A Sneaky Way To Ruin Your Competitors' Rankings

The mighty Penguin struck again last week.  As with any Google update there are always winners and losers.  If you’re on the losing side you’ll now be trying to work out what to do to recover your website’s rankings.

But, as with anything, there are always people that will try and take advantage of a situation.

I came across a possible “situation” this week and thought I would share my thoughts so that you can be aware of a potential negative tactic that could be being used by your competitors.

To understand what might be going on here it’s important to understand how people respond to Penguin updates, particularly when their websites have been negatively impacted by it.

The common belief is that Penguin is just about links, even though it’s more than just that.  Penguin can totally destroy your website in the search results or partially reduce its rankings.

That latter part of that statement is what seems to be catching a lot of webmasters out.  When you lose rankings because of an update some of the cause of that loss can be attributed to the fact that some websites that were linking to yours have been impacted by that update, and hence may no longer pass PageRank to your website.

We have quite a lot of our own websites and over the past few days we’ve received emails from different companies asking us to remove links to their websites as they think our websites are causing them problems.  These websites have only just seen minor losses in rankings.

When we receive these requests we normally just oblige, as we would expect the same response if we contacted a webmaster.  But over the past few days there has been something different about the emails coming in asking for link removals.

They weren’t coming from email addresses of the websites themselves, instead they were all from Gmail addresses.

So, at this point, how do we know that these are legitimate link removal requests?  How do we know it’s not actually a competitor of the website sending these requests out hoping we remove the links to reduce their rankings?

It might just me thinking with my black hat on but it’s definitely a possibility.

I for one will not process a link removal request unless the email actually comes from a proper email address from the actual website asking for the link to be removed.

Any to all of you asking us to remove links…there’s nothing wrong with our websites 😉