Dealing With Link Removal Requests | DomainInvesting.com
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Dealing With Link Removal Requests

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Over the last several months, I have received a number of emails from people asking me to remove website links on my blog because the websites have faced Google issues. Most likely, they received some sort of Google penalty that lowered their website rankings due to various SEO strategies that aren’t acceptable to Google. These link removal requests are made in the hopes of becoming compliant with Google Webmaster guidelines.

If I linked to a website in an article and the owner is requesting that I delete the link, I will usually just delete it for them. I don’t want to cause harm to another website despite the fact that nobody has ever paid me to link to them. If I did link to them, it most likely means they shared or offered something I found interesting, and because of that, I would hate for them to think that my link could be causing issues for them. Most likely, it wasn’t a link out from my blog that caused a problem, but when you have hundreds or thousands of links that may have been obtained by doing something against the “rules,” they have to cover all their bases.

Less frequently, I receive emails from people or companies who ask me to remove a link that was posted in the comment section. Although I am diligent about deleting comment spam before it gets published, I am sure there have been a few cases where that isn’t the case. Additionally, some people post authentic looking comments with spammy links that get through because they’ve at least provided some insight and I gave the benefit of the doubt. With well over 50,000 comments posted, it can be tough to be sure that there are no spammy links in comments.

When I receive requests to remove links from comments, I am less inclined to remove the link. From my prospective, if someone spent the time to be deceptive to me and to readers, why should I do them a favor by taking my time to remove their link. On the other hand, I don’t want Google to associate my website with an other website that has issues. Taking it a step further, I also don’t want Google to think I sold a link on my blog. I assume Google is smart enough to detect comment spam and distinguish it from what could be perceived as a paid post.

Depending on how busy I am when I receive an email, I’ll consider deleting a comment link. It can be an annoyance, but I’d almost rather spend the time removing the comment and link than take any chances with Google.

I am wondering how others deal with link removal requests. I read an article by Larry Kim discussing this topic, and I am hoping you will share your opinion when you have a chance.


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (10)

    Elliot Silver

    As an aiside, sometimes I want to publish obvious comment spam and identify it as comment spam (while deleting the link) so Google can see who is trying to game the system :-)

    February 11th, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Bill Hartezr

    Elliot, as someone who provides this service (link cleanup and Google Penguin recovery), it’s interesting to hear that you’re even getting requests to remove links. You should only be removing links to your site that are low quality spammy links–and your sites wouldn’t be considered low quality or be the type of sites that warrant a link removal.

    The type of links that site owners should be getting rid of are:
    – sites banned in Google
    – article directories
    – low quality web directories (not Yahoo directory or dmoz)
    – blog comments (where the site owner left a comment with keyword anchor text and not their name)

    Those are a few of the sites, there are a lot more.

    If your site really is a site that gives out “natural” links, then generally I would respond to those people and ask them to re-evaluate the link, because they might do more harm than good.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of site owners who are “running scared” now and are just randomly getting rid of links that they shouldn’t be getting rid of. It’s a shame, because they’re truly doing more harm than good. It takes someone who has experience and knows what to cut and what not to cut out of a site’s link profile.

    February 11th, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      Elliot Silver

      The request I received today was from someone who made a sincere (IMO) comment a long time ago, and he added his website in the url field. There was nothing spammy about what he did (IMO), although I have no idea if the website may have done other black hat link building, and they are now trying to get rid of all links.

      Thanks for the feedback.

      February 11th, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    owen frager

    Funny you ended the article by adding another link. Out bound links known as “forward links” have Google clout in their own right especially if they go to a top rated site like wikipedia. You can google articles about this.

    February 11th, 2014 at 6:34 pm

      Elliot Silver

      I like the article and think it’s good to reference other writers so people can get a different viewpoint on the same topic.

      February 11th, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Acro

    Adding an HTML ‘nofollow’ to the link that you’re asked to remove is a 50/50 solution: you keep the link intact, for the sake of your article, and they don’t get penalized by Google bots.

    I received requests from Candy.com that have been scrambling to restore their Google penalization by taking this rather erroneous approach to SEO.

    The bottom line is, that you, as the author can link to anything; it’s the way the worldwide web works.

    February 11th, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Andrew

    For comment links, given that comments on WordPress powered blogs are no follow by default, it’s a waste of time for both you and the requester.

    February 11th, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Raider

    Good subject Elliot,

    “If I linked to a website in an article and the owner is requesting that I delete the link, I will usually just delete it for them.”

    Naturally you would, because unlike some site owners, you have class. I think most webmasters don’t hesitate when asked, I requested links removed and most sent me a email informing me of the removal, and they were very nice about it.. And then I had some who weren’t so nice, people who could care less, “its just a link, get over it” having no ability whatsoever to see it from the requester’s perspective, authors who go out of their way to protect every letter and word of their article and think it’s their God given right to link to anything they want, idiots like these are the reason why congress passes as many cyber laws as they do.

    February 12th, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Still Human

    This is only the starting point.

    You there on the Earth are all already scroogled for ever and ever.

    Bye bye humans!

    Yes, you are gone. Bye bye, ex-humans.

    February 12th, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Steve B

    As someone that manages over 7 blogs, I get these requests frequently.

    I think if someone is requesting a link removal, fulfill their request, but leave their comment.

    In terms of linking from the blog post itself, do what you want, it’s your blog. You’ll do the right thing if you care about your blog.

    People need to stop worrying so much about what Google says all the time. Before Google came along, there were sites. And people linked to who they wanted and if they wanted. It should be the same today, minus the spam.

    February 12th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

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