In online writing, writers look to other authoritative sources for facts and data to back up their thoughts. The way to do this ethically is by referencing the sources, primarily through backlinks. Backlinking is when a website links to an external site for reference. This process can be beneficial to both websites. A backlink to your website counts as an off-site SEO tactic. It means that other websites or authors find your content helpful and valuable. Also, when your website amasses quality backlinks, it is known as link building in SEO and digital marketing terms.
However, not all that glitters is gold. Even though it seems like backlinks have advantages, there are times when allowing them can be your undoing. Not only could they affect your website’s performance, but they can also tank your SEO efforts. Therefore, you need to start looking for ways to stop backlinks from other sites to yours. A suitable way to avoid backlinks is by disavowing links to your website. It is high time you understood what it means to disavow links and how it works. First, here are compelling reasons why you should disavow links to your website.
1. To Avoid Google Penalties
Every action online comes with consequences. Some come as rewards, while some are penalties. Just like in sports, penalties could negatively impact your goals – they could cost you the entire match. Likewise, Google penalties could cost you months or years of hard work. Google penalizes you when your backlink profile is not up to Google’s standards. Bad backlinks to your site incur penalties from Google, which may seem unfair. In many cases, toxic links are links from:
- Unrelated content or websites
- Sites or content with low-quality links
- Unnatural links from other sites
- Websites engaging in reciprocal linking
- Private blog networks (PBN)
These links are spammy. Indeed, they could hurt your reputation with Google. The penalty could be as severe as the complete removal of your website from the Google search index. It implies that your website will cease to exist on Google.
2. To Improve SEO
There are currently hundreds of millions of active websites globally. Thus, ranking on search engines is a never-ending struggle for every website online. Thus, search engine optimization is non-negotiable for every website owner or administrator. While relevant, natural links are great for SEO, bad backlinks pose a severe threat to your website’s chances of ranking.
For instance, there are thousands of CBD-dedicated sites in the world. Some would generate toxic backlinks. Thus, blocking low-quality backlinks would ensure that a top cannabis website SEO remains intact. When your chances of ranking begin to reduce due to spammy backlinks, disavowing the links become necessary. After successfully disavowing toxic backlinks, you should encourage healthy, high-quality backlinks to optimize your site.
3. It Could Affect the Speed of Your Website
Gone are the days when you would wait for seconds (or a few minutes) for a web page to load. No one has that patience these days. Thus, speed is crucial to running a thriving website. When your website is littered with spammy backlinks, it not only affects the SEO but also reduces its speed. With time, the website begins to load slowly, and the overall performance drops. This would eventually lead to high bounce rates. Although some spambots can bypass anti-spam measures, consistent monitoring of your backlinks would help you find them before they cause any damage.
How to Disavow Links to Optimize Your Site
Disavowing links from other sites helps to stay in compliance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Google created a disavow tool to help websites control the backlinks from other sites. This tool aims to deter links from external websites that may have a detrimental effect on your site. Only “no follow” links are exempt from this list. To disavow links to your site, follow the following steps:
Locate the Backlinks
Sometimes, backlinking may not be what is affecting your site’s performance. Thus, you should review the backlinks to your site before taking significant steps. Likewise, not all backlinks to your site are dangerous. When you take out all the backlinks to your site, you also stand to lose your link-building nest egg. Therefore, run a thorough search and fish out the bad links to your site. SEO tools such as Moz and Ahrefs help review backlinks.
They help to detect the harmful backlinks and show the extent to which they are dangerous. Also, they would grade your toxicity to show you how much damage has been done.
Create a Disavow File for Bad Links
This technical process involves making a list of possible harmful links to your site. When creating a disavow file, you write a list (in text format) of the links you find harmful. Send or report these links to Google and other search engines. You can disavow the whole domain or just the URL as you see fit. While sending this list, ensure that the file size is less than 2MB and ends in “.txt.” It is advised to test your disavow links before downloading. The Disavow File Testing Tool is ideal for this process.
Upload the File
After creating the list of disavowing links, you may upload the disavow file to Google Search Console. After logging into the search console, choose the “property” to disavow. Then, upload the disavow file directly to the Google Disavow Tool. The process is straightforward; follow the instructions on the Google Search Console Help for more explanation.
Contact the External Site
Sometimes, disavowing links from your end doesn’t cut it – you just have to tackle the problem from the source. If you have been penalized by Google due to the negative backlinks, spammy links have dealt you a heavy blow. Thus, you should contact the external site and ask them to stop linking to your site. You may not always get a positive response, but if you never try, you’ll never know.
Backlinks to your sites are not always harmful. Yet, when they are, the consequences can be dire. Thus, disavowing links to your website is an effective reactive measure to backlinks with adverse effects. Taking proactive steps such as monitoring inbound links to your site is vital to maintaining a successful and profitable website. After disavowing backlinks to your site, you would have to wait a few days or weeks to see results in full. While you discourage some backlinks from your site, be careful not to lose your link-building reserve.