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Do you have a Policy for Link Removal Requests?

     
12:13 pm on Oct 26, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have seen a great deal of negative sentiment about link removal requests over the months.

Both sides of the interaction have a reason, after all--- there's someone who placed a 'bad' link in the past or found a 'bad' link to their site and want it removed to stay safe in Google, and there's a webmaster who wants to remain free to link out to whomever they want to (as it's right).

It's a sad (and bad) situation Google created with its request that webmasters take care of cleaning their own link profile, which sometimes carries less 'real spam' than is suggested.

To be blunt here, I think having a link removal request policy in place is a wise choice for a webmaster, because it sets the rules for the collaboration (that's it, after all) and helps keeping rude requesters at bay.

What about getting paid for removals? Well, personally I would only charge if the link I placed was editorial, because getting it removed would get in the way of my freedom of speech (I'm free to link out to whomever I want, remember?). However, if the link was paid for or exchanged, it was not 'mine' in the first place, so I wouldn't charge to remove it.

I would love to hear your take on this matter, since it affects many webmaster/SEO relationships lately.

P.S. Sorry about any typos and/or awkward sentences; I'm under medicament and not in good shape (bronchitis), so my head is not as 'smart' as usual (LOL).
11:51 am on Jan 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I would still love to read your thoughts about this. :)
12:43 pm on Jan 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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It's a sad (and bad) situation Google created with its request that webmasters take care of cleaning their own link profile...


1. Google didn't create that. Webmasters begged for it. Web publishers asked to be told about their penalties, including details about if it's related to on-page and/or off-page factors. Google's doing publishers a favor, helping them by giving them the information to clean up their own mistakes.

2. If a publisher is receiving an excessive amount of link removal requests the problem isn't Google, the problem is that publisher's outbound linking practices.

3. Link removal requests are generally sent by sites that are penalized. It's in a publisher's best interest to remove the link, even if it's honestly given. Who wants to link to garbage? It's a bad outbound link policy to link to spammy sites. It's a no-brainer to act swiftly and remove those links.
8:10 pm on Jan 30, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I bought a directory many years ago. Complete piece of crap, everybody paid $15 to the original owner to get listed in it (before I bought it).

Now everyone wants out. I used to remove them (it's a manual process) for free until I got harassed one too many times.

Now my published policy on the site is, $69 for a link removal. I ignore all emails that don't start with a request to pay me. Don't like it? Tough, you paid to get in, you can pay to be removed. I don't work for free.

Basically it allows me to ignore link removal emails.
2:52 pm on Feb 2, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Ha! That's a unique situation. :P

What are other people doing about link removal requests? Do you get them often?
10:50 am on Feb 6, 2015 (gmt 0)

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That's true, martinibuster. Webmasters asked for it... webmasters who care about Google, though. There are webmasters out there who don't care about Google and yet they have to go through this somewhat stressing interaction.

I think removing a link only helps the publisher if they agree on the same definition of 'spam', because what Google and its users consider spam sometimes it's not spam in the eyes of others.

@wheel - Sorry to hear you got harrassed about link removals. I went through the same treatment, but not as often as you did.

I'm glad to say I don't get them often enough, even though it tends to get 'seasonal', especially shortly after a Google update.
4:08 pm on Feb 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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...what Google and its users consider spam sometimes it's not spam in the eyes of others.


A false positive is when someone (or an algorithm) labels a legitimate object as spam. Nevertheless, if a site publisher cares about their ranking, then it is to that publisher's benefit to be careful of the sites they link to because linking to poor quality sites can be a negative quality signal which can affect the ability of a site to rank. So a pragmatic web publisher who cares about their sites ability to rank well will respond immediately upon receipt of a link removal request, even if the link is non-spam. The reason a pragmatic web publisher will respond swiftly to a link removal request (regardless if it's a false positive) is because link removal requests are generally sent on behalf of publishers whose site rankings are poisoned. Thus, the pragmatic web publisher who cares about their ranking will not want to link to that site and it's to their benefit to remove the link immediately. Whether the request for removal is a false positive is never a consideration. That consideration is irrelevant. It does not matter. What matters to the pragmatic web publisher is their ability to continue ranking well.

Whether it's a false positive (human or algorithm) is irrelevant
The pragmatic web publisher will recognize the link removal request as an opportunity and take due notice and govern themselves accordingly by removing the link to a crap site. A link removal request is a gift. If you care about ranking and you're receiving a lot of requests then that is a symptom of something is wrong. Again, treat the request as an opportunity and endeavor to identify the problem and fix it.

Obviously none of this applies if you do not care about ranking.