When is it okay to remove a disavow file?
According to Google’s John Mueller, it’s probably safe to completely delete your link disavow file, as long as you haven’t had any manual actions for links before, as well as not having a history of link schemes on the website.
John Mueller said that this is the case since Google is so good at not counting the average junk links that sites acquire typically.
Around the 10:17 mark, John said “if you’re really sure that there’s nothing around like a manual action that you had to resolve with regards to these links, I would just delete the disavow file and move on with life and kind of leave all of that aside.”
The disavow tool is a part of Google Search Console, which allows websites to discount the value of an inbound link, helping to prevent against link-based penalties.
The person posing the question wanted to know if it was fine to delete a disavow to address spammy links when they haven’t received a manual action.
Here is the full transcript:
“A question about links and disavows. Over the last 15 years i’ve disavowed over 11 000 links in total. I never bought a link or did anything unallowed like sharing. The links that I disavowed may have been from hacked sites or from nonsense auto-generated content. Since Google now claims that they have better tools to not factor these types of hacked or spammy links into their algorithms, should I just delete my disavow file? Is there any risk or upside or downside to to just deleting it?
So this is a good question, it comes up every now and then. And disavowing links is always kind of one of those tricky topics because it feels like Google is probably not telling you the full information. But from our point of view it’s actually like we do work really hard to avoid taking these kind of links into account. And we do that because we know that the disavow links tool is somewhat a niche tool and SEO know about it but the average person who runs a website has no idea about it.
And all of those links that you mentioned there are the kind of links that any website gets over the years and our systems understand that these are not things that you’re trying to do to kind of a game our algorithm. So from that point of view if you’re really sure that there’s nothing around like a manual action that you had to resolve with regards to these links, I would just delete the disavow file and move on with life and kind of leave all of that aside.
One thing I would personally do is just download it and make a copy so that you have kind of a record of what you deleted. But otherwise if you’re sure these are just kind of the normal crafty things from the internet, I would just delete it and move on. There’s much more to spend your time on when it comes to websites than just disavowing these random things that happen to any website on the web.”
Watch Mueller answer the question at the 10:20 minute mark.