Introducing DisavowFiles: Free Crowdsourced Tool Brings Google Disavow Link Data to Light

Ever wonder what’s inside the search engines’ black box of disavowed backlink data?

Google and Bing are the only parties who can see the disavow data given to them by site owners. We, the webmaster community, can’t access this data to help us make informed SEO decisions when vetting backlinks, researching sites, or creating our own disavow files, for example.

Let’s change that.

Today we’re launching DisavowFiles, a free, crowdsourced tool aimed at bringing transparency to disavow data. Sign up for free at

DisavowFiles brings transparency to disavow data

Disavow Files Are a Fact of Life for SEOs

Webmasters have to stay on the defensive in the battle against link spam. The first Google Penguin algorithm update penalizing link manipulation rolled out in 2012. Since then, black-hat linking schemes (such as link farms, buying links, and link comment spam) mostly don’t work.

But Penguin’s side effect for site owners has been harsh: Links from external sites can and do hurt your site — even if you did nothing to create those links. Too many spammy or unnatural-looking links aimed at your site can torpedo your site in the rankings. In the age of Penguin penalties, SEO-minded webmasters have to be vigilant about their sites’ link profiles.

Unfortunately, the process of backlink auditing, removal and disavowal is tedious.

First you have to comb through usually thousands of backlinks, looking at each domain and web page to try to identify the shady ones. Even SEOs who do it all the time can spend days evaluating a new client’s backlink profile. And that’s just the first step!

Next begins the process of contacting the site owner to request the link be removed, tracking the contact, following up to make sure the link is really gone, rinse, repeat. As a last resort, the search engines let you disavow stubborn links. The entire painstaking link pruning process has become an SEO necessity in today’s world of link penalties.

But disavowing links can also be dangerous. We caution users of the search engines’ disavow links tools to always work with a professional and consider the risks of disavowing links before using the tool (should you be seeking assistance at this time, please consider our SEO Penalty Assessment Service).

As SEOs, we do our best to seek and destroy just the bad links without disturbing the good ones that are actually helping a site rank in search results (see our Complete Guide to Disavowing Links for Google and Bing). Webmasters have no way to see how search engines judge their inbound links. Your site could have a horde of hooded bandits pointing links at it, and Google would never tell you.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know which sites have been voted as offenders? And see which links are bad according to everybody else? Enter the new Google disavow tool for link intelligence, DisavowFiles.

What Is DisavowFiles? is a crowdsourced tool that sheds light on disavow data. To be used with wisdom, it is a Google disavow service that focuses and simplifies the disavow file creation process. DisavowFiles is powered by three elements:

  • Many disavow files, submitted by participants into an anonymized database.
  • Reliable backlink data for each participating site, pulled from Majestic’s API.
  • Software tools and reports that let participants extract useful data.
DisavowFiles Disavowed Pages report
Find out whether your site has been disavowed by others in the database.

What’s the Cost?

There is no cost to sign up for DisavowFiles. You share your disavow file with the other members, and you get the tools and reports that you need for free.

To provide a crowdsourced database, we need disavow file data to produce useful results — and the more, the merrier. Crowdsourcing means that the more participating sites that join, the greater the benefit for all. So we’ve thrown the door open wide and invite as many SEOs and webmasters as possible to sign up. We have plans for additional upgrade features in the future. However, the basic service as it is launching today will be free forever.

The idea behind is not to make a profit, but to solve a problem affecting the whole SEO community — a need for better intel to protect our sites from link spam.

What Participants Get

When you join and upload your site’s disavow file to, you will be able to see:

  1. Whether any backlinks to your site have been disavowed by other participants.
  2. Whether your site has been disavowed by others in the database.
DisavowFiles Site Info report
Click to enlarge.

1. Whether any backlinks to your site have been disavowed by other participants:

You will be able to simply run a tool to see any pages linking to your site that other participating webmasters have vetted as spam. This red-flags links that may be hurting your site’s rankings so you can investigate whether you, too, should disavow the links. Such intelligence may ultimately help a community of webmasters clean up link spam.

2. Whether your site has been disavowed by others in the database:

You will be able to find out whether your domain or any of your web pages have been disavowed. A report tells you which site URLs were disavowed, and how many times, by DisavowFiles participants. Think of this information as a chance to look at your own outbound links and ask whether your site is doing something unnatural that needs to be corrected. Since a site’s link profile includes both inbound and outbound links, this feature could be an eye-opener that saves you from a Penguin eyebrow-raise.

Regular Email Alerts

Ongoing email alerts tell you if there’s any news — any new disavow files uploaded that mention your site, or any backlinks to your pages disavowed by others. This keeps you informed without having to go into the application regularly to check for updates.

This database can also be used to vet external sites as potential link acquisition targets and for competitive research. The Domain Look-up tool lets you type in any domain to see:

  • How many times the domain has been disavowed in the database
  • Number of external backlinks
  • Number of referring domains
  • Alexa rank (a measure of site prominence)
  • Trust Flow and Citation Flow measurements from Majestic, to help you determine the site’s trustworthiness.

An export function lets you download all your newfound backlink information and other data as a CSV file, so you can work with it in Excel.

Want to check your own site against the database? Try the free look-up.

Privacy for Members, Protection for Data

To make this service work, privacy is paramount. Participants remain anonymous in DisavowFiles. The tools and reports do not reveal the participants’ names or the websites whose disavow files are uploaded. When a disavow file is uploaded, the software automatically anonymizes the source and stores the links separately. Further, is a secure site to help protect everyone.

Protections are built in against bad data entering the database. Similar to the way the search engines’ webmaster tools verify a site, participants will be given a customized HTML file to add to their website. Only if that page is found on the site will then accept an uploaded disavow file. Each file is also put through a series of checks to make sure it is, indeed, a valid file. And to keep the data current, whenever a site uploads a new disavow file, it overwrites the previous one from that site.

Let’s Do This

DisavowFiles started as a wish list tool project at Bruce Clay, Inc. because, in a world of link penalties, why wouldn’t you want more disavow link data? SEOs and site owners can help each other have better intelligence on backlink disavowals with this new crowdsourced tool.

Sign up for free at!

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (22)
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22 Replies to “Introducing DisavowFiles: Free Crowdsourced Tool Brings Google Disavow Link Data to Light”

Woww I mean it’s amazing. if you want some knowledge about technology then simply You Can go through the link given below…

I’m unable to verify.. Why that?

That sounds like a really great tool. Though it’s awesome for the other reasons, I don’t think you really want to use it to just get to know who disavowed links from your site because – if my memory does not escape me – Matt Cutts said back in the day that if somebody disavows links from your site, it won’t harm you in any way. Am I missing the point?

Paula Allen

Vitaliy: You are correct when you state that Google has indicated that having your site’s URLs disavowed will not harm your domain. What might be more telling about the data, however, is that your site was disavowed by others for some reason. If you see multiple sites including you in their disavow files, it might be time to take a hard look at your website and identify what about it prompted the inclusion in third-party disavow files in the first place.

Tyler Jensen

I am having problems getting any links to show for my site. I sent an email to support@ but it says recipient cannot be reached.

Paula Allen

Tyler: We’d have to know your site to investigate specifically. It might be that the Majestic API was down at the moment DisavowFiles was trying to pull your links, and so your site is waiting until the next time we pull links. (The software pulls new backlinks once a month for each member site.) If you contact support, our developer can manually get the links for your site. Let’s make sure you have the right email address — Our support team confirmed they have received messages in the past couple of days, so please try again.


“You will be able to simply run a tool to see any pages linking to your site that other participating webmasters have vetted as spam.”

Is this working for anyone? Not seeing this functionality. Selecting ‘Disavowed Backlinks’ leads me to a blank page after an extended load time.

Paula Allen

Daniel – Thanks for letting us know you had this problem. A blank page means the report timed out, so we did some testing over here. It worked, but our developers think they can improve the speed of that report. Try running it again in a day or so and let me know if it works for you.

There’s also a way to send a direct email — you can contact with any support request.

Really it sounds nice tool for disavow links to avoid penalty risk. After getting the info from here I am going to use this tool for sure.

Thank you Paula, makes sense!

It’d be cool if the tool was a bit more polished first before you started advertising it. The side menu collapse is broke and also added verification tool to our website as seen here: but your tool won’t verify it for whatever reason. No bots blocked.

Paula Allen

Vincent – We looked into your issue, and your verify URL is marked as (not https). That URL 301 redirects to the secure version, which is why it’s failing. If your site is always served as https, then you should change it in the site settings. That will regenerate the verification URL to be https.

Regarding the side menu, thanks for reporting the glitch. The menu collapses, but the names of the tabs remain visible outside of the nav where they should be hidden. Our developers are on it!

If you have any other questions, you can email

I really hope this hits critical mass! And yes, I did my part :-)

Thanks Marios! So glad to hear it :)

Richard Burckhardt

Great idea. Doesn’t seem to want to load at the moment.

Paula Allen

Richard – You’re right, and we apologize. The site was down for a bit earlier today.

Is there a place to get support for site or ask questions?

Paula Allen

Roger – Yes, there is support for DisavowFiles. You can send an email to and a support person will get in touch with you.


Pretty freaking brilliant idea. If it works as intended, a giant “well done”.

Thanks for this great tool!


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