Search Engine Optimization

Remove All Shady Backlinks From Disavow File

Should you expect drop in rankings after submitting disavow file? It is strange but true. Many websites reported loss in their organic rankings after submitting disavow files to Google. Why did it happen? Let’s see how Google professionals have to say about why it happened and also see what their suggestions are.

Gary Illyes replied the question in a tweet “that, and if you see your rankings dropped after a disavow, just remove the less shady links from the file. You have total control”

Precautions to be taken with your backlinks

Webmasters rely on backlink audit to figure out toxic links on their sites. Tools like CognitiveSEO, SEMrush and Ahrefs give reliable results. They show the links that could be bad for your site but are these tools always true. If you aren’t manually studying the links flagged by the tools, you could also see a decline in SEO ranking after submitting disavow file to Google.

What to look into the links?

If you look closely at every disavow link, you will find that some links are wrongly disavowed. You won’t be certain about those links but they are disavowed by your backlink audit tool. These are the links that are to be blamed for a drop in ranking. These less shady links should be removed from the disavow file before it is submitted to Google.

What if the shady links are really bad?

Some links don’t look bad hence not flagged by Google but it doesn’t mean that Google won’t consider those links in future. If it finds the links toxic, you will be alerted about those bad links. But today, you don’t need spending time in chasing a few new links that look bad. You should remove those links from disavowing file and continue your efforts for creating more quality links for your site.

How much time would Google take to restore your rankings after you remove the shady links from disavowing file?

The only way to restore your organic ranking on SERPs is to remove shady links and you won’t waste any time in taking right measure but Google won’t be in a hurry to count your links. It will take some time to prevent spammers taking advantage of trial and error. There would be a time delay in counting the links removed from disavowing file.

How to Google replies the time delay?

John Mueller of Google also tweeted in reply and said that there is nothing like time-penalty imposed on sites. But it is related to crawling, re-indexing and re-processing. But he didn’t clarify how much time Google crawlers need re-indexing of sites. But it is certain that re-indexing isn’t done overnight. Websites have to wait at least for a couple of months before expecting any improvement in their site rankings.

Generally, Google takes 90 days to crawl and count links removed from disavowing files. Websites would have to wait for three months before they see significant changes in their SEO rankings. There are instances where Google updated the links removed from disavow files faster but it is better to remain at safe side. If you are expecting the quick response from Google then it is better you think again.


In SEO, backlinks are considered as votes and for this reason, sites try creating as many links as they can. But the quality of links is determined by many factors like the platform sites are linked to; traffic of the platform and its relevance to the site linked. Also, the webmasters must be very careful regarding bad backlinks as the sites with toxic links are penalized in many ways.


Udit Khanna is a Digital Marketing Course professional at Expert Training Institute, an expert in Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click, Social Media, etc. who helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers. Previously, Udit worked as a marketing professional for various startups and tech companies. He graduated with B.Sc from IGNOU with a dual degree in Business Administration (Marketing & Finance).

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