Webmasters Sending Link Modification Requests Due To Google Link Notifications

Feb 19, 2013 • 8:46 am | comments (20) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

google link jailA WebmasterWorld thread has one webmaster explaining he is now receiving emails from other webmasters to change how he links to them.

The issue is, Google is sending out messages about unnatural links and in response to that, webmasters are freaking out and emailing everyone and anything that links to them to change the link.

Heck, I've even received some asking me to either change the link or remove the link completely.

We even asked if someone can sue for linking to someone else? The issue now is that Google is sending a link warning saying your site is being penalized, so there is more evidence showing a site linking to you is potentially causing financial damage to the site. So a lawsuit is not out of question.

Some are taking other approaches and charging a fee to remove links. I kid you not.

In the case at WebmasterWorld, this webmaster received an email from another webmaster saying:

We have been penalized for unnatural links, can you please change the anchor text of your links from "blaH to "bla blah".

I don't see how changing the anchor text will help, it is still an unnatural link. :)

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for prisoner

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02/19/2013 02:00 pm

I am sure Google is not providing them any information about which links are unnatural. So, how they can identify which link is getting them penalized? They must be running to remove/alter each and every link they have ever made. That's tedious task. Barry, do you also charge to remove links? :)


02/19/2013 03:20 pm

If you go into GWT and you can't identify which links (or domains) to your site are unnatural, then you shouldn't be a webmaster.

Barry Schwartz

02/19/2013 04:20 pm

No, I just ignore the requests.

Rivka Fogel

02/19/2013 05:08 pm

Yeah someone actually wanted to charged me to remove a set of clearly unnatural links that a previous SEO agency set up for the firm

Ben Acheson

02/19/2013 05:12 pm

In this specific case you're mainly looking for excessive and artificial use of anchor text. Target those links for removal - and if you can't get them removed, submit a disavow request. Better still, don't spam your site in the first place!


02/19/2013 05:15 pm

From what I hear you cannot be sued for placing a link unless you did it with malicious intent, but I am not a lawyer.


02/19/2013 07:31 pm

Google is decimating business left and right! It's a shame we have no government here in USA.

Daniel Sodkiewicz

02/19/2013 08:00 pm

Dear Barry, I just have posted a link to your site on my website and I did it in the most spammy way I could possibly do. If you want me to remove it (you should, it hurts your SEO very much), I demand 1 million dollars payed in Canadian pesos. Thank you, and have a wonderful day my friend.


02/19/2013 08:31 pm

Well, technically speaking... If they're changing the URL it could combat (in theory) any penalty assuming the page, not domain was at the hammer of the penalty. Moreover, I think it's very unfair to simply consider a link unnatural because of the connection with linking site. I think anchor text, context and surrounding text come into play. In addition, another flaw mentioned would be taking it link by link. Per my research Google looks at an entire link profile. I've seen and had sites with paid link and obvious unnatural links, but the site dominates. Simply because it was done in low numbers. So, assuming XYZ.com/page.html is being hit - the webmaster could a.) kill the page or b.) repair the page - if the former, a modification to the link, both URL and anchor could (in theory) rectify or help repair loss traffic. Simply changing anchor text, sure, it's already toasted - but updating to a new URL with more accurate and un-spammy anchor text? COULD, IMHO, make a slight positive difference.

Dario Petkovic

02/19/2013 09:32 pm

It's all gone mad. Best is to leave the existing links where they are and try to create some good quality ones to offset the 'bad' ones.

Jim Hobson

02/20/2013 03:30 am

So if I understand this correctly, Google is ASSUMING unnatural anchor text and effectively FORCING someone to manually manipulate the anchor text . . . but to what? Is'nt a conscious decision to make it yet again something deliberately selected equally manipulative? Google needs to spend less time on this and more time getting G+ Local in order.

Internet Man

02/20/2013 05:04 am

Ever since i focused 100% of my time on just creating content my sites have seen a boost. Mostly forum posts or creating new content/pages.. That is what google wants us doing.. not spending our days "trying to figure out ïf you put this link here, and this link points to that.." i promise you may be able to run for a while but you can't hide from big G for long.


02/20/2013 05:36 am

Hi Barry, If i change my anchor text to brand name how it'll help for search engine rankings?


02/20/2013 06:49 am

Canadian Pesos? You better get it paid in American Yuan! It is a safer bet!

Colin Dolly

02/20/2013 06:51 am

Hi Berry, Can you plz tell me on which way you just ignore the request. It means you just ignore the request and penalized his website...its not right way, you should help him to avoid such type of things.


02/20/2013 07:10 am

Webmasters should ban together and sue Google in a class action suit. Google is the real culprit causing panic and ruining small business in its anti-trust behavior. ABG! ABG! Anything but Google!

Barry Schwartz

02/20/2013 10:56 am

I don't penalize websites.

Michael Charalambous

02/20/2013 01:53 pm

This is insanity. And it's all... 100% Google's fault for manipulating the minds of us. Just do a better job at realising quality, and you won't need to moderate the web.

Marie Haynes

02/20/2013 02:56 pm

I can see the logic that goes behind asking a webmaster to change the anchor text, but I'm not sure that it would help. I think the logic is that if, for example, I have a blogroll link from a site that uses my keyword it's going to look like I am trying to manipulate the SERPS for that keyword. But, maybe if I change it to my url it won't look so manipulative. The problem is that the site is under a manual review. When Google reconsiders a site they first look at a subset of the unnatural links to see if you've gotten them removed. I am guessing that this part of the process is done with a program and not by a manual reviewer. So, if they look at say a number of your links that they have deemed unnatural and see that 99% of them are still in existence, then you're likely to be denied on the spot. I don't think even a manual reviewer would look at a previously manipulative link and say, "Oh, they changed the anchor text, so that's ok now." They want to see that it's gone. Regarding charging for link removal, I really don't see a problem with it. I wouldn't do it personally, but think of a webmaster who owns several directory sites. The people who made those directory listings did it on their own volition. Some of these webmasters probably get many requests a day to remove links. Each time they've got to take the time it takes to go into the site and take down the links. I don't see a problem with charging say $5 to do that. In doing penalty removal for sites though I have found a few sites that I am suspicious are taking advantage of this. These sites often don't meet the linking pattern that the SEO had made. For example, I'll be working on a site that has hundreds of spammy articles backlinks and then suddenly there is this random bookmarking site (when the site has no other bookmark backlinks) and the bookmarking site says very clearly that they will remove links for $5 each. I'm suspicious that some of those just created a site and linked to everyone in DMOZ (or in another directory that they own). On one hand it makes me mad, but on the other hand, if I'm working on a site that has links that are hard to remove I am thankful for the ones that I can remove easily like that.


07/19/2013 02:51 am

its like on my site... i want to edit and do some changes but i have no clue where i can do it

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