This Has to Be the Worst Excuse for Charging for Link Removals

One of the tasks that I help website owners with is cleaning up their website’s backlinks. If a site has been penalized by Google, or the website has been penalized by the Google Penguin algorithm update, then it’s necessary to take the time to try to get the low quality and toxic links that are pointing to your website removed. I have actually a pretty good response rate when it comes to contacting the site owners. Many are very helpful and will remove links if you ask politely. [Read more...]

3 Great Safe Alternatives to Guest Blogging

Guest blogging for SEO purposes started its downfall recently, especially with Google penalizing MyBlogGuest, and before that it was Google finding and penalizing advertorials. And before that, it was paid links in general. It’s not that Google’s against those advertising vehicles, it’s that they don’t want SEOs and website owners manipulating their algorithm, gaming the system so to speak, and “buying links that pass PageRank“. And now, if it’s paid, we all know that it’s not just Google’s problem: the United States FTC has also spoken up. [Read more...]

Google Penguin Recovery: Site Owner Doesn’t Know About Resources Page on His Site

I spend a few hours each day helping site owners and business owners recover from the dreaded Google Penguin algorithm update. I thought that I had received crazy emails from site owners who don’t know how to update their website. But it’s also amazingly hilarious to me when I run into a site owner who doesn’t even know that certain pages exist on their website.

Let’s take, for example, a site owner named “Lee”. I sent him an email recently about getting a link on his “resources.html” page removed from his site, which is an obviously spammy type of link scheme page. It has at least 50 outgoing links on the page, and it’s all to off-topic sites:

> Hi Lee,
>
> Recently when we reviewed all of the links to XXXXXXXXX.com, we noticed that your website is linking to XXXXXXXXX.com on this page here:
>
> http://www.XXXXXXXXX.com/resources.html
>
> I'm wondering if you would remove this link on your website to XXXXXXXXX.com?
>
> Thank you, Bill (on behalf of XXXXXXXXX.com)
>

After my email, Lee responded a few days later, with this:

Subject:   	Re: Question about XXXXXXXXX.com
From:   	"Lee XXXXXXXXX" 
Date:   	Wed, March 12, 2014 3:34 pm
To:   	"XXXXXXXXX" 
Priority:   	Normal
Options:   	View Full Header | View Printable Version  | Download this as a file

On 3/11/2014 6:27 PM, XXXXXXXXX wrote: I am not sure where that came from. We did not authorize any links, and i would not even know how to do such a thing. I do not know how to undo what you say happened.  In fact I do not know where to begin. Lee

I responded to Lee, asking him if he had access to his website and whether. I also asked him if he was going to be able to remove that page on his site or if he still could remove the link. I have not heard back from him yet.

I suspect that a lot of business owners, especially those who are not as technical, don’t know about certain pages on their websites that their webmasters have built or added to their website. Pretty much now a “resources.html” page on a website isn’t recommended, especially if you are going to link out to sites that are off-topic.

Google Hosts Low Quality Article Directory with Links They Want Us to Remove

Oh, the irony. Google is hosting the very articles that contain links that Google is telling us that they want removed. Wait. What?!? That’s right, in what can only be a unique twist of irony, Google is playing web host to thousands of low quality spammy articles, the exact same type of articles that Google wants us to remove. And the links that they’re penalizing websites for having.

Let’s first take a look at this ‘article directory’ website:

ez9-articles-directory

If you look at the screen shot, you’ll see that it’s an “article directory” that’s similar to the what Matt Cutts talked recently talked bout. In fact, he said not to build links using article directory websites. Let’s take a look at the video that Mr. Cutts posted about article directories: [Read more...]

Linked from These Directories? Be Prepared To Pay for Removal

There’s a search engine optimization company out there that is requiring that you pay for removal if you want your link removed from their directory. This same SEO company built these web directories several years ago, touting the fact that they would help your search engine rankings if you were to get listed. Now they want payment for removal of your link.

link request removal

If you have a link on one of these directories, then expect to pay $25 for each link to be removed: [Read more...]

Dear Shady SEO Firm: Stop Spreading Rumors about Unnatural Links and Google Penalties

Dear Shady SEO Firm:
Would you please stop, immediately, from spreading false and untrue rumors about the Google Disavow Tool? By spreading false rumors, you’re hurting the SEO industry as a whole and making it even more difficult for us honest, Google-Webmaster-Acceptable-Guideline-Abiding SEOs to get our jobs done properly. And don’t even think about threatening website owners about removing links to your client websites. That’s just flat out wrong. [Read more...]

Use Google URL Removal Tool to Help with Google Penguin Recovery

Google has launched an improved URL removal tool that will make it easier to request updates based on changes on other people’s websites. But there is actually another use for this tool: it can be used to aid in a website’s Google Penguin Recovery if your site has been hit by Google Penguin.

google general url removal tool

Recovering from Google Penguin is not an easy task by any means. In fact, it takes a very highly skilled technical SEO with a lot of search engine optimization experience in order to recover from Google Penguin properly without doing long-term damage to a website’s search engine rankings. The Google Penguin recovery process requires that you remove the “low quality” and unnatural links to your website. However, that is actually a lot easier said then done. Some sites have over 100,000 links pointing to their site. How are you going to gather all of those links (not one single tool out there will tell you about all the links, so you have to use multiple tools)? How are you going to sort through all of them and decide which links must go, which links must stay, and do that efficiently? [Read more...]

Google Reconsideration Request: How to Get a Manual Penalty Lifted

If you have ever received a manual penalty from Google, then you most likely have received this message in Google Webmaster Tools that could be an unnatural link warning, similar to this one that my client received:

unnatural link warning

The message reads something like this:

Dear site owner or webmaster of http://www.XXXXXXXXXX.com/,

We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.

If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely,

Google Search Quality Team

If you receive a warning like this, then you need to take it very seriously. Specifically, you need to look at ALL of the links pointing to your website, over the entire history of your site. I recommend MajesticSEO‘s historical links in order to see all the links that your site has, and combine that with the list of links from Google Webmaster Tools. Put that data into a spreadsheet.

Then, you need to go through the painstakingly time-consuming task of going through each and every link. Make a record of everything that you’re doing, so you can give this information to Google. Again, record it in a spreadsheet.

Contact the site owners of links that you want removed. As for links to be nofollowed if they bring you traffic but or paid or sponsored links, or are part of a guest post or advertorial.

Depending on the number of links that your site has, it could take days, weeks, or months to go through this process.

Whatever you do, though, you need to be very open and honest with Google. You need to tell them everything that you’ve done to get the unnatural links to your site removed. If there are links that you simply cannot get removed, then you’ll need to disavow those links. Make notes in the disavow file, as well.

Upload a copy of the spreadsheet that contains all of your notes to Google Drive (formerly Google Docs). Notate the URL of the spreadsheet and include that in your Google reconsideration request. I won’t go into the exact details of what you should include in a reconsideration request–because it needs to be customized for every website. But you need to tell Google what you did, the links that you think are unnatural, what you did to remove those specific links, when you contacted the site owners, and that you’ve changed your policies: you won’t engage in unnatural linking again.

Right now, depending on the amount of links you have and some other circumstances, once you file a reconsideration request with Google it is taking anywhere from 5 days to 15 days or so before you hear back from Google. My experience has been that it will take 5 days if you still have unnatural links pointing to your website: Google can spot those pretty quickly and tell you that you’re still in violation of their Google Webmaster Guidelines.

Once you’re manual penalty is listed or “revoked” by Google, you’ll receive a message in Google Webmaster Tools notifying you of their action. It will look something like this:

google manual spam action revoked

Reconsideration request for http://www.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.com/: Manual spam action revoked
September 23, 2013

We received a reconsideration request from a site owner for http://www.XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.com/.

Previously the webspam team had taken action on your site because we believed it violated our quality guidelines. After reviewing your reconsideration request, we have revoked this action.

You can use the Manual Actions page in Webmaster Tools to view actions currently applied to your site. It may take some time before recent updates to your site’s status are reflected on this page and in our search results.

Of course, there may be other issues with your site that could affect its ranking. Google determines the order of search results using a series of computer programs known as algorithms. We make hundreds of changes to our search algorithms each year, and we employ more than 200 different signals when ranking pages. As our algorithms change and as the web (including your site) changes, some fluctuation in ranking will happen from time to time as we make updates to present the best results to our users.

If your site continues to have trouble in our search results, please see our Help Center for help with diagnosing the issue.

Thank you for helping us to maintain the quality of search results for our users.

You see, if you do everything right, and you truly identify all of the links pointing to your website and you get those links removed and disavowed, your manual penalty from Google will get revoked. But it takes time, a lot of hard work, and someone who knows that they’re doing. And remember, having a manual penalty from Google (one where you got a message like the one above) is completely different than having a Google Panda or Penguin Penalty. There are different ways to deal with a manual penalty (which can be much worse) than how you would deal with Google Panda or Google Penguin issues.

Does your site have a manual penalty from Google? Contact me and let’s discuss getting that manual penalty removed.