I have to hope this is a rare circumstance and very, very few companies would actively engage in a practice like this. Bringing down the links of one competitor is a far worse use of your marketing time and energy than focusing on improving your own stuff.
But Rand in niches where people are set to make high amounts of money for a short term ranking, they will use all types of negative tactics to take out competitors. For example Poker Affiliates, Credit Card Affiliate, Car Loan Affiliates, Pay Day Loans Affiliate. All these niches involve negative SEO, black hat ect and I can not see it changing in the near future. I would say on the whole people would not engage in those tactics but in some niches I can see it happening on a high rate.
Agreed. I suppose if you're operating in those businesses, hopefully you've gone in eyes open.
While not all SEO companies are this shady, I wonder how many SEO teams promising to deliver results would find this process easier than actually building links to support their client sites. If you're promising results, you'll deliver on them however you can.
TL;DR: Your competitors may remove your good backlinks by simply asking
Interesting... But I'd guess the worse the site, the more likely it is to comply with a link removal request from a Gmail account no questions asked.Link removal requests by their nature are focused on poor(er) sites, so that could skew the data in that article.I suppose the only ethical way to fully test the theory would be to set up a Gmail account and then email everyone linking to a site you own to remove those links. It'd be a brave SEO who did that.
If nothing else, it's another reason to keep a close eye on lost backlinks.
It's probably a strategy that a lot of those Negative SEO companies use. They claim everything they do is legal, but I wonder what the law regarding impersonating someone with a Gmail account is? Will has a pretty good point though, and I wonder how many people have the extra budget/hours to burn on negativity. As Rand said (and as Matt Cutts has said) it's better to promote yourself than throw sand in someone else's face. Pretty crazy article, though.
Yeah, I've noticed that too. Excellent negative SEO strategy. I get emaisl from free mail addresses asking for likn removal too. I at least ask them to verify that they are legit.
I was working on a rather large link removal project involving a few domains for the same company. A batch of removal requests went out from an address on the wrong domain. Much to my surprise, quite a few links were removed as a result, and some webmasters even had questions. "Who the hell are you?" was not one of the questions.
We shpould run a test and ask to get links removed on behalf of Matt Cutts.
It'd work, but I'm not falsely pretending to be Matt Cutts in an attempt to remove links to his site. I'd link to an article with the results of such an attempt though!
I was forwarded one of these e-mails the other day. People are actively outsourcing to remove backlinks from their competitors.
I notice more and more directories have moved from a model where they once offered paid submission to now offering paid removal. One directory I noticed the other day has a new landing page on the home page which offered link removal from its huge network for various prices per links removed. Here is a screen shot I took of it https://plus.google.com/104627466131988547008/posts (new business model for some directories)
I guess they know their days are numbered and are trying to monetise what's left of their business.
Although link removals have become a lot more common in the past year or so there is no reason why this tactic is anything new.
It would always have been possible to just email a site owner saying that you are so and so from company X and asking them to remove the link to your site.
I am guessing that most webmasters response would be to just make the removal and reply "done" rather than start asking questions, people are busy after all.
Like Rand I believe that there are few people that will stoop this low, but the fact that it is possible is enough to create a fear of it and cause people to start monitoring their links more carefully - not such a bad thing anyway.
Was talking to 2-3 other agencies about this the other day and no one has ever heard of this happening.
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