Got a good email on a request to take a link down today.
"Our site has been penalized by Google because of a handful of back links pointing to our site (we have lost 80% of our traffic). I have opened a line of communication with their WebSpam team and am working to clear the penalty.
I really don't want to be the cause of a penalty to you, nor report anyone else's website to Google hence I'm reaching out to you now, and if you can get that link taken down ASAP then of course I won't include your site when I report back to them!"
As I said our links are all nofollow we didn't add them someone they hired or did it themselves. Now this guy is says he is talking to Matt's team and will report us for a penalty. Jeeze I don't have the time to respond to him I will just IM Matt and let him know. :)
|Jeeze I don't have the time to respond to him I will just IM Matt and let him know. :) |
LOL, good one bwnbwn.
Got another e-mail from a Google FUD Buddy (Pseudo SEO) claiming to be cleaning up the backlink profile of "their" domain name (it was not). The fool used a disposable e-mail address but out of boredom, I tracked down their real one. I'm half tempted to start posting these e-mails and the details of the Pseudo SEOs as blog posts.
Sounds like Google has identified your Website as either Backlink Sellers, and is going to penalize sites they assumed brought links from your site for SEO.
You could be putting a lot of other people's site in jeopardy by linking to them.
If you ever had a system on your site designed to sell links, advertised selling links, or selling listing Google probably Found out "or someone reported you" and now Google has Flagged you as a BackLink Seller and will start to penalize site that have links from you.
And by maintaining links to site "even one that didn't buy" you could be getting them penalized.
I have reported a lot Backlink selling sites to Google. Including their email, and post on other site soliciting the selling of Post or links on their sites.
Someone might have snitched on you for selling listing that passed Page rank.
I even went through the my competitor backlinks and found the one i know he paid for and report the sites and the links.
Be prepared for more Request for link removal, and maybe even some legal attention.
"Be prepared for more Request for link removal, and maybe even some legal attention."
Like what exactly?
When did google become the legal system?
Clarence, with all due respect, that's complete rubbish.
Pseudo SEOs can't tell the difference between a Dmoz feed and genuine directories. Their own concern is conning money out of clients. These pseudo SEOs are spamming directory owners to get them to remove Dmoz links and are damaging the web while conning gullible clients.
As a webmaster who was a webmaster before Google was even a dream of its creators, I cannot tell you how much I resent that statement. It is attitudes like that that are murdering the web. The web is a structure of links where sites link to each other. But now Google has webmasters scared to link to other sites.
|You could be putting a lot of other people's site in jeopardy by linking to them. |
I have not sold links on my sites. And I clarified with one of these Google FUD buddies that this spam strategy is exactly their approach. The latest pseudo SEO that spammed me doesn't even own the domain name but claimed to own it. I'm sure that the business owners might like being associated with such low life and maybe making an example of these pseudo SEOs might be a good thing.
No. It is because some third rate intellects in Google can't understand the link structure of the web and think that all directory sites using Dmoz feeds are linking unnaturally to sites. They scare gullible webmasters with warnings of "unnatural links" and pseudo SEOs then con the owners of these sites by nuking every Dmoz directory feed backlink in the profile. What a lot of Google's FUD Buddy "SEOs" don't realise is that it is hard to get into Dmoz these days. Some of us don't drink the Google koolaid and don't have a high opinion of their FUD.
|"planet13 from the owner of the website who feel those links could be hurting their ranking, traffic and revenue." |
Can you cite ANY civil or criminal law referencing where linking to someone might cause legal problems?
I am not going to mention any names but from some of the post I read in here I see the new breed of SEO's don't have all their lights on. They don't understand the true web and how linking is part of it as a whole.
The problem came from Google now Google is wanting to undo what they brought about. I don't disagree linking has long been the wild west. Just so many got hurt in the process.
This is why a loooong time ago I added nofollow tags to the website we allowed submissions to with a link allowed by the person that submitted the content.
On our business sites I link out to many without the tag because I know by doing so I am supporting this business website.
We as a whole (ALL OF US) got link fever because it helped us rank, we forgot the true meaning of the link. (Support or Endorsement) to the one I linked. I gave up linking many years ago(way before Panda) and adopted the (support/endorse) linking attitude.
All of our Business websites have not received one take down link request and I have quite a large number of websites I link out to.
|The links are clearly 100% integral to each listing just as a phone number or email is and I can see a situation where I start removing them in droves in the not so distant future. This destroys not only value on my website but well directed traffic to the business! |
Personally, I think I'd go with a variation of WebmasterWorld style in text EG [http://www.example.com/] linking only the domain name within brackets rather than any text.
For business listings I think I'd likely go with the following.
Business Name Widget Seller
Website [Click URL to Visit]: http://www.example.com/
I like that as well and thats the solution I'll choose if I have to. I'm just holding back at the moment. I've been thrown around by google updates in the past, I've had a bit of rollercoaster with panda and penguin but I've hardly changed any thing in response. I'm keeping my nose down, creating new content and I also have a big offline project for the site at the moment as well so unless the whole thing completely falls out of bed I'm staying focused on my priorities.
There must be many people in this boat though now. This focus on purity of links is rather a farce. Do we just aim to write non-descriptive anchor text now? I mean, if we're getting to the stage we just need to write links as the urls themselves we're really redefining how the internet looks. If people have written very well optimised links to other sites whats wrong with that? They've spent plenty of time writing descriptive text for the link which makes it do exactly as it says on the tin. If google think its TOO optimised well ignore the anchor text and some pagerank and move on but to advise the linked to site to disavow and go through this fire drill is just nonsense.
In some regards Google's extreme focus on links at the moment just merely reveals part of their algorithm to us in a simple sense - i.e. anchor text and links in general are big inputs. With SEOs knowing that now, they should just expect more people to focus on links and trying to skirt around their over optimisation filters. Unless of course the whole thing is a grand ploy to distract SEOs from concentrating on another more important part of their algorithm. Who knows! Whatever - I have a business to run and need to thinking about this nonsense.
|If google think its TOO optimised well ignore the anchor text and some pagerank and move on... |
Oh, I and I don't have a clue how many other people wish they would. I personally think their whole premise of negative values placed on links is wrong, but what do I know compared to them? Most likely nothing, or so it seems they think...
"If you see this message on the Manual Actions page, it means that Google has detected a pattern of unnatural, artificial, deceptive, or manipulative links pointing to your site. Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank is a violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
Google doesn't want to put any trust in links that are artificial or unnatural."
If your site is getting email from people who want to get links removed because of that warning, Google has identified YOUR site as being "manipulative".
Don't get made at the site owners trying to clean up those links, YOU are the problem.
Your site is the bad guy!
You may have sold links, you may have participated in link schemes, you may have sold "Article" that passed rank, or you may have been link trading. You were engaged in some type of "manipulative" practices that was unnaturally affecting PageRank.
Trust me, Google doesn't just flag any site as "manipulative" without a lot of evidence to prove it.
If you have links to other site, be prepared to get a lot of removal request, and/or maybe some legal action.
If I owned a site like that. I would remove all links. I would also be prepared to watch that site get dropped from Google soon!
So Clarence, I guess you are not a lawyer and you don't play one on TV.
Google may be facing some restraint of trade or anti-trust action in the future over the links issue. By frightening people into not linking to other sites, they are effectively making it more difficult for other search engines and new search engines to compete.
As for Google's "rules" about what makes a good website, when I see a webmaster writing them, I might take notice of them. At the moment they are just the rambling of a mere Googler without a clue about the diversity and vibrancy of the web. Sure Google wants a site devoid of humanity and personality that can be digested by its Borg-like search engine and regurgitated for advertising.
I don't have a high opinion of some Googlers and their waffling about "unnatural" links and links manipulation. Google's original algorithm was a good development but it would have been extraordinarily naive of Larry and Sergey not to have expected it to be gamed. There is an element of manipulation of some links but they are often quite visible if you know what you are looking at. And there's the rub. Do these people to whom Google has outsourced rating know what they are looking at? Are they just the equivalent of a bunch of people in some call centre sweatshop following a script?
With all your talk of legal action, Clarence, a lawyer would love to have a client such as yourself who fires off legal letters at all and sundry. What good would a legal letter do when it is being sent to some meatbot in another jurisdiction (Google it, if you don't know what it means)? Legal letters are simply designed to intimidate with threats and grandiose language. The small claims court, if I remember correctly, deals with issues below a financial limit and where a product or service has been exchanged. There may also be the tricky issue of contracts. Small claims courts don't deal with defamation (slander and libel) issues. So you heard from someone about some company that sued another company over links manipulation. Bit short on details there. Even so, the financial resources required to bring such an action against a company would be considerable and there would be no guarantee of such an action succeeding.
|I have received a handful of emails from business owners saying they have been told by Google .... |
Response: adjust your mail spam filter
I find your site, I buy tons of backlinks to hurt your ranking. Google penalizes you and your traffic drops and revenue drop. You found out I did it.
You wouldn't try to sue me?
A site known for selling links, where their customer are getting penalized, decide to add a links to your sites.
You get a penalty, Your rankings get hurt, your revenue drop.
After some research, you see links from this site with a Warning in Webmaster that they are unnatural, and causing your penalty.
You wouldn't take action to have the links removed?
You wouldn't take any action against that site?
I don't get it.
Is nobody putting themselves in the webmaster's "who are getting these warnings", shoes?
How would you feel if this was happening to you?
|I find your site, I buy tons of backlinks to hurt your ranking. Google penalizes you and your traffic drops and revenue drop. You found out I did it. |
The courts have ruled on hyperlinking issues a number of times. Outside of copyright violations and actions involving illegal activities under current laws (ie. threats of physical harm), hyperlinking in itself is not illegal.
Most of the people receiving and reading link removal notices are operating legitimate websites. It's the splogs that have fake contact forms, domains with privacy protection and hosts that will not release their client's information. The cost to just identify a potential culprit is high. Assuming this could be accomplished, any legal proceeding would have to focus on some sort of malicious intent because merely linking to another website is not illegal.
Considering the above would be very difficult to prove, such legal actions initiated could also prompt a counterclaim for legal fees, lost income and any other financial losses that were incurred from a frivolous lawsuit.
|FYI: if people are sending you link removal request, it's cause your site have been identified at potentially scammy or a link seller. |
Possibly in some cases, but certainly not for the majority. Of the legitimate people sending these requests, most were obviously not smart enough to understand what a legitimate quality link was in the first place. These people often spammed blogs, forums and any other place that would accept their link for free or for a low price. Considering their lack of knowledge regarding links, they often apply the same senseless techniques in requesting links to be removed. Furthermore, link removal requests have given cover to negative seo campaigns. For example, instead of buying links for your site I will try to remove aged links that point to your site. That's far more effective in reducing your ranks and eliminates the risk of briefly improving your ranks had paid links been purchased and pointed to your site. These link removal requests are now automated and the bulk of them are not from webmasters really trying to clean up the links that point to their sites.
i personally, would be happy that Google is giving me a warning First!
Instead of just taking action like they did in the past, They are giving warning and giving Webmasters the ability to correct the issues First.
Those Warnings, could have been Penalties!
|Are members of this forum asking for less "transparency" from Google? |
If less transparency produces less link removal request spam, people buying and/or blasting their competitors with links and less SEO snake oil being sold to unsuspecting victims, you can count me on board for less transparency.
This is really not about transparency but more about the policies that Google has adopted and enforces. The real issue at hand is how Google functions as a company and how they use their marketshare to influence webmaster practices through their policies. Now even legitimate linking is feared by many webmasters. This is more of a legal/fair trade issue than transparency, because it threatens the very foundation of the internet. There are plenty of us that feel Google has abused its dominance to reduce the competition of referral traffic.
|If less transparency produces less link removal request spam, people buying and/or blasting their competitors with links and less SEO snake oil being sold to unsuspecting victims, you can count me on board for less transparency. |
There's a pretty good argument to be made for Google's getting rid of toolbar PageRank, link reports, search-query data, e-mails about penalties or "unnatural links," and anything else that distracts Web publishers from focusing on SEO instead of content. I doubt if users would be any worse off.
BUT.... Most publishers and SEOs would kick and scream. (Say the words "Not provided" in this forum and watch the venting.)
Fact is, most publishers and SEOs--or at least most of the ones who participate in forms such as this one--would like more information from Google, not less. And I'd guess that, if forced to choose between ignorance and having to live with annoying e-mails from site owners who want links taken down, the majority would opt for the latter.
Moderators Note: This is the Google SEO forum and we discuss ways to optimize websites for the Google search results. This is not the Google Business forum. If you don't like how Google conducts business please go post in the Google Business forum. Posts about Google's business practices will be deleted from the Google SEO forum without notice.
Now let's get back to the main topic of this thread - How to handle link removal requests?
|And I'd guess that, if forced to choose between ignorance and having to live with annoying e-mails from site owners who want links taken down, the majority would opt for the latter. |
What ignorance is this that you speak of? Many people on this forum, including myself, manage hundreds of client websites and possibly thousands within their respective organizations. This provides a significant amount of data to evaluate without being dirtied by external assumptions.
The whole problem with the "annoying e-mails from site owners" is that they are mostly generated by their competitors, else over 85% would have responded to my requests to verify they are authorized to speak on behalf of said site owners. It is because of this that I'd safely say 75% of the link removal requests are fake, which gives about a 10% margin for e-mail errors, laziness on the part of the requester, etc.
I don't need more transparency from Google as I have a very clear picture of what is going on with these removal requests. Removing links is Google's goal - good, bad or otherwise. If Google truly only cared about removing spam links, they would not have pursued a policy that produces an equal amount of spam e-mails from competitors trying to harm legitimate websites.
< moved from another location >
...I just received this threatening email:
NOTICE OF IMMEDIATE LINK REMOVAL FROM YOUR DIRECTORY
This is a demand notice to remove  domain
and any associated sub-domain links and information from your directory to
prevent trademark infringement
Linking to: 
The Google algorithm Penguin 1.0 in April 2012 and Penguin 2.0 in May 2013
has changed the internet as we know it by targeting unnatural linking or
We submitted to your directory on 4/23/2013 for one (1) link back to the
page in our website. This link is now being repeated many times from your
directory, identified by Google Tools and Ahrefs.com.
Your directory links are considered spam and causing our site detrimental
harm by de-ranking our page, resulting in financial loss.
Please email me when removed.
I mean. How rude!
Has anyone had or written an email like this?
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:15 pm (utc) on Sep 12, 2013]
[edit reason] moved post to this thread - paraphrased email [/edit]
Not sure if this is the right thread for this or not (please move it mods if you know of somehwere better). I just received this threatening email:
NOTICE OF IMMEDIATE LINK REMOVAL FROM YOUR DIRECTORY
I mean. How rude!
Has anyone had or written an email like this?
I've done some link removal work, but took the opposite approach of being more apologetic and, depending on the site/circumstances, even offering to pay a reasonable removal fee. I suspect it works better :)
Why someone would send an email like the one you showed is beyond me. They admit to buying the link. Personally, I'd be afraid that a rude email like that would trigger retaliation. Certainly, the people he's sending that email to have the capability to flood his site with even more crappy links.
|flood his site with even more crappy links |
My links are not THAT crappy! :)
|My links are not THAT crappy! :) |
Ahh, yeah, speaking in a general sense...
If I were you, I would wait a week, then register a new gmail account. Send them an email that says:
In the past two weeks, I received a rude email from you demanding link renewal. Since you've probably sent hundreds of them, you probably don't know which of the recipients I am. Here's my proposal. You send a new, highly apologetic email, to everyone that received the original email. It will contain an offer of $5 to remove the link and a profuse apology. If I don't receive this email within 2 business days, I will flood your site with 100,000+ links from third party directories, forum profiles, web 2.0 sites, and wikis. Enjoy!
Jez, why is it "repeated many times"? Is that a basic function of your directory script, or is something else going on?
In any case, you can either comply just so you don't have to deal with these people anymore, or you can tell them that's why Google invented disavow, have fun using it. ;)
Diberry, popular links get repeated on the popular links page as well as top rated page and cool links page. I doubt it's on all of those but I really don't have the incentive to look for them.
I just wondered if maybe your script is doing something you're unaware of, which might not be doing YOU any favors, either. Some scripts have been known to create their own dupe content because they return the same page at www v. non-www, trailing slash v. no trailing slash, etc. You might want to make sure it's not creating dupe content on your site - not for the rude email business' benefit, but for your own.
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