How to submit a disavow to Google


Once you have done all the hard work to understand what bad links your site has and worked to try to get as many removed as possible it is vitally important that you ask Google to disavow any that remain.

‘Disavowing’ your links means telling Google that you dont want some of the links pointing at your site to pass any ranking signal from now on. Basically what you’re saying is “I don’t think these links conform to the Google quality guidelines and I have been unable to get the link removed so please ignore them”.

To tell Google what links you want to disavow you have to follow the procedure they suggest carefully, that involves creating a simple file and uploading it to them. We understand from within Google itself that they have had all sorts of files and formats sent to them and it seems likely that they just ignore anything that doesn’t comply to how they want the file.

OK enough chat, lets work through how you submit your disavow to Google.

Step 1.

Create a text file in notepad (windows) or textedit (mac)

In that file you need to add a line for every link or domain you want to disavow. The format for that is: -

# at the start of a line means a comment for Google and wont be processed by them but may be read

The domain: line means that you want every link from the domain to be disavowed. You can disavow individual links from individual pages but due to the way that Google asks you to be exact in how its expressed most people will choose to disavow the whole domain instead.

Here is what the file will look like

Disavow file

Save the file as “disavow.txt”

The file must have a .txt extension and be saved as UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII – Don’t worry about that too much, thats the default that Notepad or Textedit saves in anyway.

Step 2.

Sign into Google webmaster tools

Step 3.

Go to this URL (Why this isn’t one of the main links within webmaster tools is beyond me!)

Step 4.

Choose the domain you want to disavow links for from the dropdown.

Choose the site to Disavow

Step 5.

Read the warning message and break into a slight cold sweat for a few seconds.


Step 6.

Click the choose file and go and find the .txt file you created.

Select the file to upload

Step 7.

Submit the file.

Upload the fileNow as long as you can see the file you created listed you have completed the process.

Currently Google don’t send any acknowledgement message to say that they have your file or have actioned it, you just have to upload and wait with your fingers crossed.

Should you want to add to the file, you can download it, append more lines and upload it to overwrite the original at any time.


That’s it! If you aren’t confident in doing that yourself then please seek the help of a professional or get in touch with us and we can point you towards someone who can help.