Google’s Disavow Links Tool – How to Keep Your Website Clear of Bad Links
Google introduced its Disavow Links Tool a while back and many website owners went frantic. It seems as if every other webmaster wants to go to any lengths to ensure that his website’s ranking does not take a steep fall. Amid all the confusion, the one question that continues to haunt webmasters and SEO experts is how to find out about links that one are supposed to disavow.
If you have the same question in your mind, you have come to just the right place. Helping readers to make the most out of this remarkable tool, the following attempts to shed light as to how one can perform a link audit effectively. Also, by the end of the article, you will be easily able to determine which links you should get rid of.
Tools you will need:
- Scrapebox (a tool essential to every SEO expert)
- Microsoft Excel
Find the Ratio of Your Anchor Text
A good place to start is to consider the most significant factor that Google uses to determine a website’s ranking and it is none other than the anchor text ratio. If the content of other websites is over-optimized for anchor text, chances are you will get into trouble with Google’s algorithm. The following are the steps to be followed.
1. Start out with getting a list of all of the inbound links of your website and create a list in the excel sheet. You can accomplish this using the Google Webmaster Tool. There are other tools available but this one is recommended as it renders comprehensive information. In order to generate this list, follow these steps.
a. Login to your account on Google Webmaster
b. Select your website
c. Select “Traffic” on the left panel
d. Select “Links To Your Website”
e. Select “Who Links The Most”
f. Select option “Download Latest Links”
2. Run the list of inbound links you have received through Scrapebox. You will get the anchor text for every single link on the list.
3. Export the report generated to excel. Do not forget to open the file and save it again otherwise it will corrupt.
4. Start working on spreadsheet and create columns by naming column A, B, C and D as Source URL, Destination URL, Anchor Text and Found respectively.
5. Next, column D has to be sorted alphabetically. Get rid of all rows in where the value in column D is anything other than Found.
6. Remove column D.
7. Introduce a new column named ‘NUMBER OF TIMES ANCHOR TEXT APPEARED’.
8. Enter formula: =COUNTIF ($C$2:$C$1234, C2). Replace ‘1234’ in the formula with the number of last row in your data set.
9. This formula is applied to all rows in column D. Click on cells in the column D2. Next, click the box present in lower right area of the cell. Drag the box down the entire column D. You will get a list of the number of times anchor text has appeared in the spreadsheet.
10. Open a new worksheet within the worksheet you are working on and paste data from column C and column D.
11. Since this data will still have the formulas applied to them, they have to be removed. Copy and paste the data from the two columns on notepad. Copy and paste the data from notepad now and paste it back. You will get values without the formulas.
12. Next step is removing the duplicates. Select the two columns. Go to the tab ‘data’ in excel and select ‘Remove Duplicate’. A pop up will appear. Select column C and D and click OK.
13. Add column C with the name ‘Percentage of Total’.
14. Sort column B to get the number of times the anchor text appeared using the largest to smallest option.
15. Move down to the last row of the spreadsheet containing data. In column B under the cell having the last data, enter the formula :=( B2:B1234). You will get the sum of the number of links. Again, do not forget to replace 1234 with the number of the last row of your data set.
16. Come to column C and clicking on the cell c2, enter this formula: = B2/$B$123. Replace ‘123’ with the total number of links you have found out in step 15.
17. The format of the data values in column C is changed to percentage having two decimal points. For those who do not know, this is done by highlighting the entire column. Right click, select ‘Format Cells’ and then change the setting under ‘Category’ to ‘Percentage’.
18. Apply this formula to each row in column C and you will get a list of anchor text percentages for your link profile.
19. Now highlight all the rows where the percentage of anchor text exceeds 2 percent of link profile excluding naked URLs, brand anchors and images. The remaining ones are those that are over-optimized.
Next, you have to get a list of domains and find certain metrics to determine the domains you have to disavow.
20. Paste the list of all your links on notepad.
21. Now load this notepad file in Scrapebox using the option ‘Import URL List’
22. Select ‘Trim To Root’.
23. Select ‘Remove Filter’ and then choose ‘Remove Any Duplicate Domains’.
24. Choose the option ‘Check PageRank’ and then select ‘Get Domain PageRank’. You will get the domain PageRank of every domain.
25. Now export list of domains using the button ‘Import/Export URLS and PR’.
26. Copy and then paste your output to the excel spreadsheet and sort all the PageRanks in descending order.
You now have to find out which links you have to remove. Read on.
27. Go to the list having the percentages of anchor text. Find what the first anchor text (output of step 19) and note what it is.
28. Return, go back to the output of Scrapebox, the one with the anchor text and sort the list alphabetically.
29. Scroll the list with anchor texts and find out where the anchor text you noted in step 27 appeared for the first time.
30. Copy and paste all the links into a excel sheet named as ‘Links to Remove’.
31. Repeat step 27 to step 30 for all anchor texts in the list from step 19.
32. Now again go your list of anchor text percentages. Go very carefully through the list and find all those that are irrelevant or spam. Keep adding these to your list of ‘Links to Remove’.
33. Now load the list of ‘Links of Remove’ into Scrapebox to get the PageRank for each of the links.
34. Copy and paste the output to an excel sheet and sort the PageRanks in descending order.
35. Highlights links that have a PageRank 4 or below. Also note those that have irrelevant anchor text.
36. Add all these highlighted data to your ‘Links to Remove’ list. Now you have to find out which links you have to get rid of completely.
37. Copy and paste the list with links generated at step 33 from the spreadsheet to a notepad file.
38. Now load the file to Scrapebox and repeat from step 20-26.
39. Add to list all the URLs that have a PageRank 2 or less.
40. Now check your list from any URLs that do not end with .org, .com or .net.
41. Add these links to your ‘Links to Remove’ list as well.
42. When you are ready, just add your ‘links to remove’ list to Google’s Disavow Tool using the instructions.
We hope that with the information listed above, you will have no difficulty finding out which links to get rid of in order to please Google’s Penguin and to keep her happy.
This is a guest post by Roman Viliavin, vice CEO at Promodo SEM Company.
Unconventional Thinker and candidate master of chess. Roman has been working in the field of search engine optimization since 2005 and is the moving spirit of the company. Participant and speaker of all major events in SEO business. Roman has successfully completed dozens of projects and gladly shares his experience with SEO community via articles and various online and offline publications. Follow Roman on Twitter and Facebook.