Link Pruning Just Got Easier with Google's New Disavow Links Tool

The long anticipated Disavow Links tool was finally introduced by Matt Cutts at PubCon with a formal announcement published on the Webmaster Central blog mid-October. The tool is specifically designed to help site owners affected by the Penguin update improve their backlink profile.

The Disavow Links tool is not a substitution for link pruning as it will not remove links.

Unfortunately, you'll still have to do some tedious work reaching out to site owners to remove suspicious links. The tool simply lets Google know that you would prefer that link was ignored. Google sees the Disavow Link request as a strong suggestion (similar to how they respond to rel="canonical") and at times may disregard it.

Cutts cautions site owners to only use the tool if they understand it completely and absolutely need to. When Cutts issues a warning like that listen to him because it tells us that the tool could be pretty powerful in the coming months. The tool is marked for the Advanced user but not because it's hard to understand. It's so simple to use that if you can upload a text file then you can disavow a link from your site.

You'll find the Disavow Links page here within Webmasters Tools. Once there, you select the site you'd like to disavow links on.


Next you upload a file containing a list of links.


The file should be in a plain text format. Google provided this example:

# Contacted owner of on 7/1/2012 to
# ask for link removal but got no response
# Owner of removed most links, but missed these