Everyone’s been at it recently haven’t they? (No not transferring speeding points to your partner, Mr. C. Huhne). I’m talking about SEO teams holed up in their caves, eyeballing numerous exported spreadsheets of link reference data, trying to weed out the many inferior websites and poor quality backlinks. A common occurrence following a typical nuclear style fallout after a slew of Panda/Penguin updates we’ve all been subjected to, throughout 2012 and 2013.
Whilst carrying out back link analysis for one of our new clients having sought our advice following a subtle ranking demotion, I was taken back by the findings. After following the usual steps of checking webmaster tools (there was no message from Google on a manual penalty), next I checked the back links and found a high volume of keyword rich anchor text usage, source linking from 95% directories. A closer look and it was soon evident that some of the directories were emanating from the same linked hosting accounts and IP addresses. Another 15 minutes of sighing and it was clear there were at least three network groups with dominant link patterns, using repeated anchor text. Overall, quite a straight forward SEO analysis completed. Verdict: automated penalty. Job done! Not quite…
Next, I narrowed down the sites and decided to remove the worst offending back links. Then I uncovered something quite cheeky to say the least, albeit saving us time in the process. As if it’s not enough to have to stomach the demolition of your websites rankings, and the resultant loss in eCommerce sales, online leads and possibly your livelyhood, the website owners of the offending directories are also cashing in on the removal process of these bad links.
So having paid for directory link submissions in the first place…you now have to pay again to get them deleted.
I suppose it’s not that surprising really. In the cut and thrust of an ever changing digital world, opportunities like these are often being exploited by companies looking to make a quick buck.
Remove Unwanted Backlinks: the system
Once clicking on the link you will be redirected via an affiliate link to deletebacklinks.com site. This is an affiliate scheme that has been spawned form the high demand for link removal inquiries, and the associated volume of email requests that have become unmanageable for directory owners. A gap has appeared in the market for an automated solution. OK, so this can save you a lot of time, but if you’re a small business with a low budget for marketing in the first place, it can be a kick in the wallet to have to stump up additional fees, for 100’s of these nuisance links.
According to Ahref’s, the number of back links pointing to deletebacklinks.com is 157 at the time of writing. So one can presume that most of these domains are the referring ‘contact us’ page from their client’s directories. In the end we reluctantly paid £38 to get a total of 59 links removed.
Assuming that each directory site receives 10 requests for link removal, that’s a healthy income of 10 x 157 x £38 = £59,660 for deletebacklinks.com. Minus the affiliates commission of 14% for link removal, that’s a nice tidy profit for both parties.
Whatever your opinion, there is often a need for removing back links to help recover your site and get your online business back on track. Life would be a lot less painful if these linked networks/directories were wiped off the face of the inter-web.
On the upside, since the Google updates, these poor quality directories have largely been relegated to obscurity, and most digital marketers now know to take a wide berth of them.