Google: Don't Pay The Link Mobster For Link Removals, Just Disavow Them

Sep 17, 2013 • 9:05 am | comments (35) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

mobsterWe have discussed people charging fees to do link removals several times but Google's John Mueller said you shouldn't have to pay for your links to be removed - instead just use the disavow tool.

In a video hangout 56 minutes and 49 seconds in, John Mueller said you he personally wouldn't pay to have a link removed. Here is the transcript of that section provided by hiswebmarketing.

Question: Re: Link penalty – Should I pay webmasters demanding a fee for link removal?

John Mueller: Personally I’d recommend not going down that route. If this is something that you want to have removed just for Google’s indexing and crawling then probably it’s ok to just list it in the disavow file. On the other hand, if it is something you want to have removed from the web completely and you don’t want to have this reference on the web for your website then maybe you can talk to those webmasters to see what you can do about having those things removed. But, essentially from our point of view when it comes to unnatural links to your website we want to see that you’ve taken significant steps to actually remove it from the web but if there are some links that you can’t remove yourself or there are some that require payment to be removed then having those in the disavow file is fine as well.

So there you have it, although Google wants you to work hard to remove bad links and not just use the disavow tool. Google does not want you to pay out of pocket to have those links removed.

Forum discussion at Threadwatch.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for mobster

Previous story: Using Google Analytics With Internet Explorer 8? You Need To Upgrade.


Martin Woods

09/17/2013 01:28 pm

Speaking as someone who has been removing Google penalties for several years now (well before Penguin) I'd say what Google's PR team say and what their web spam team opps team do, are very different. I recently ran a link removal campaign for a client who didn't have much money to spend on removal fees, as a result, less links were removed, and even though they were disavowed (at domain level) the reconsideration request failed multiple times. It was only after we removed a good proportion of the links (via paid removal) did we manage to get the penalty removed. Obviously people have different opinions based on their experience, but mine is you need to remove a good amount of links and make sure your link data is accurate and you DON'T JUST USE GOOGLE LINK DATA If anyone is struggling removing links drop me a tweet @mocwoods and I'll be happy to point you in the right direction.

Martin Oddy

09/17/2013 02:04 pm

Ultimately, though, they're looking for effort and progress each time you resubmit. Detail the people that play hard ball and your attempts to negotiate and disavow accordingly - that's what it's there for. Don't result to paying for link removal.


09/17/2013 02:45 pm

that's why JohnMu is using word "probably"..He doesn't know. They know nothing 100%. It's always probably, maybe etc...

Martin Woods

09/17/2013 02:54 pm

I agree with you, but in some cases I believe that it is worth it to remove the links for a few dollars of someone's time IMHO. Especially if the spam was done by someone acting on the behalf of the client your working for. Why should we expect them to give up their time for free? (I'm mainly talking about Xrumer & free link placement spam BTW) We record everything down to the smallest detail and still had problems on two campaigns without paying to remove links. I must stress this was back in the early days, we haven't had many problems in the last year.


09/17/2013 03:19 pm

oh course him will not pay, he just will put his site to google white list. But for us him want link removal madness! so not pay google by your time, not submit any reconsideration requests but create new site or use 302 redirect.


09/17/2013 03:21 pm

you need to move to other domain and use 302 redirect. you not need to follow that draconic guidelines (and get nothing in return for following that "g" rules).

Marie Haynes

09/17/2013 03:52 pm

I agree and disagree with you at the same time. I've had sites where I have not gotten a single link removed (because they were all on blackhat spam networks) but because we showed Google that we really had taken effort to try they removed the penalty. I've had others where we got a large number of links removed but Google still wanted more done.


09/17/2013 04:18 pm

they don't know what to do with money received from penguin & panda penalties and spent this money for indian reviewers (very low quality, based on their answers and link examples)

Martin Woods

09/17/2013 04:43 pm

Agreed every campaign is different from what I've seen. One I never spent a penny, other $1000's...

Martin Woods

09/17/2013 04:46 pm

Good point! Especially if you don't really have any good links (99% spam). I have done this with three clients now and they're all back to either close, or near to where they were before the attack of the Penguin


09/17/2013 07:04 pm

;-) just 302 not pass penalty, but if in future google will pass penalties via 302, will only one solution to move link juice and penalty to satellite site and create new site for your company. Also I not see any reason why we need to react to google emails (it was thing that worked _before_ and used by everybody), so it only for google vanity.

Editorial Guy

09/17/2013 08:23 pm

After a pathological liar with a slick hillbilly accent, Google has chosen a chubby middle man to lie. I tried to remove penalty and was told to try harder to remove links, even though they were on my disavow file. Bottom line is that Google wants us to advertise so penalties will not be removed. They have chosen a few liars to try to fool us.

Kervin Labrosse

09/18/2013 12:47 pm

Where are Google showing these penalties, in webmaster tools?

Seo Specialists India

09/18/2013 01:08 pm

I completely AGRRE with YOU...

Seo Specialists India

09/18/2013 01:12 pm

please Do not use this plat-Form to SELL your-Self... it is HARD truth to Digest than NONE of Website could recover from PANDA and Penguin...

Ashish Ahuja

09/18/2013 04:23 pm

Right now many people are just blaming links for all their problems whereas it is not so for most of the sites. I know people obsessing over their backlinks and think they have been hit because of it, but its one or the other issue (mostly low value content). So my advice is before disavowing make sure links is your problem or your will be hurting your site

Ashish Ahuja

09/18/2013 06:36 pm

it is not showing these penalties, in webmaster tools it is letting you know if any manual action is taken against your website. If its algorithmic then your would not know

Ashish Ahuja

09/18/2013 06:39 pm

"taken significant steps to actually remove it" another bunch of lies 1. how would google know we have taken significant steps does it read our emails we have sent to webmaster requesting link removal 2. why should removing links be the duty of the webmaster (we never created them) Wouldn't it be better if google improved their broken algo instead of advising us clean up something which we don't have control on, especially if our site has been negative seod


09/18/2013 07:36 pm

Interesting developments. I find it surprising that Google stepped up to the plate here and didn't take the "Make a Quick Buck" angle that I thought they would have. Goes to show that even a massive empire like Google can be on the up-and-up. Nice one, Barry!

Marie Haynes

09/18/2013 07:42 pm

"how would google know we have taken significant steps " - If you document things well on a Google Docs spreadsheet then the webspam team can definitely see if you have taken significant steps to get links removed when they are manually reviewing your reconsideration request. My spreadsheet has all sorts of notes with things like, "link removed", "site owner wanted $15 for removal", "site owner refused to remove". The team can also see that I have documented the email address found on site, the whois address and the url of contact forms to submit. It should be fairly obvious that I have worked hard to get links removed. "why should removing links be the duty of the webmaster (we never created them" - If you got an unnatural links penalty then the vast majority of the time you either created these links or an SEO did so on your behalf.

Ashish Ahuja

09/18/2013 07:54 pm

Ok if somebody or your competitor create 1 million spammy links to your site how would you be responsible for them

Marie Haynes

09/18/2013 08:02 pm

What John Mueller says is that Google is usually pretty good at figuring out when there is a negative SEO attack and they just don't count those links. At 9:30 in this video, he says that the algorithm just discounts those links: He says earlier in that video that if they have noticed a pattern of unnatural links appearing over years then they can be pretty sure that it's not a competitor. I've seen a lot of people say that their unnatural links penalty came as a result of spam links thrown at them by a competitor but in every case, the links that were already there before were spammy as well.

Gracious Store

09/19/2013 03:41 am

interesting SEO companies charged website owner tonnes of money to create links to their sites including crappy links that are causing trouble for those sites. Now they want to charge fees to remove the links they generated?


09/19/2013 10:09 am

This goes against what what said not all that long ago, we were originally advised to try and make the effort to get rid of links not just disavow them now we are being told just disavow them don't bother removing them? They really need to make their mind up and stop making decisions on a whim to then change their mind and penalize people who have done as they told us to start with. Absolutely sick to death of hearing about Google and their ever changing demands, we don't even get much traffic from Google natural listings anyway, though we are obviously always open to trying to increase that. Starting to think why bother at all though we do well from the many other marketing methods and sources. So what are we actually supposed to do?

Ashish Ahuja

09/19/2013 05:50 pm

gr8 insight so instead of doing neg seo its better to send them over to a shitty seo :-)

Martin Woods

09/20/2013 02:15 pm

Not sure about 302s passing penalties, not tried that one, however the 301 trick to get out a penalty stopped working a while ago for me personally.

Martin Woods

09/20/2013 02:24 pm

you don't know me, if you did you'll know that I enjoy helping people if I can for FREE...

Kervin Labrosse

09/23/2013 10:24 am

Hi Martin, did you see my tweet last week, I replied and said yes I would like some guidance on this :)


09/24/2013 07:53 am i think we forget its self say that's time ... all article is confusion condition for webmasters now final Report whats do webmaster for website increment and whats don't do ..? so please post finally and clearly article and post. thanks..!!

Kervin Labrosse

09/24/2013 09:29 am

Ah OK, thanks, we don't have any of those messages so I can stop worrying and keep up with the rules!

Negative SEO

10/16/2013 06:42 pm

Ok, but what about instances where wmt doesn't supply the links? Not every client has access to ahrefs, knows which links are good/bad, knows how to encode into utf-8, compile a .txt file, etc. This stuff takes a lot of time to do if you do it properly...not every mom and pop has the know-how or desire to do this for themselves. A bit like a mechanic saying, 'I wouldn't pay for an oil change, because I can do it myself.'

Kervin Labrosse

10/17/2013 11:17 am

I agree Negative SEO+ but they make the rules and as we all have to comply then as a webmaster mom and pop or commercial it is your job to know


11/28/2013 05:57 pm

Do not be bothered and trouble yourself with google, go read google loser court cases the first time it made entry about fighting for the small business fact was it claims to be that , never for you the small business owner - Court case Oracle vs Google java over Android... forget about goog it self centered in every terms that it could possibly make and never honor them and make changes to the terms and conditions as many site did as they please. Window 8.1 fielding day yahoo outta google outta. like my metro Bing..still OS proprietry winner on software overall. not much about SEO and depending on some egoistic starting page. OS competitions !

Spook SEO

12/03/2013 07:00 am

Hello Barry, Google keeps on doing a lot of changes lately. Fortunately, I was able to disavow every links and not paid for link removal services. It’s really effective especially if you didn’t practice negative SEOs in the past. Following Google’s rules could really be rewarding. Thanks for sharing!

Black Spot

01/21/2014 06:13 pm

As an Admin of a forum that has been spammed to death, I have spent God knows how many hours removing and banning people (over 70k) over the last few years who put the links there in the first place. Too right I'm going to ask for a payment/donation. The links I have missed have provided free advertising to these companies for years, and the seo firms were paid to do it. If you think pleading poverty now is an excuse, you've got another think coming.

blog comments powered by Disqus