Google’s Matt Cutts – Common mistakes made with the Disavow Tool

Matt Cutts, head of the Google Webspam team released a video discussing some of the most common mistakes people make when using the disavow tool in Google webmaster tools. 

Google launched the disavow tool last October. Its primary goal was to help website owners who were impacted by Google’s Penguin Update, an update which focused on paid and spammy links. Another use for the disavow tool was to combat negative SEO – to help innocent webmasters targeted with paid links by competitors. 

Matt’s video today focuses on the main mistakes Google see:

  • Upload a plain TXT file only as files can be rejected when people upload Microsoft Word and Excel spreadsheets.
  • On first request users are often too specific with links, trying to disavow a link from a certain page on a website when they should disavow links from the whole website, this can be done by using domain:nameofsite.com 
  • Wrong syntax in the TXT file uploaded. When using domain: do not use https or www. just “domain:sitename.com”
  • Do not describe the context of the links you want to disavow in the TXT file. You can use the reconsideration request form for this.
  • Manually try to clean up your links without the use of the disavow tool as well, don’t just try using the disavow tool as a short cut. 

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