What link data should you use when disavowing links?
With so many different sources of link data out there, how do we know what data to use to create the most comprehensive and effective disavow list?
Whether you have suffered a link-based penalty, or if you have noticed a lot of 'dodgy' links in your link profile, submitting a link disavow file to Google is often the first step to either recover or protect your rankings.
However, with so many link building tools out there all supplying slightly different link profile data - which one do you use to compile your disavow list?
The most popular link building tools are Ahrefs, Majestic and Moz, but all of these tools crawl and index links in different ways, so depending on which one you use you'll always get a different list of links to work with.
Most link building tools also provide different levels of access to their index depending on which subscription you pay for, so you could be in the situation where the more you pay a third-party, the more effective your disavow file will be.
The good news is, Google has recently advised that the free link data hosted in their Search Console tool is all you need to create a disavow file.
Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) has always had a reputation for showing limited data regarding a website's inbound links. With the new beta version of Search Console, however, Google has promised to include more link data than ever before. While it is unlikely to provide as much data as a tool like Majestic, they are confident it will be enough for you to identify the bad linking patterns for your disavow file.
The confirmation came from Google's John Mueller in a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout, when a webmaster asked:
Google Search Console shows incoming links. Is it enough to disavow the bad ones that are shown in there in order to get rid of the bad links?
Mueller's response was:
In general those are the ones that I would focus on. Sometimes if you’re aware of link building that was done in a significant way then the Search Console links can give you an idea of the general pattern, but then it’s still worth looking to see if there are more links that you can also include there. But, for the most part, the data shown in Search Console is really the links that you should be focusing on.
You can see the exchange in full below around the 8:06 mark:
About the Author
Luke Glassford is an SEO expert with over 15 years’ experience.
During his time working in SEO, Luke has set-up an SEO agency, worked as an in-house SEO for a major national company and managed his own successful SEO consultancy - using a lot of different SEO tools along the way!