Properly Requesting a Link Removal
I think perhaps this article should be titled, "How Not to Request a Link Removal" Since I run several web directories (Not doing much with them at this point) and some other sites designed to generate advertising revenue, from time to time I get so-called "link removal requests". Invariably every email I get regarding this subject has that same exact title. That by itself is problematic. Since I’ve received perhaps twenty or more such requests, I tend to view these cookie-cutter emails skeptically. I hope you are listening.
Careful With That Thing!
In the not too distant past, some of my business directories generated tons of advertising revenue. They were integral in being found online by helping to increase Google PageRank, and although the links I have on one of the largest directories still on the Internet have been up for years, people occasionally feel these links are hurting them.
People are jumping on the disavow tool quicker than you can say algorithm, and are probably disavowing what could potentially be useful links. In fact, Google provides a stern warning as found on this page:
Here’s an excerpt:
This is an advanced feature and should only be used with caution. If used incorrectly, this feature can potentially harm your site’s performance in Google’s search results.
So, based on that— spin the wheel on your links. The truth is Google’s algorithms are complicated, and no one has them figured out, there are only best practices. But back to the subject at hand, which is properly requesting a link removal.
One Wrong Way
Dear Beach Web Design,
We have determined that your site “list-corp.com” is linking to our site http://www.hgh.com. The following pages on your site have reference to our site: www.list-corp.com/b2b_directory/Human_Resource_Consultants/Hgh_Associates_Inc_.html.
We ask that you remove your link to our site as soon as possible as we do not wish this site to link to ours. Please let us know if you have any questions by emailing *********@Gmail.com. Thank you!
First, my name is available in about twenty ways available from my primary website, which obviously these folks got to. Second, nowhere does it say please. Third, it’s not an appeal for help, not a demand, just so generic that it in no way persuades me to even think about removing a link that I’ve probably had for six or seven years.
The site in question is a static HTML site published from a database through specialized software I built, and unfortunately not a high priority for me at this point, it’s a tad difficult to administrate, even though when built it did exactly what it was supposed to, and that was generate ad revenue. At one time that site had over 750,000 pages indexed in Google. There is a shift begin planned for this website’s future soon, so hopefully it will be back to the type of performance it once enjoyed.
Another Bad Example
Your link violates Google Webmaster Guidelines – we request you remove it immediately! Blah blah blah— (Rudeness)
Link Type Jargon
Now I’m just theorizing as are others that a link in a button isn’t going to be as important as a text link either positive, or negative. However, There’s not a lot of reference material available on this subject. I may reserve the right to change my opinion later. I also am going to revamp that entire site soon anyway so the link structure may change entirely. Anyway, I certainly remember when the title of this post would have been, "Properly Requesting a Link!" In the past, links were what you had to have to appease the big "G" and the almighty (at the time) PageRank.
But more about requesting a link removal— The worst thing you can do is to make the webmaster of the site feel insulted, as have some of the emails I’ve received. I have thousands of hours in my sites, and they aren’t just created by robots like a lot of link farms, and spam sites. None of my sites are those things. Probably the absolute worst thing you can do is demand something. As in, "I demand that you immediately— yata yata yata"
Try Something Like…
Here’s something you can use that will probably have the desired effect in actually getting a link removal request considered by a busy webmaster.
Dear *Person’s actual name (if available) otherwise, webmaster or management.
Recently our website has been suffering from the many changes that Google has made to their ranking factors. One of these factors is links that can appear unnatural. I see that you have a link to us on your website *** (website page url), and although we appreciate it when anyone links to our content, we are trying to get back square with Google, and that most likely means that we should get rid of all links that could be seen that way. Basically, we’re trying to reboot our link profile.
Would you mind helping us? I would really appreciate if you would take the time to simply remove the link part. (Or at least make it a "nofollow" type of link.)
I’m available to talk about this request should you want…
Thanks in Advance,
John Doe, ABC Corp – 850-555-5555
I think that an email like that or even if it’s so very important that you get that link (little bugger) gone— send a real letter *GASP* to the registered site owner if it’s not privately-protected. Or even a phone call, what a novel concept! I’m assuming you have a cellular phone? Maybe even a smartphone? Yes? Bueller? Anyone?
Being rude, and just not using good tactics to get cooperation is nonsense. It’s basic social interaction. Usually if you are nice to someone, they will be nice to you. This isn’t always the case, but many times it is!
Try it out for yourself.