No, I’m not going to remove your link from my web site

Google’s rhetoric about unnatural linking has created quite a hassle.

I have a number of old web sites I haven’t touch in a while. Many of these are directory type sites I set up nearly a decade ago. That mostly get a few hundred visitors a month.

Lately people have started contacting me about them. Here are a couple example emails:

To whom it may concern,

It has come to our attention that your websites or the websites hosted by your company contains links to our website (url) which results in financial losses by the company we represent, due to search engine penalties. We request that you remove from the websites below all links to (url) as soon as possible.


Please respond and let us know when you can get this done.

Hello I am the webmaster for In light of Google’s newest algorithm change, I need to request that you remove every link to from your website. Below is our link location: (url) I would greatly appreciate your immediate cooperation. If it is not too much of a hassle, I would appreciate you letting me know once it has been removed. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

People are responding to perceived (and sometimes real) search engine penalties for “unnatural” linking. This seems to have ramped up since Google started notifying site owners about some of this perceived “unnatural” linking.

Here’s the thing: none of these people who have contacted me asked to be linked to. Nor did they pay for links. So they did nothing wrong.

And in general, the web is all about linking. For whatever reason, one of my sites links to them. That shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.

The problem apparently lies in Google’s ability to perceive unnatural linking, or at least the impression it gives to webmasters that some of these real links may be hurting them.

If it’s really this easy to hurt someone else’s ranking, then negative SEO has a flourishing future.


  1. says

    Yes, this is an interesting problem. I got the same email from the owner of a financial site. I had put up one of his Youtube videos on one of my finance sites, and just to be polite I also put a link back to his website. So, therefore, it was a totally natural link, which supposedly is what G likes. He asked me to take it down, but then didn’t reply when I wrote explaining the situation. So his attitude was a bit odd too. But IMHO G really has got its snickers in a twist as it is penalizing natural links. It also makes me think that they may even be penalizing my finance site as they seem to be thinking that I am putting up links for some sort of personal gain! So now I don’t put up any links at all! A nutty situation if ever there was one.

  2. says

    The fact that you don’t think it should be a problem is inconsequential if it is a problem.

    Negative SEO is a problem this is just the beginning I have read companies going after other site legally for not taking down the links. I have read about cease and desist letters, Andrew why are you not taking down a link when someone asks you ? Especially with all the people who retaliate and could spend $5 for 20,000 spam links on DNW ?

  3. KD says

    I’m getting sick of these requests as well. And I totally agree, these are valid links not part of link farms. Some people are just too touchy and afraid of the big G. Here is an email I got a few hours about this…

    I am the webmaster for In light of Google’s newest algorithm change, I need to request that you remove every link to from your website.

  4. Nebraska says

    People making these requests are non-talented, frightened SEO’s. When Google makes a statement, or places a message in thousands of people’s webmastertools box — WHAT KIND OF PERSON RUNS OUT AND MAKES IMMEDIATE CHANGES? Someone that knows they did something wrong.

    Google does not care if a bunch of small-times website owners panic, make efforts to remove lots of valid and semi-valid backlinks and end up looking like they are spammers. It does not harm Google when a non-important website is penalized because it’s link profile now looks like they are or were spammers. Making these kinds of moves is a FLAG. It’s a SIGNAL that you know enough about SEO to think you may have screwed something up. You LOOK like a spammer when you jump after this kind bait.

    Sure, some big sites get caught in the algo changes and guess what? They get reinstated and usually pretty quick. But, if you have a not-so-popular website – especially if you sell something or run Adsense – you’re screwed.

    A very determined webmaster will, if you don’t remove the links the he/she feels are causing problems, will simply file a DMCA against pages that contain the “bad” links. There is little risk if done properly.

    Don’t follow the herd.

  5. Nebraska says

    @Andrew – Filing a DMCA has much less risk than filing a Counter Notice. When you file a DMCA it is done in “good faith”. When you file a Counter Notice it’s done “under penalty of perjury”.

    Regardless, is is laughably easy to file an anonymous DMCA against a competitor or a site that you want the links removed from. A pre-paid cell phone is all you really need – and some common sense.

    Besides – I really, really thought you were violating my copyright by linking to my domain. Honest. It was all in good faith.

    That said, I wouldn’t remove any links. Screw em. Their ignorant anyhow. Then again, I have filed many DMCA complaints and have no hesitation in nailing someone if they shoot first.

  6. says

    Andrew I did not champion that, I said its what people are doing. people need to know all the stuff going on, not just a comment of its not my problem. Some are getting paid $5 to $10 the people asking $500 that is a bit much.

  7. S.W. says

    I’ve received about a hundred requests across my directories and enough is enough. When SEOs are sending automated listing removal emails over and over again, they’re going straight to the spam folder now.

    On older phpLD directories, it takes slightly longer to search out each of the offending links via MySQL for removal and it’s not surprising they used fake email addresses to submit them in the first place.

    No more freebies.

  8. says

    This is all Google. They change their algorythum every time you bat an eye, and they also change the rules in the middle of the game way to often as well. They are also the most dishonest search engine as well. I remember when Yahoo used to be number one. I have gone back to using Yahoo for my searches as well. I also find that their search results are a lot more relevant than Google’s are about 95% of the time. The internet has also gone from the era of websites sharing information with and validating each other to now being nothing buy a cyperspace battlefield were websites just DMCA each other more than anything now. There was a time were any webmaster would kiss you if you linked to them, instead of threatening you for doing the same thing now.

  9. Louise says

    Google also sees a loss of revenue from bot hits with their recent algorithm updates:

    _ July 19: Google Inc’s earnings hit analysts’ target as refinements to the company’s Internet search technology lured more Web surfers to click on its revenue-producing ads. Google’s revenue, excluding that from a recent Motorola purchase, stood at $8.36 billion after subtracting the ad commissions paid to its advertising partners. That was about $70 million below analyst projections. The number of total clicks on Google’s ads during the second quarter increased 42 percent from the same time last year. The increasing volume in clicks helped Google shake off a deepening decline in its ad prices.

    What earnings reports have revealed about ads

  10. Mike says

    First off let me start by saying I love this site and make it a point to visit and read the latest posts about 2 or 3 times a week, that being said I have a question.
    The problem I have been having is people are using my sites name and not linking back to me and it is affecting my google search ranking and some of them are coming up above mine in google.
    Here is how it happens I have (for example only) and they are, will make a page on thier site and name it and have nothing on the page that has to do with my site and the URL will look like this: with no link back to me and presto they are now showing up in searches for my site and in some cases above me in searches my question is what can I do about it?
    I have tried dmca with no luck.

  11. M says

    Not to beat a dead horse or get off topic, but I think it’s becoming clearer every day why you need a generic or descriptive .COM. Look at this SEO mess. Google is brilliant. Every week (or day?) they come up with a new reason to deindex or derank people, and at the same time add some new Google-based feature that outputs Google-sponsored website content directly onto the Google search page to bypass other websites.

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