'Who links the most';
- Click the 'Download latest links' button;
- Save the file.
Stage 2: Evaluate the table of links
- Open the file you downloaded in Stage 1 in a spreadsheet (Excel or Google Docs);
- Decide on criteria for deciding whether links are relevant and good or not;
- Go through the list and delete the lines that you want to keep;
- Once you have a list of the links that you want to disavow, save this list as a text file.
Stage 3: Disavow unwanted links
- Go to the Disavow Links Page and select the site (the site must exist in Webmaster tools and you need to be a verified owner to disavow links);
- Click 'Disavow links';
- Choose the text file that you saves in Stage 2.
Google may take some time (of the order of weeks) to process the data that you loaded and to disavow the links to your site.