• http://twitter.com/NicoleMunoz Nicole Munoz

    Completely agree!  It is a much better use of time to go out and get high quality links than try to remove links… If there is an over optimization penalty for too tight of an anchor text, then it is on a case by case basis as there are many sites that rank in the top 3 for extremely competitive keywords that are “over optimized”.  Although that may change in the future, since the algo is not consistent it seems that it is more of a manual penalty than an algo change.  Put that together with the new release that we don’t really have to worry about the unnatural link request notices from Google… better to focus on creating good content and then market that content.

  • http://twitter.com/HyperTexted Kevin Gerding

    We received an E-mail from a webmaster over the weekend, and he noted that he liked/linked to our site.  He provided the URL so we could see, and it turns out that he placed our link sitewide in the footer.  Should I have our attorney give this guy a call?  Was the link an act of kindness, a malicious act or should I update our terms and conditions to note that linking to our website violates our registered trademark?  Seriously, how far must we go now to shield our brand from damage created by hyperlinks?

  • http://twitter.com/rjonesx rjonesx

    First, you definitely do not need to contact your lawyer. Seriously, that is crazy talk. Look at the anchor text they used, was it a keyword you want to rank for or just your brand name? If it is your brand, you really don’t need to worry. If it is your brand, just kindly ask them to not make it sitewide. Tell them you appreciate the link but Google’s new updates could make that link actually hurt your site. 

  • http://twitter.com/rjonesx rjonesx

    While I am admittedly biased because my company owns a link removal tool / service, I think that webmasters should err on the side of keeping their link profiles as clean as possible. Google is saying now that you will be judged by the company you keep, and if you have the power to influence that company, by all means do so.

  • juliejoyce

    I wrote this last week before the Fri warnings went out…and considering the latest developments (http://searchengineland.com/google-updates-link-warnings-128431) I think only time will tell whether we actually need to worry about having some crap links in our profiles. 

  • http://twitter.com/sharithurow sharithurow

    Hi everyone-

    I haven’t done any link removal requests on behalf of my clients. I think it is a waste of time. 

    If it makes your clients feel better? Okay, then offer it as a service to them. 

    But you don’t have complete control over which sites link to you. I would rather spend more time on things I have control over (good titles and other labels, information architecture, content, etc.) and the high-quality link relationships I do have.

    The folks at the commercial web search engines know that you don’t have control over sites that link to you. They have known that for a long time.

    I think it is difficult for people to accept things that they have little or no control over, and letting that go…which is the reason why I don’t waste my time on link removal requests. 

    My 2 cents. 

  • newyorker_1

    Rjonesx, I have a question for you. When people ask for your link removal services, do you check if they are owner of the domain they want removed? If yes, how do you check?

  • http://www.yackyack.co.uk/ robwatts

    Good write up Julie. I think a possible solution lies in Google identifying ‘bad links’ and just quietly ignoring their impact.

    The “buy links don’t you dare manipulate your link profile in ways we don’t like” message has been sent. It’ll be less work for Google to operate in this way.

    The other view is that these kinds of stories contribute to a view that SEO is a risky proposition and that safer forms of promo w/ G exist via ad platforms.

    Yep, I get that it’s easy to dismiss such views as conspiratorial but I’m sure I’m not alone. Putting to one side any PR pronouncements, SEO in many ways is an affront to what Google set out to do as it gets in and meddles w/ what THEY would like to determine and in today’s matured web graph takes away from googles share of marketing budget spend.

    This whole shebang is of course a well trodden path w/ multiple competing theories and counter theories but one does have to ask the question why and in the absence of any solid response it’s reasonable to conclude that their actions are in some respects little more than a massive hindrance/inconvenience at best and a devastating blow to many businesses at worst.

    If something can be identified as bad then it can be ignored. Power from that link can be devalued, there is no need to penalize, outside of benefiting Google conspiracy type theories it serves no purpose other than to cause stress and consternation for 1000′s of ordinary folks trying to make their way in the world. I fail to see how that’s really good for anyone. :)

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    “What would you prefer, 50 removed links (that may have never hurt you) or 50 good new ones? I’d take 50 good new ones.”

    You make a great point. Obviously if your site has been whacked with a penalty you need to go the cleanup, it’s not really an option at that point. But there is also no need to stress over a handful of bad links that probably won’t impact your site anyway. I like to think of it as a see-saw, the more quality links you build the less meaningful those less than stellar links become.

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    I agree, Julie.  It seems to me that Google’s real interest is in discouraging folks from creating garbage links going forward.  There may or may not be penalties associated with bad links, sites may plummet in rank/traffic not because of a penalty, but because links that used to help them have now been discounted.  Removing the zero value links won’t help, they’ve dropped because they don’t have enough quality links to add positive value.

    If Google’s goal is to stop the creation of garbage links, as I’ve argued here: http://www.rimmkaufman.com/blog/googles-ruptured-pipe/24072012/, then they’re going about it the right way.  Let folks know that these links have no value, and other garbage links will have no value.  This tells webmasters they are wasting time and money on “black hat” link building.  Applying negative penalties for bad links would encourage MORE garbage link building activities to try to pull down competitors.