Google Disavow Links Tool in the Webmaster Tools

Matt Cutts (Google’s Anti-Spam guy) has presented the new Google Disavow Links Tool yesterday. The purpose of this tool is to mark links to your site as invalid when these links do not adhere to Google’s rules and potentially hurt your ranking or search engine result position.

Here the announcement by Matt Cutts:

The tool is part of the Webmaster Tools although I didn’t find how to navigate to it. But you can call it directly.

When you get there, you first have to select for which site you want to disavow links:
disavow links

When you press disavow links, you’ll get a warning to check you actually know what you’re doing:
warning disallow links

You can then upload a file containing the definition of which links you want to disavow:
disavow links choose file

The file should have the following format:

  • Start a line with a pound sign (#) so that it is considered a comment and ignored by Google
  • Use the syntax domain:domainname to disavow links on all pages of a given domain
  • Write a URL to disavow links on a given page

Here an example:

# These guys have so many bad bad links to my site that I just enter the whole domain
# For these domains there are only a few pages I want to get rid of

Currently, you have the following restrictions:

  • You can only have one disallow file per site.
  • You cannot edit the file. Only download, update and upload it again.
  • The file size should not exceed 2MB.
  • You should be patient. It might take Google weeks to process this file.

I guess it’s a nice addition to the Webmaster Tools. And we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes for someone to find a way to abuse it. I’m also not too sure whether Google will also use the information in these uploaded files in their algorithms to compute search engine result positions.

Also pay attention not to upload the wrong file or have the wrong domains in the file. I’m not too sure how this can be corrected once the file has been processed. And maybe it makes more sense to rather use URLs than domain names just in case you tend to misspell things…

Note that you can get a list of sites linking to yours in the Webmaster Tools:
links to your site

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