So apparently this is a new SEO thing now.
Last week I got a strange request out of the blue to remove a source link from a post that I made last summer…
I work for InsuranceQuotes.org, and our site has recently been penalized by Google for an unnatural link profile that violates Google’s Quality Guidelines. As part of an effort to get back in their graces, we are removing all links to our website so we can start fresh.
We are making changes to our site to build better content for our audience. I am contacting people who have linked to us in the past to remove any doubt that Google views the link or anchor text as overoptimzed or unnatural.
Therefore, I am respectfully requesting that you remove all links to our site on scottsevener.com including:
That says insurancequotes.org and goes to insurancequotes.org/serving-si
I appreciate your past efforts to link to our content, and I am excited to launch our improved content very soon. We understand that this request takes time and effort, but we would sincerely appreciate your help.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. If you could be so kind as to respond that you have removed the link, it would really help out with my efforts. Thank you in advance!
Admittedly it seemed a little odd, so before doing anything I shot back a quick reply…
Are you going to take down the original post? (http://www.insurancequotes.
org/serving-sizes-around-the- world) I find it odd that the infographic is still there and still contains the embed code at the bottom for people to link back to your site, yet you’re asking people who used it to stop linking to your site.
Now after not hearing anything back for a few days, considering that my reply was within a couple of hours of the request, I pretty much forgot about it. My first theory was that maybe the request was somehow from a competitor of the original site and they were trying to sabotage them by submitting link removal requests seemingly on their behalf. It seemed a little weird, but I kinda chalked it up to all of the other targeted email SPAM you get and that was that.
Until I got another one this afternoon, this time regarding a completely different post … which stood out to me because it was then that I noticed that they were both concerning infographic posts, so from there I decided to do a little digging…
First of all, I couldn’t help but find it conflicting that in both scenarios, while the requester was asking that I remove my links to their site, in neither instance did they actually remove the post on their site, or even the embed links that they were offering up to anyone and everyone just like me to include their content on our sites! It seemed counterproductive to waste all of your time asking for link removals when the link code itself is still being offered up freely…
And as it turns out, it would explain why this isn’t exactly a well thought out plan because it’s really a (relatively) new SEO thing that’s come up in the last year or so where apparently Google made a new tweak their search algorithm and now “SEO Experts” are scrambling to comply … which amuses me because here over the last couple of years, these are the same sites that scrambled to throw up infographics and memes and anything else they could offer to encourage sharing with attribution, and now that the pendulum changed directions yet again, they want everyone else to change and help reverse the link juice – good or bad – that they’ve created for themselves.
Maybe I would be a little more sympathetic if the sites themselves were making a little more effort – i.e. actually removing the link-hungry content itself – but they’re not doing that because these are outside “specialists” who probably don’t even have any control over the site’s actual content; they’re just shooting out these letters in bulk, hoping that enough random blogs will comply and it’ll adjust their customer’s page rank enough to justify whatever they’re charging for their SEO expertise.
The odd thing about it all is, I posted those infographics because I actually liked them … so it’s not like I was part of the problem by just posting anything and everything that I could find for content … over the years I’ve really only done a couple of them, and it was because I enjoyed what they had to say and in some cases, I had a little bit of commentary to add myself. I mean, it was pretty obvious what they were doing and I always felt a little reluctant when I added that attribution link at the end to some random, topically unrelated website because it was clear that they just wanted the links at the time, but like this other site also replied, it’s part of fair use that we cite our sources when posting something like that from another site and it just wouldn’t be right if later we went back and took the link off, but left up the original post.
It’s funny because in my research, I also came across this marketing post that explains the exact process that these SEO folks encouraging people to do these days and includes a few dozen comments from fellow SEO professionals all discussing how this Google change has been such an inconvenience for their clients, and it just makes me laugh because here’s an entire industry segment that’s been built up to sidestep website owners from what should be their #1 goal – making better content!
I’m all for SEO strategies for the basic stuff – making sure that the structure of your site at a code level is in a format that all of the search engines can crawl and index the most effectively through tagging and sitemaps and proper HTML structure, but what’s the very first point of Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines … “Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.” These stupid link-bait content farms don’t do users any good, and so thankfully Google has finally caught on and started penalizing all of these sites that only exist to drown search results with junk articles that will get their owners quick page views and ad impressions.
As not only a content creator myself, but also a longtime resident of the Internet, I hate those kinds of websites and anything that my favorite search engine can do to help wipe them out of existence is a welcome change to me.
Another amusing notion – in digging through all of this today, one other thing I found was this post from Google about a new tool that webmasters can use to disavow links for what sounds like pretty much this exact scenario, so in a way that begs the question of why these “experts” are wasting their time begging me to change anyways if they can get more effective results themselves from the people actually assigning their page rank in the first place! Mind you, I didn’t do any sort of testing myself because I’d rather be creating my content than constantly monitoring my page rank, but it might be something worth looking into before shooting off 1,000 retarded removal letters into the void! 😉
TL;DR – Please don’t waste our collective time sending me these requests to remove your links from my posts in the future – as a rule, they’ll all be going in my spam folder going forward and you will never get a reply from me.
Also while we’re at it, please stop crapping up the Internet with your SEO-infested garbage. If you want to run a website, make actual content worth reading for it; otherwise, we don’t want you here and your flailing attempts to game a constantly changing system currently monopolized by a single corporation isn’t working anyways. 🙄