You can be the best Plumber in the entire universe, but if you don’t have the proper tools to aid you in your work, you’re done.
SEO tools are and always has been very ubiquitous. The internet is a deep sea where gold is always scattered all around. Diagnosing and fixing websites is greatly improved with the use of the right tools available in the web.
Let’s say for example that you set out to increase the domain authority of your client’s website and you happen to find a few bad links in their backlink check. You’re sure that these links aren’t relevant or beneficial, even dangerous. What do you do?
Google Search Console’s Disavow Tool
For a lot of you guys out there that are too lazy to register your site to the GSC, here’s another reason you should do it and use it.
Having a website out there today means all the attacks from your enemies and competitors are all also digital. They would do negative SEO and do all sorts of dirty cheap shots to you and your site. This is where the Disavowal tool from the Google Search console comes in.
Before we explore further, a little back story. Google has been locked in immortal battle with spammy links for years. Their first attempt to fight it was when they introduced the No Follow attribute in January of 2005. The next step in their fight against the spam is when they introduced the very first (and potent) Penguin Update in April 2012.
Penguin was a filter where search results needed to pass first. Manual actions were then sent to webmasters that already have access to the Google Search Console. The Disavow tool (introduced the same year, October 2012) then gave webmasters the choice to take out the bad links that might be preventing the website from actually performing properly in search.
To disavow links, there’s a couple of ways to do that. First is when you actually already got to determine the links you want to take out right on the Google Search Console. Go to the site you want to clean up and on the dashboard, click Search Traffic and then go to Links to Your Site. Click Download more sample links or Download Latest Links. This however makes you download all the links. Including those that might be okay.
Remember to save it as a .txt file and in it, you must pick out the links you want to disavow. They need to be listed as one links per line.
Cool tricks here include things like when you want to make Google ignore the entire website or domain that keeps linking to you that’s it’s starting to looks spammy, place domain:examplesite.com on one of the lines.
Once that’s done, you go to the disavow tool page itself and select the website you’re fixing. Click disavow links and choose the .txt file you prepared.
Next step here is that for you to wait it out. It usually takes 4 weeks for it to process the links you want to disavow.
The other way is that you extract all the bad links from other tools so you can be specific. Place all that on a .txt file and pass that one to the tool.
But wait, AJ! What about those links that aren’t inbound?
Well my panicky SEO friends, Google search console also has a solution for that.
The Remove URLs Tool
Ideally, when a website has old pages, you take them down or redirect them. In fact, there shouldn’t be extra pages like that at all. But there can be times that you, as an SEO, might come into circumstances that all your options might be a bit too limited. Can’t open the site, can’t take out pages, and can’t do this or that. You end up with extra pages that you don’t use anymore that gets seen on search.
Not to worry, Google search console is here to the rescue once again. Remember however that this option on Google Search Console is temporary. However, once you pass your pages for link removal on the tool and you block it on your robots.txt, the search engine will soon automatically just ignore those pages.
Going about this is the same as the collecting of links you want to disavow. Except for the .txt file part. Get all the links you want to take out, go to Google search console and find Google Index. Once it shows the other options, you can then click Remove URLs. In it there’s a button, Temporarily Hide and there, you can paste the URL of the page you want to take out of SERPS for a while.
Take note however that this is all possible thanks to our good old tool, the Google search console. Without it, we’re all just people staring on computer screens.