You know how every time the President comes on TV and says something, pundits spend an hour afterward pulling it apart looking for hidden truths and secret meanings? Well it keeps multiple news networks on the air so maybe it’s worth a blog post for this.
On Wednesday Search Engine RoundTable featured a conversation about link removal from the Google Forums. It wasn’t an extensive exchange, but the 3 line response from a Google Rep gives us a lot to read into.
Here’s the summary, the Poster had managed to get about 85% of his unnatural links removed but was having trouble getting rid of some of them. I’m pretty sure this is a problem a lot of people are running into these days.
But here are the words worth dissecting. John, from Google responded to the post with:
“With 85% resolved, it sounds like you’ve covered a lot of ground already! If there are links that you’re absolutely not able to remove, I’d document that with a reconsideration request along with the issues that you’ve been able to resolve.”
Hmmmm sooo what’s between those lines? Disclaimer: All of these interpretations are just that, my take on what the deeper meaning is behind this comment could be.
So, does this mean you need to do the math and whittle down exactly 85% of your lousy back links? I suspect that there’s some leeway in here. Maybe some people could get away with as little as 75% or 60% or who knows. What I think we can take away from this is that what they want to see is effort.
If you’ve been pinged and they’ve taken a good long look at your back links they know what you’ve been up to and what it looks like they want is a penance. If Google is the judge, jury and executioner for your back link behaviors, it looks like if you show remorse they may cut you a break during sentencing.
But even if there is some wiggle room percentage wise, I’d recommend a truly earnest effort at a clean up. If you take half measures, you may find your sentence extended even further.
This sentiment almost makes me think they kind of understand the vacuum that is the vast majority of paid link networks. They may even recognize there are some back links that just won’t go away, like house guests or herpes.
Those ghost blogs, you just can’t get in touch with or all those sites owned by a guy named “Proxy” who don’t have reachable webmasters. One of the things I hear talking to people who have been affected by Penguin is the panic when they realize that they have no idea how to remove a number of their links. Either the links were procured before their tenure or they never actively sought some links and have no clue where they came from. It looks like there may be some leniency for that.
That said, there are still plenty of tricks you can try to hunt down the human behind your links. But if you’ve given it a real shot and failed miserably, you may not be dead in the water.
A Paper Trail
But the general undertone here seems to be the importance of trying. Like taking a math test involving long division, half the points come from showing your work. So if you want to be proactive here, the subtext seems to be the importance of documenting your work. Keep track of the links you get taken down and your attempts at removing the ones you couldn’t. The more you can show you’ve done, the more likely they are to have mercy on your cause.
So is there a deeper meaning in this sound-byte? Maybe, maybe not. But there just may be a way out when you hit a wall in in back link removal, at least if you keep records. Is this any kind of guarantee or universal truth? I wish. Only a couple of insights that may give us some hope.