SEO Inc's Link Removal Requests

Mar 25, 2013 • 8:23 am | comments (60) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

SEO IncIt appears that SEO Inc. ( - dare I link to them) is sending out link removal requests.

A Cre8asite Forum thread discusses it and I also received the request. A two-year old web developer at SEO Inc, prior to that, a bartender, has emailed me that I need to remove a link to SEO Inc from 2005.

The email reads:

I am [redacted] with I wanted to thank you for linking to our site from . However, it has come to our attention that this link may have been acquired against Google's Webmaster Guidelines. It is important for us to bring our site into compliance. Could you please remove our link from this page and any other page on your site.

Kim Krause Berg received a similar request, but she was nicer, she was going to remove it:

To which I say, you HAVE to be kidding! First, did they even guidelines in 2005? And second, my reputation has been staked on the fact that I never do anything knowingly to upset the Google gods. And third, what the freaking frog? So, I figure ok, I'm not be-utch and I'll remove the link, which by the way is from an earlier and shall I say, gawd awful design of Cre8pc. Only to find that I can't edit past 2006 (I have archives going back to 2002 for my blog).

Deal is, Chuck Finley said Kim should remove it. Why? "If you don't, they'll do it with the disavow tool and that could affect the site."

Seriously?! Go ahead, use the disavow. I am not removing a link to your site because the link was relevant to the story.

Even worse, you do not email popular SEO blogs or forums asking them to remove links to your site. That will back fire and inform the world that you obviously have some sort of link penalty and an SEO company with a link penalty is not the best SEO company. Unless of course, you are stubborn and stupid.

Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums.

Update: I spoke with the CEO of SEO Inc and he explained the context. In short, they were going through their link profile and assigned the task to one of the newer people in the company after a few weeks of doing this job himself. That person didn't do his research and sent the link removal request to sites he should not have (not saying I don't deserve to receive it).

The reason I wrote this story was not to laugh at how dumb a specific person is. Heck, I probably deserve the request.

The reason I wrote this story was because there is now so much fear over who links to who that it is sickening. Fear someone might use the disavow tool against me? Fear I have some bad links pointing to my site. Fear I link to someone without using the nofollow.

Look at where we have come, just look.

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Praveen Sharma

03/25/2013 12:34 pm

That's Stupidity. Is it confirmed that guy Kirk Evans works at SEOInc? If yes, he must be drunked on that same bartender's table where he used to serve.

Barry Schwartz

03/25/2013 12:35 pm

Check his linkedin profile.

Andy Langton

03/25/2013 12:51 pm

Love the fact that link is not dodgy at all. Think they might need to revisit their link analysis ;)


03/25/2013 01:12 pm

You outed these guys cause they're request was a bit random, it's a bit hypocritical when you sell site-wide sponsored links, you must have gotten similar requests from those guys lately as three of them are no-follow.

Barry Schwartz

03/25/2013 01:18 pm

No, it is not hypocritical. And I did not change any links to be nofollowed or not.


03/25/2013 01:48 pm

Not cool saying the guys name who requested the link removal. He is probably not in a senior role and is just doing what he is told.


03/25/2013 01:49 pm

Bet he "Worked" at SEOInc.


03/25/2013 01:58 pm

My favorite part is this (from their front page): "For over 17 years Search Engine Optimization Inc. has been one of the leading professional search engine optimization and social media marketing firms in the world". So ... They've been doing SEO and Social Media since 1996? OK.

Clay Adams

03/25/2013 02:22 pm

Beware links from SEO Roundtable! You could one day need to remove them and THEN where will you be? At the mercy of Barry Schwartz! That's where.

Chase Anderson

03/25/2013 03:00 pm

Indeed - not a very thorough review of his backlinks.

Patrick Wagner

03/25/2013 03:10 pm

It's frustrating that Google provides no insight in to which mindset or approach is best when it comes to backlinks. The folks I know who buy backlinks continue to do so because they still get top rankings because of it. I think Google might actually crank down what they not only accept but what they punish for. For last while those two aspects never used together the way they should be.

Seo Hop

03/25/2013 03:12 pm

Google Update March In UK This Weekend? Search Heating Up For Spring Barry have you heard anything? Or is this just google data centers being delayed?

Kim Krause Berg

03/25/2013 03:18 pm

Doing what you're told and not doing it professionally. Nobody likes to be accused of something they didn't do. Links from posts made in 2005 are a threat? Why not 1999? Why not go after any site that ever linked to you that you *think* linked to you by some sort of "bad" technique.

Diane Aull

03/25/2013 03:21 pm

That's what SEO Inc gets for hiring a "two-year old web developer." :) I am still wondering what bar would have hired a toddler as a bartender, though. Thanks for my best chuckle so far this morning. :)

Anthony Shapley

03/25/2013 03:48 pm

How do you know that SEO Inc are responsible for the link building? I say this because a large part of my job is organising these removal requests and clean-up jobs on huge websites. Not ones Bronco has arranged themselves, but tidying up other people's historical mess basically.

Brad Geddes

03/25/2013 03:53 pm

I get several of these a week and I can't figure out why someone really doesn't want a contextually relevant, in context, on-topic link from a reputable site. These are the links that should be cherished - not tossed away.


03/25/2013 03:57 pm

Uhhh, you do realise large companies often change agency when they gain a penalty right? How do you know these guys didn't just inherit the issue? Be careful with those kinds of assertions. I totally agree with this point though: "If you don't, they'll do it with the disavow tool and that could affect the site. - Seriously?!" Too many people use these scaremongering tactics to get things done for free. I agree that there is insufficient evidence to back those types of 'threat' emails.

David Whitehouse

03/25/2013 04:10 pm

I thought that at first Andy, but then someone pointed out the sponsored links section in the side bar to me.

Anthony Shapley

03/25/2013 04:14 pm

Also @rustybrick:disqus you sell links in the Sidebar of this site? If I was looking at a site and it was penalised.. I'd consider asking you nicely to take it down :)

David Whitehouse

03/25/2013 04:14 pm

Remember, they are contacting probably hundreds or thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of websites. If they contact websites where it is a paid link, getting them to remove it is preferable for both parties rather than opting for the disavow tool. I've heard that some networks have been caught via use of the disavow tool - you are meant to explain why you want to disavow each link/domain. So really they are trying to avoid toasting other people's websites - not threaten them.

Barry Schwartz

03/25/2013 04:15 pm

If it wasn't just sent to me, I'd leave it. But there was a forum thread started by someone else.

David Whitehouse

03/25/2013 04:21 pm

So why was the SEO Positive link a follow link in Dec 2011:

Barry Schwartz

03/25/2013 04:23 pm

Maybe they asked for it.] SEO Inc isn't placing sponsored ads on here. Did you read or you are just looking to have fun?


03/25/2013 04:24 pm

Well that makes a lot of sense. It's rarely explained in that manner though. I still feel that (whilst what you say is true) many SEOs abuse that explanation in order to forcibly coerce webmasters to "play ball". I totally agree with the fundamental logic of what you're saying though. Google don't want you to disavow links without explanation and that information may damage blog-networks, etc.

David Whitehouse

03/25/2013 04:29 pm

No not read it, tried to find it as Anthony told me about it. Just commenting as it's an interesting discussion :)

Barry Schwartz

03/25/2013 04:29 pm

I did link to it in my main story.


03/25/2013 04:30 pm

because 99% of SEOs don't know what they are doing.

David Whitehouse

03/25/2013 04:34 pm

Yeah, but I'm not stubborn or stupid, so I didn't fancy clicking that link ;)

David Whitehouse

03/25/2013 04:35 pm

$350 per month seems remarkably good value to me by the way, even if it was to be nofollowed :)

Barry Schwartz

03/25/2013 04:36 pm

Want a link? ;-)

Kevin Gerding

03/25/2013 04:38 pm

The reference to Kirk's previous employment (bartender) seems more of a personal slight against him then anything of any real importance. I'm not sure how outing him or SEO Inc. really matters. Everybody is sending/getting these stupid link removal requests.

Barry Schwartz

03/25/2013 04:39 pm

That was just for the story, not as an attack in anyway. My main point is the disavow thing, over anything else in this story.

David Whitehouse

03/25/2013 04:40 pm

Haha, yeah maybe one day...

Michael Martinez

03/25/2013 05:21 pm

Hey, Barry. Please continue linking to any and all of my sites that you may have linked to through the years.

Donna D. Fontenot

03/25/2013 05:24 pm

I agree with those who say that just because SEO Inc is requesting the takedowns, doesn't mean they were the ones who acquired the links in the first place. So, there's no reason to assume that they aren't a good SEO company. In regards to asking for takedowns, hey, when a site is in the deep depths of penalty despair, sometimes desperate measures need to be taken. Decisions have to be made, and if a site has thousands of links, it's not easy to cull the good from the bad.

Barry Schwartz

03/25/2013 06:17 pm

FYI, updated the story after speaking with SEO Inc's CEO.

Marie Haynes

03/25/2013 08:57 pm


Marie Haynes

03/25/2013 10:50 pm

Sometimes it can be difficult to judge if a link is natural or not. In doing penalty removals for a number of sites I probably have sent out a few emails to webmasters to ask for links to be removed when they were actually natural ones. I try my best to only identify the links that are contributing to the penalty, but it's not always easy. I really appreciate the webmasters who respond to me saying that they will remove the link. I try to say in my emails that I understand that this link could be a natural one and that I am not blaming the website and I invite them to write back to me to let me know if they feel the link is a good one. But even still, I will get people who get really offended that I have asked for a link to be removed.

Kim Krause Berg

03/26/2013 03:51 am

Why are people jumping all over you Barry? You pointed to a discussion I started because I was asked to remove a link to an article about the uproar over "booth babes" at SEO conferences. My blog post was from 2005 and the link was a simple link to an article that caught my eye on a topic that was interesting to write about. The link wasn't hurting anybody, nor could I even get to it, as its buried deep in my MySQL. The layout of the blog at that time no longer exists. What threw me is why ANY SEO company is going after links from 8 year old web pages. Google has grabbed SEO's by the throat and now suddenly any link is a potential enemy. I think this is wrong. My links stay.


03/26/2013 04:17 am

LOL you guys are stubborn and stupid ! :P

Jawad Latif

03/26/2013 09:57 am

The poor guy

Robert Fisher

03/26/2013 12:02 pm

Excellent post, excellent point of view. Why live in fear? If you know you did naughty, fine. If you were doing your job, etc. and you haven't engaged purposefully in any schemes around linking, move on. Thanks Barry.

Arun Jaiswal

03/26/2013 12:03 pm

You should bit modest on Answer for Removal link.. YES, NO need to asking removal link... Disavow tool would do the work ..


03/26/2013 02:03 pm

Great point Kim! Google can say and do what they want (their PR mill), but SEO has to be managed by people who are beyond the fear Google.

Sha Menz

03/26/2013 02:16 pm

Not to mention the fact that in many cases site owners want to have a say in what is and isn't removed. When people are sitting on the edge of a precipice watching their livelihood disappear down a yawning chasm it isn't always easy to bring reason back into the equation.

Mike Dammann

03/26/2013 04:39 pm

Pretty sad. It's gone so far that some actually charge removal fees now.


03/26/2013 08:33 pm

If there's anything I hold against Google, it's that they can cause otherwise (mostly) sane people to lose all common sense. Sheesh.

or zilberman

03/28/2013 07:24 am

Lol I think in the future we will see backlinks extortion, people will raise blog-networks to link to big companies so they could charge money to take off the link like in the web-directories lol.

Nick Ker

03/29/2013 08:42 pm

Amen! 99% is probably just a little high, though.

Nick Ker

03/29/2013 08:48 pm

Waiting for the rumor to start: "Links from SE Roundtable can be used in negative SEO!"

James Oakham

03/31/2013 11:18 pm

That request seemed courteous enough, and at least they were taking the time to make the request rather than going straight for the disavow tool. 'Outing' this guy & his employer seems rather petulant to me, and a far more depressing example of what we've descended to.


04/20/2013 04:37 am

This techniques can be applied only for some blogging purposes or guess blogging. You have to make some link request in order to communicate the webmaster of a certain domain owner and have a permission to post your link on it.

Rank Giant

04/21/2013 04:37 pm

Could you please remove our link from this page and any other page on your site.

Richard Hartley

05/08/2013 04:19 pm

There are some thoughts that they could be part of negative or sabotage SEO campaigns by attempting to removing valuable competitor's links. Or is this geting a little bit conspiracy theory-ish?


05/30/2013 06:58 pm

This is such charging time for responding to all the link removal request. The Bloggers problem is that if the site appears frequently in disavow requests the it could be penalized,

Small Business SEO Orlando

06/13/2013 06:42 am

It would be hazardous that if anyone of the follow link with be automatically remove with in the time frame they decide so stop the process like this, be sincerely explain why you cancelling such a method to be promoted time to time. like the style that actually mathers the most.


09/09/2013 08:25 am

What do you have against bartenders becoming web developers? Do you think being a developer or seo is a privilege of those who were guided through computer science from the child years never having to think for themselves? Are you actually against people who make a point of becoming someone else and do that? Way to go, bro.


10/19/2013 08:21 pm

Go ahead, use the disavow. I am not removing a link to your site because the link was relevant to the story.


06/17/2014 04:48 pm

Your favorite part??? Its mine too seeing as its true. SEO Inc was previously SEO Ink pre-2000, and the CEO bought the domain name SEO Inc. How long you been in SEO?...2 years maybe? Obviously don't know who the top 3 first SEO companies were. The Vets know!


06/17/2014 05:08 pm

You really think Google gives if your links are pre-quality guidelines? Their motto isn't "Don't be evil" anymore Kim...You actually have to look at your link profile....If your actually a company/website thats makes $. You'd be an idiot to not go thru your backlink profile...wowza Show me one big company not dealing with a linking problem/linking detox/linking campaign where they aren't actively watching what links go up, go down, where they go up, what the anchors are, what the trust is associated to the anchor, pages to and from. Theres more to links than the 95% of people that comment here understand. in Googles' patent it says what sites they thought were the most powerful, authoritative websites, smart out of the box thinkers got their link to these sites for 20 bucks and became number 1 for many keywords over night. This is why they made the guidelines. They impinged anyone who dared make their Billion dollar algorithm USELESS overnight. Do you reallllllyyyyy think that Google wouldn't drop the penalty on a website linking to "googles picks" same links from early 2000s?? Go back to linking school kiddies.

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