While most SEOs who do disavows for clients have their own ways of making sense of their files, whether adding comments or making multiple files and combining them later into one before uploading to Google, John Mueller from Google was asked about advice on structuring disavows files to submit to Google.
While some of the advice isn’t new for those who have been working around disavows for a while, it does have some useful tips for those who might not be as experienced with disavowing.
If you are talking about the structure of the disavow file, that is essentially up to you how you want to structure that. So we recommend using a domain basis so you don’t have to go through all these URLs individually and you can just say, well this whole domain, all of the crazy links, you get from there is not something you really want to be associated with I’ll put in my disavow file. So doing it on a domain basis makes it a lot easier to keep up there.
This is so true. Many people disavow individual links without realizing that sometimes those pages are duplicated elsewhere, particularly on WordPress based sites where the links can show up on tag and category pages too.
But also, don’t just check the domain’s homepage, something else that some SEOs do. It isn’t uncommon for spammers to kill the homepage while leaving the internal links active, something that Sha Menz from rmoov raised the alert on last year. So those internal links would still be active and hurting a site, but if a site owner only checked the homepage, they would assume the entire site was dead, and not just the carefully selected homepage.
Mueller then commented on the specific structure of the disavow file.
The order within the file and how you structure it in your file is really up to you. You can do it alphabetically, you can do it by any order you really want, we don’t look at the file manually, that’s something that’s processed completely automatically.
This is actually something where people spend a lot of time, making lengthy comments within the disavow under the impression Google is reading them. But since it is automated, the time spent on comments for the sake of Google is wasted. That said, adding comments can be very useful to the site owner, whether adding dates or merely notations to revisit a link for some reason in the future.
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