Whether it’s due to questionable link building practices in the past, a potential ‘negative SEO’ attack or a spot of SEO spring cleaning – creating and uploading disavow files is a chore most SEO’s have to do every now and then.
As is common with the SEO industry, it doesn’t take long for new tools to be developed to help us with the ever-changing landscape – and link disavowing is no different. Link building tool Majestic has now introduced a new feature to enable users to easily export links they want to disavow in the correct format to instantly upload to Google.
Read the step-by-step guide to creating a disavow file with Majestic:
Step 1 – Make sure your Bucket list is empty
This process involves using Majestic’s Bucket list feature – which allows you to create and curate lists of links.
If you regularly use the Bucket feature you may want to make sure your Bucket is empty before starting to create a list of links to disavow. To do this, click on the Bucket icon at the top right of the navigation menu and then press “select” to check all of your Bucket items. At the bottom of the list, click the option to “remove selected items”.
Step 2 – Type in the website you want to create the disavow file for
Now you’re back on the homepage of Majestic, enter the domain you want to create the disavow list for in the Site Explorer box.
Only type in the domain, with no http/s:, www or trailing slash like the example below:
Step 3 – Choose to use the Fresh or Historic Index
As a Majestic user you will be familiar with the differences between their Fresh and Historic Index – if not, read this before you go any further: https://blog.majestic.com/training/actionable-seo-the-fresh-and-historic-indexes/
When it comes to a disavow file, you need to consider the time scales. If you are confident that no new spam links have been created in the past few months then use the Historic Index to capture all the old problematic links. If your link problem is more recent, then you may be best using the Fresh Index.
Although the Fresh Index can also include older links you can’t be sure that they are all in there if the problem goes back further than a few months as Majestic may not have re-crawled all of them for the Fresh Index.
Step 4 – Choose to disavow by domain or by URL
It is more common to disavow links at the domain level – i.e. disavow any links from a certain domain. However, many SEOs prefer to be more exact and only disavow the individual URLs where the dodgy link is coming from.
If you want to disavow whole domains, click on the domains tab in Majestic to reveal all the linking domains. If you only want to see individual linking URLs then click the backlinks tab. You can also do both in Majestic by toggling through both tabs and adding a mixture of domains and URLs to your disavow bucket.
Step 5 – Sort your lists to identify spam links
There are many different factors to consider when determining whether a link should be disavowed. Is it from a ‘spammy’, low authority domain? Is it a paid link from a more reputable site? Does it contain excessively optimised anchor text? As no bad link is the same, you will need to use Majestic’s filtering options to narrow down your list of links and identify which ones are going in the disavow file.
Step 6 – Add links to your Bucket
Now you know what to do regarding finding the domains/URLs that you want to disavow, it’s time to add them to your Bucket.
You will see a gear icon to the right of each link in the list within the Majestic interface. Click on this and you will see an option to add the link to your Bucket – so simply go through the list and add all the toxic links to your Bucket.
Depending on the size of your link problem, you may feel like this is a long and boring task – and you’d be absolutely right. However, this manual approach is the best way to ensure only the links you know are spammy are included in the Bucket and you are not disavowing any good links by accident.
The good thing about using Majestic’s Bucket list is that this is saved for you so you can return to this task as many times as you want and continue adding links.
Step 7 – Export the disavow file
When you’ve finished add links to the Bucket, go back to the Bucket icon at the top right of the home page to see your full list of links you wish to disavow.
At the bottom of your Bucket list there are two options: one is to export the list as a CSV file and the other is ‘Export links to disavow’. Click on this second one and you will have a correctly formatted list of links to disavow you can now upload to Google.