Emily Post SEO

Since Penguin 2.0 hit a couple of weeks ago, a number of clients have received a large volume of requests to remove links from their sites that goes something like this:

“I recently received notice from Google that my website has been assessed a penalty after they “detected unnatural links” pointing to my website http://www.spamdawber.com/.  Can you please remove the links to my site from the following URLs:


If the link doesn’t get removed, we are going to have to to file a “Disavow Link” report with Google. If we do this, it may affect your site’s Google rankings…Thanks!”

I got one of these last week for someone who had somehow gotten through my hi-tech security system and comment-spammed this site a few years ago.

Of course I am always happy to help a screwed website in need, but in most of these cases, it appears that the spammers were also building spammy links to the client sites in an attempt to drive PageRank to the /spammy-profile URL to either get that URL ranked or flow it back to the spammer site linked from the profile.

And of course, Google doesn’t know that the spammer built the link to your site, it just knows your site has a spammy link.

So Spammers, when you are requesting link removal, how about also providing a list of all of the spammy links you have built to the site in question so we can clean this crap up and protect our own rankings?

“Nothing is less important than which fork you use.  Etiquette is the science of living.  It embraces everything.  It is ethics.  It is honor.” – Emily Post


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8 Response Comments

  • Jason Brown  June 3, 2013 at 1:08 pm


    I have a website that gets tons of these requests on a daily basis. It seems that people are using a standard template to submit their removal requests. I have responded back the email asking for me to remove links to get more information. My email is ignored and I get several more link removal requests from the same user.

    I have also noticed that a lot of these requests come from generic gmail accounts. I would love for the “SEO” that did the spamming to own up and use their real website.

    As for the spam links, hurting the site they are on. I am running adsense and have not received any warning or had my account shut down. I have also not noticed a drop in PR. I actually don’t care about about the PR of my site.

    • Andrew Shotland  June 3, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      Jason, one thought that had crossed my mind is that this is some kind of negative SEO tactic to request removal of links to competitors’ sites, which would be kind of genius. Too bad Acteva sucks.

  • Jason Brown  June 3, 2013 at 1:58 pm


    I had not considered the fact that it could be a negative seo tactic. That is an interesting thought. There would be no way to decipher a real request from a fake request. I have seen several services being offered to help remove links.

    Yes, its shame that Acteva sucks.

  • Eugene  June 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Or just do us a favor and disavow all links themselves.

  • Dharam Chaudhari  June 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Same here, Lots of requests are coming after Google Updates. Some of them offered $10 to remove their links, as you said andrew, who knows that’s their website or competitors, since most of request comes from generic emails not from host domain that they are asking us to remove.

  • Riza  June 11, 2013 at 6:32 am

    I hear you, Andrew.

    I think it is the spammers’ way of deliberately taking you off Google’s Page Ranks.

    The line, “If the link doesn’t get removed, we are going to have to to file a “Disavow Link” report with Google. If we do this, it may affect your site’s Google rankings” says it all. It’s a threat and it can really be frustrating.

    By the way, I’ve read your post and “Kingged” it on the IM social networking site, Kingged.com.


  • Joseph  June 21, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Maybe the lady with the typewriter is the queen of spamming. She looks guilty!

  • James  August 1, 2013 at 8:27 am

    From the POV of an SEO, it’s your job to remove the Google penalty (or bad links which could contribute to a penalty in a future update) which means you need to document and carry out a serious effort to remove (in some cases) thousands of spammed links to just a single client’s domain.

    My ‘template’ is pleasantly toned, and I do try to reply to webmasters who ask for advice. However, sometimes time simply does not allow. Often you have multiple clients with links spammed on the same directory, but the process of scanning/collating backlinks is far too convoluted to cross reference them all – which means multiple removal emails to the same webmaster. (If there is a better way, please let me know)

    If you’re tired of link removal requests and your website is full of spammy guest posts/directory links, then you should probably consider adding nofollow noindex to the robots meta tag.