Link Removal Request Email Related to Google Disavow Tool

Google has released their Google Disavow Tool, an online tool part of Google Webmaster Tools that allows web site owners disavow links to their web site. You really only need to use this tool if you’ve been unsuccessful in getting bad links or over-optimized anchor text links to your site removed.

Matt Cutts of Google recently posted the following video about the Google Disavow Tool:

According to Google, “If you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on “unnatural links” pointing to your site, this tool can help you address the issue. If you haven’t gotten this notification, this tool generally isn’t something you need to worry about.”

Part of the Google Disavow Links tool looks like this:

You can get specific instructions about using the Google Disavow Links tool here in the support area.

What is very important to understand is that you must try to get the links removed by contacting web site owners, usually by sending them an email. If the site owner is hiding their real identity via a whois proxy service, you can still send them an email–most likely it will still get to the site owner.

I have received emails in the past from site owners wanting to remove links from various web sites that I personally own. And what’s interesting is that all of these web sites that I own are not web sites that I would consider to be “low quality” web sites. In fact, these are all of good quality (I don’t own or operate any low quality web sites that would hurt another site’s search engine rankings). The reason that another site owner is contacting me is because they have an “exact match” anchor text link to their web site (and they have too many of them), which has most likely caused the search engine ranking penalty. Certain anchor text links were above, let’s say, 50 percent of all of the anchor text links pointing to their web site–they just didn’t have enough ‘brand related’ phrases pointing to their web site (most links were exact match anchor text links).

I won’t go into all the details about whether or not you need to use the Google Disavow Tool or not, that’s really too much information to go into right now–and should be detailed in another blog post. But, if you feel that there are links that you want to get removed from certain web sites, I’ve copied a pretty lengthy email that I received. This email is lengthy–and I applaud them for their efforts. But, the problem is that statements that they make in the email are incorrect and misleading. I’ll point out some of the mistakes after the email:

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: “donotreply@domainsbyproxy.com”
To: XXXXXXXXXX@yahoo.com
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2012 3:09 AM
Subject: FWD: Feedback Re: XXXX.org [XXXX@domainsbyproxy.com] (FROM: info@XXXX.co.uk)

Please pass to webmaster of: XXXX.org

Hi – hope you are well?

Here’s the thing…

My site has been penalized by Google (I have lost 75% of my traffic). Thankfully I have opened a line of communication with their WebSpam team and am working to clear my penalty.

How This Effects You?

In order to get out of the penalty, The Google WebSpam Team have asked me to submit to their “spam-report” page all the URL’s pointing to me that I have not been able to have my links removed from.

In 5 days I will be submitting an excel spreadsheet to Google and unfortunately your site is going to be on it.

My report will specifically name your “domain”, “IP Address”, “Host” & “WHOIS Data”.

As a result, a close inspection of your site by the Google WebSpam Team may reveal the connections among it to other sites you own and that revelation may have consequences you may want to avoid.

I hope you understand the position I am in (my business is at stake) and my need to comply with Google’s request ASAP!?

How To Avoid Any Negative Action From Google

If you are able to take down the links to XXXX.co.uk from your site then of course I will be able to leave you off the list.

I really don’t want to be the cause of a penalty for you (or any site connected to you) however, I must do as Google asks otherwise my business and livelihood will fail.

I really hope you understand where I’m coming from and will be able to take the links down?

Where Exactly Are The Links I Need Removed?

Specifically there are links on the following pages (please feel free to keep the article content if you wish)..

http://www.XXXX.org/page-name/

3 links on this page
Anchor Text: “sell a house fast”, “free online house valuation”, “conveyancing”

http://www.XXXX.org/page-name/

3 links on this page
Anchor Text: “sell a house fast”, “free online house valuation”, “conveyancing”

If you know of any other links under your control to XXXX.co.uk I would be grateful if you’d remove them too.
Once again, I am sorry for this strange request and hope you’re able to help.
Please get in touch if you want to chat this through.

Kindest regards,
Gavin

Here is where this email has failed:

- Gavin says that “I have opened a line of communication”. Really? It sounds as if you’re talking directly with Google. That’s NOT the case. Google sent you an email saying that you are penalized–and you’ve heard about the link disavow tool which you’re going to use. Google doesn’t open lines of communication with site owners. They just don’t do that. They will respond to reconsideration requests and tell you that you’re still penalized. That’s it.

- Gavin says that “The Google WebSpam Team have asked me to submit to their “spam-report” page all the URL’s pointing to me that I have not been able to have my links removed from.”. That’s the Google Disavow Tool. Why not just call it that?

- Gavin says that “In 5 days I will be submitting an excel spreadsheet to Google and unfortunately your site is going to be on it.”. Um, you do NOT submit an Excel spreadsheet. You use the link disavow Tool, which is a text file. That’s not a spreadsheet. And honestly, I don’t care whether or not I’m on the list or not. Just because your site is on someone else’s list DOES NOT MEAN that your site is going to be penalized. If that were the case, I could submit my competitor’s sites (or even Amazon.com or FCC.gov or Wikipedia.org, all good sites to get links from) and there would be an issue. Sorry Gavin, but you’re spreading rumors when you’re trying to get me to believe that it’s a bad thing that I’m going to be on your list.

- Gavin says that “As a result, a close inspection of your site by the Google WebSpam Team may reveal the connections among it to other sites you own and that revelation may have consequences you may want to avoid.” Again, that’s just Gavin spreading a false rumor. Google already knows about links and the connections between sites and if a site gets a penalty it’s NOT because Gavin told Google about it via the Google Link Disavow Tool.

- Gavin goes on to say that “I really don’t want to be the cause of a penalty for you (or any site connected to you) however, I must do as Google asks otherwise my business and livelihood will fail.” Do you honestly believe that Gavin has the ability to give another site a penalty and be the cause of a penalty by using the Google Disavow Tool? Really? Again, it’s a shame that people have to spread rumors like this.

- Gavin goes on to show the specific links that he wants removed, which is a good thing. That’s the type of information that you must provide a web site owner if you want links removed.

The whole point here is that you have to be honest with web site owners, as you are going to reach people like me who know a bit more about this whole process of submitting something to the Google Links Disavow Tool and the consequences of using such a tool. There are really a lot of good–and bad things that could happen when you start using the Google Links Disavow Tool, so you need to be aware of the potential consequences. Some sites might be better off building more brand-related anchor text links to their sites rather than submitting links to the Google Disavow Links tool.

When you send a web site owner an email requesting that links be removed, consider why you’re requesting them. Those links could actually be GOOD LINKS TO YOUR SITE and you may just need to get the anchor text changed rather than the links removed. What if you kept the same link and just changed the anchor text of the link to a brand-related phrase? In Gavin’s case, that’s what I recommend. the links is a very good link to his web site but because he has too many exact anchor text links to his site, he wants it removed. Removing the link will hurt his search engine rankings–it’s the anchor text that is an issue. Not the actual link.

And I forgot to add–be honest with web site owners, just tell them that you’re going to submit their site to the Google Disavow Links Tool. Don’t create false information and spread rumors, trying so scare someone into removing a link to your web site.