With Google becoming stricter on poor quality backlinks, and the release of the latest Penguin update, it is more important than ever that you ensure your backlink profile is regularly monitored and cleaned up where necessary.
In order to try and remove any bad links pointing towards your site, you will need to contact the webmaster, or website representative, requesting that they take down your link. Although this may sound simple, it is very important that it is done properly to increase the chances that your request is met. The removal of these links, and consequently the preservation, or salvation, of your search rankings, could all hinge on this email.
Having carried out these requests, with positive results, on behalf of some of our clients, there are a number of techniques that we feel can assist the link removal request process:
Contact the Right Person
Some sites will simply incorporate a contact form for enquiries, some may include a whole list of emails and contacts for various departments, whereas others will not list any details whatsoever.
It is important to look on each referring website carefully for the most appropriate contact method or person, so that your email finds its way to the right eyes who can carry out your request. For instance, there may be a more specific webmaster email address you can try as opposed to a general form.
If you cannot find any contact details listed, don’t stop there. There are plenty of ‘Whois’ tools available, which, more often than not, can provide a contact email for a website owner simply by typing in their URL. Try whois.com
Use an Appropriate Email Address
Some webmasters will receive a large number of requests for the removal of links on a daily basis. Some of these may be from malicious companies or competitors attempting to perform negative SEO on a site.
for instance. This way, they will know it’s a legitimate request and will be more likely to trust an email from the actual company in question than one from a free Hotmail or Gmail account for example.
It is not necessarily in a site owner’s best interest to remove your link. They will not want to spend their time hunting down your links and so on. You need to make it as easy for them as possible to increase the chance that they will take time to get this done for you.
You should state:
- Why you want your link removed – explain that you’re cleaning up your link profile, and appreciate that their site may well be legitimate, however, would like the link removed.
- Which page on their site contains the link – this saves them having to look through their site’s pages just to find the link in question.
- The URL of your site that is being linked to – prevents any confusion over which link on the page is being referred to in your email, even if it seems obvious to you.
The clearer the details, the easier, and therefore more likely, it is that your link will be removed as requested.
The best way to make someone want to help you is to stay professional, friendly and polite in your approach. You need their help, they won’t like threats or rude emails and will simply ignore these. Remain courteous and you’re sure to receive a much better response, or at least a better chance that they’ll actually read and consider your removal request.
You’d be surprised at the requests people send, using threatening or aggressive language. There is no need for this, and it will only harm your endeavours. Get on the wrong side of someone and what’s to stop them building another couple of hundred poor quality links to your site across their domain?
No one wants to read an essay. You should aim to get your message across in a short, but clear email. Don’t over-explain yourself, don’t waffle on about unimportant details to the request. This will not only take up more of your time in the removal process, but will take up unwanted time from the person receiving your request. Simply write what needs to be said.
As you send out your link removal requests, you should keep a record of when each referring domain was contacted. In a couple of weeks or so you should come back to this and follow up your request for the links that still remain.
Write another friendly email, mention that you have previously contacted them, and would appreciate if they could remove the links. Often, it’s this follow up email that gets a good response. They may have missed the first request or forgotten about your email, with the second contact prompting them to resolve this straight away. It may be the case they see you’re going to be persistent and simply remove the link to keep you quiet!
Similarly, if and when links are removed following your request, make sure to respond by thanking them for their in doing so.
Although some of the tips discussed may seem obvious or simple, that is just how it should be – make it simple, easy and clear what you are requesting and the response will be far greater.