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.
Case in point: this email from an SEO firm that falsely states that if a site owner does not remove a link to their client site they will be forced to disavow the link: and “by linking to us you are putting your own site at risk by being associated with a penalized site.”
Here is an email I received from a “Mark” at (company name removed):
From: mark@(company name removed)
My name is Mark and I work for (company name removed). We have a client, http://www.XXXXX–XXX–XX.com/, who have come to us with a manual penalty from Google for violations of its webmaster guidelines. They have asked for us to get this ban removed.
I am trying to sort this problem out, and I could really do with your help. Google has identified a link on your site could be contributing towards the penalty. The link in question is here:
If you could remove this link or add the rel=”nofollow” attribute you would make Google and me very happy.
If you are unable to do this I will have to add your site to a disavow list which could lead to a fall in your rankings and search traffic. I will only use the disavow tool as a last resort as I really don’t want to negatively impact your website in any way. In fact by linking to us you are putting your own site at risk by being associated with a penalized site.
I am really sorry to impose on you but by removing the link you will help me lift the penalty and safe guard your site against any future penalties.
Please let me know if you are able to help me. I will be very grateful for your assistance.
First of all, the site in question has a manual penalty (for shady unnatural links) to the site. This is most likely a manual penalty–and not an actual ban. I checked the site in question and the site is NOT banned in Google. In fact, the penalty they have isn’t that severe: the site still ranks for it’s brand name, it’s company name. Compare this to a worse manual link penalty from Google, like the one that Rap Genius received, where the site didn’t even rank for its brand name or company name for 10 days because of unnatural links to their website.
Secondly, your statement that Google “has identified a link on your site could be contributing towards the penalty” is most likely an untrue statement. Google does not tell webmasters (or SEO firms for that matter) which links could be contributing towards a penalty. They will rarely give you a few examples. But that’s fairly rare. Even more rare that they would pick out THIS link to give as an example.
Next, the fact that “I will have to add your site to a disavow list which could lead to a fall in your rankings and search traffic” is totally absurd, and, in fact, totally untrue. Adding someone else’s website will NOT lead to a fall in that site’s rankings. If that were the case, I would add (company name removed) to my disavow file so that your site’s rankings would go down. You know, the “competitors can’t hurt your rankings” thing. Don’t tell people that this is the case, because is is untrue and a falsehood.
“In fact by linking to us you are putting your own site at risk by being associated with a penalized site.” Oh really?
Finally, “removing the link you will help me lift the penalty and safe guard your site against any future penalties.” I think you have that wrong. It should read:
“removing the link you will help me lift the penalty and safe guard MY CLIENT’S SITE against any future penalties.”
It is a shame that when companies hire SEO firms to clean up their unnatural links to their website the SEO firm feels as though they have to send emails to website owners that include rumors. And saying things to a website owner that is false and untrue is shady.
Don’t get me wrong. I recommend taking time to contact site owners to try to get unnatural links and bad links removed. But there is a right way to do that and a wrong way to do that. Contact the site owner and ask them to remove the link. That’s it.
Just as a disclaimer, I’d like to say that I don’t know anything about this SEO firm or how they do business. It just is coming across, via this email, that they’re spreading false rumors about links and how the disavow tools really works: so this email that I’ve copied above is shady. Just the email.