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Get rid of the spam link I left on your site!

I’ve been receiving the same kind of e-mail over and over again lately. Because Google has finally started to crack down on spammy links, webmasters everywhere are beseeching other webmasters to remove the links that, not too long ago, they desperately wanted pointing at their sites. I guess I can understand that, but what I can’t understand is how nasty and rude they can be in doing it. I’m just getting tired of the attitude they seem to have when they write to me.

I honestly haven’t gotten a single solitary nice letter. None that have apologized for what happened. Nothing. Instead, most of the letters sound something like this:

Dear Webmaster,

Google has informed us that there is a spam link coming from your site to our site that we are being penalized for in our search results. Please remove this link as soon as possible. Thanks.

Maybe that sounds nice to you, but it irritates the crap out of me.  Why? Because it makes it sound like I did something wrong that I owe it to them to correct so that they can regain their rightful God-given Google rankings.

no spam!
Photo credit: Wikipedia

What I do in response is to send this back to the webmaster:

Here is the e-mail that the you should have sent:

“I know you are busy but I would really appreciate a favor. We really screwed up when we hired a company to do search marketing for us because they went out and placed many spam comments on blogs including yours. We’re sorry that we were responsible for that.

We’re getting our comeuppance now because Google is punishing our search rankings because we have so many spammy links to our site. I know that this is all completely our fault, but it would mean a lot to us if you could delete this comment from your blog post.”

Most people don’t respond to my e-mail, but a few do, chastened. For me, these are the few who inspire hope. I’ve asked a few of them why they send such a disingenuous letter, and they tell me that they don’t believe that anyone would really help them if they told the truth.

To me, this is sad. They have the spammy links to their sites because they tried to fool blog owners and Google. When Google catches on to their chicanery, they decide to try to fool the blog owners again–to make those poor blog owners think they did something wrong.

To me this is the worst part of SEO–the ugly underbelly that survives on cheap tricks and cheaper lies. When we all stop trying to feign quality and start actually creating it, then search marketing will really become useful to searchers.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is a Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also served as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website,, most recently as the Manager of Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He was a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research and is now a Senior Fellow of The Conference Board. A Certified Speaking Professional, Mike regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide

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