Disavow Link File Best Practices: Don't Screw it Up!
 by Casey Markee

Disavow Link File Best Practices: Don't Screw it Up!

  • We have a couple of clients who have needed to format and submit Disavow Link files because of link related issues, both manual and Penguin-related. One submitted their file without first letting us review it and it was in a .doc format and contained other errors. Can you tell us what happens with files like this? Are they ignored? What best practices do we need to be using here?

Answer: First the good news: what you have described is actually more common than you think. Now the bad news: yes, the file is completely ignored.

Google uses automated parsers to read these files and the file is only processed successfully if you use a .txt file that is encoded UTF-8 or 7-bit ASCII. So if your clients have uploaded a .doc or a .xlsx or any other format, then that file is going to be completely ignored. Worse? Google doesn't let you know they rejected your file.

Google's Matt Cutts' recently put live a video on the official Google blog detailing some of the most common mistakes site owners have been making in their use of the Disavow Tool. The video is a must-watch and we've embedded it below for you.

  • 1. Using the Wrong File Format: As we noted above the BIGGEST initial mistake is uploading the file in a format the parser cannot read. Stick with the .txt format and ONLY the .txt format. Uploading a .doc, .xlsx or even a .csv file will cause the file to be rejected. And remember, you will receive no notice it has been rejected. That's doubly worse!
  • 2. Incorrect File Syntax: The parser is not super sophisticated. There are correct and incorrect ways to denote both domains and individual links Using domain:suspectdo...

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