Google has publicly said that having someone submit your site via the disavow tool has no effect on your site in the rankings. And with more and more link removal tools erring on the side of caution and auto-submitting link removal requests for multitudes of sites, webmasters are understandably getting annoyed with the vast number of link removal requests that large sites can receive.
Webmasters are also on the receiving end of automated link removal requests that definitely cross to line to being spammy. Because let’s face it, if someone doesn’t remove your link on the first try, spamming them daily for two weeks isn’t going to make them any more receptive to removing your link – if anything they will be more determined NOT to.
And with so many link removal requests flying around the SEO community these days, it is no wonder that people have started to charge fees to remove links – some just to cover the time to do it, while others are basically holding those links hostage by demanding exorbitant fees to remove those links. While $100 per link is quite common, some site owners demand as high as $1000 per link removal request.
And when webmasters don’t get the expected results from their disavow requests, some start threatening site owners with “if you don’t remove this link, I will submit it in a disavow list and then Google will know your site is poor quality and ban you.” And not surprisingly, site owners get pretty alarmed that Google could ban them if they don’t remove the link – especially those who might not be up on the latest SEO techniques.
Fortunately for webmasters, Google has said that having your site on a disavow list won’t hurt your site in any way – at least not specifically for having your site submitted for disavow. This was confirmed by John Mueller, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, in this help thread in the webmaster forums.
They are wrong. Having URLs from your website submitted in their disavow file will not cause any problems for your website. One might assume that they are just trying to pressure you. If the comment links they pointed to you are comment-spam that was left by them (or by someone working in their name) on your website, perhaps they are willing to help cover the work involved in cleaning their spam up?
So Google does recognize it as being a concern, both from webmasters threatening site owners to remove links, and for those site owners concerned it could negativeely impact their site if they don’t remove it and chose to let the webmaster simply use the disavow tool instead. And he does make the comment about compensation for link removal.
Of course, if your site has dodgy backlinks, you could always be dinged for linking to a “bad neighborhood” or poor quality site, but the simple act of being included in someone else’s disavow list won’t hurt you. If Google did take it into account, it would be utilized by spammers pretty quickly to submit a ton of disavow lists conveniently containing URLs of all their competitor’s sites.
So if it can’t hurt you from a disavow point of view, should you continue to honor these requests? It is up to you. Most of the sites doing link removals are not of the horrible spammy quality, since it is often easier to just rebuild a new site under the idea of “churn and burn” rather than trying to dig a site out of a Google branded spammy hole. Some webmasters remove if the request is polite. Others have definitely have gone the route of “no way in hell” when it comes to dealing with link removal requests, especially for the ones who spam repeatedly or threaten the site owner if they don’t remove it. And others still feel that the link in question serves as being useful for their site visitors and don’t want to remove it because there is value to the visitor and there might not be a better alternative.
If you want to ensure you are still linking to great sites it does make a lot of sense to do a link audit on your site That way you can go and evaluate every link on a case-by-case basis, and not removing based on someone threatening you.
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