In SEO, disavow means to discard unhealthy links pointing to your business site. In simple words, it is an option which allows you to tell Google not to take certain poor links into account when assessing your site.
Digital marketing is all about beating your competitors. Many competitors intentionally point harmful links to your site for hurting your search engine ranking. With the help of the disavow tool, you can avoid the negative impact of the links on your online presence.
Disavowing links is easy, but it is difficult to identify the links that can be harmful to your website’s visibility. It is quite common to see website owners using the disavow tool incorrectly. Sometimes they target harmless links, and sometimes they ignore the harmful links. Here are the top eight warning signs you should disavow a link to your site.
Sign 1: The linking site is a spam site.
What is a spam site? A spam site is a website which uses sneaky redirects. That is if a website contains redirects that are developed only to influence search engine ranking, then that it is called as a spam site. Such activity is a violation of Google guidelines.
How to know if a website is a spam site? Here are a few things you can do to discover whether a site is a spam site.
- Check the website connection type.
- See the site’s security status in the address bar.
- Evaluate the website’s URL
- Check the content quality on the website.
- See whether a site has too many adds.
- Check whether the site has a contact page.
So, getting a link from spam site can spoil your SEO efforts. Usually, SEO experts suggest disavowing all the links that come from a spam site.
Sign 2: The link violates Google guidelines.
Google has link guidelines, just like they have guidelines for everything. Here are the following examples of link schemes that can negatively impact your search engine ranking.
- Too many link exchanges.
- Using bots to create links to your site.
- Buying of links.
- Selling of links.
You can read all the guidelines here. Check whether your backlinks have violated any of the link guidelines. If yes, disavow those links.
Sign 3: The link has low DA.
DA stands for domain authority. It is a search engine ranking score developed by MOZ to predict how well a website will be ranked on the search engine results pages. DA score ranges from one to hundred. The higher DA score indicates a higher position in the SERPs.
Although MOZ is a third party tool, it still gives a pretty good idea about future results. If your linking site has low DA, then it might not be a good sign. SEO agencies usually suggest not to conclude anything based on this parameter alone. It is good to check out other signs as well.
Sign 4: The linking site is not indexed.
In simple words, indexing is a process of adding web pages into Google search. If a website is not in Google’s index, the internet user will not be able to find it. There are only three reasons why a site may not be indexed. They are:
- An SEO company or a webmaster has intentionally blocked Google with the help of no index tag.
- The web pages are recently created, Google has not found them yet.
- The website has violated Google guidelines, so they have been deindexed.
The first two are less likely to be the reasons for de-indexing. The best method to know if a site is deindexed is to Google the domain name. If you find the website in the search results, then the website is indexed. And if you do not find the website in the search results, the website is deindexed. If a website is deindexed for violating the SEO rules, then get rid of all the links from such sites.
Sign 5: The linking page has too many garbage links.
Garbage links are the connection to web pages that add no value to the search engines and Internet users. Spammers usually create pages that have numerous link of them. Some of these pages might be very old. However, it is also possible that some of the links are new. It might be a part of a negative SEO campaign run by your competitors.
Moreover, any page with hundreds of links on it is definitely a bad page. In this case, a link removal request is less likely to work. Because the owner is less likely to respond. However, there is nothing to worry about. You can use the disavow tool and fix the issue then and there.
Sign 6: The backlink is invisible.
Believe it or not, this is quite possible. If you visit a page that is linking to your page and you can’t find the link, then something is wrong. SEO analysts usually say that such things happen when link cloaking is involved. Link cloaking is considered as a black hat SEO trick. Search engine penalizes such activity severely.
Spammers cloak links so they can hide them on the pages and make them look more search engine and user-friendly. The link can be hidden in multiple ways. Here we are mentioning some:
- Links having the background color.
- Links hidden behind the images.
- Links with micro font size.
- Links in the corners or unimportant places.
Sign 7: The link is from a foreign language page.
Foreign language links are not always bad, but they are not helpful to the readers most of the time. For example, if you are running a UK site and you are getting links from Saudi Arabia, those links are less likely to help you.
Internet users prefer only one language. Links from a foreign language page may make them reach a website whose language they don’t understand. On the whole, it spoils the user experience which is the ultimate goal of search engines. This is the reason why Google does not encourage links from a foreign language page.
Moreover, such links increase the bounce rate. Therefore, avoid links from the foreign language pages as much as possible.
Sign 8: The linking page has stolen content.
Sometimes you get a link from a page that appears fine. However, the URL, content, branding, and construction of the page make you suspicious. If so, there is a good chance that the content is stolen from other sites. Duplication of content is a violation of Google guidelines. A website can never rank high with the help of duplicate content. There are many online tools available to check whether the content is duplicate or fresh. Copyscape is one such amazing tool. If the content is stolen you can easily find the original source of the content, which is already linking to your site. It is always good to disavow links coming from sites that steal content from others.