Negative SEO and Link Removals: Interview with Virante’s Jacob Bohall

By Mark Traphagen

At Pubcon in Las Vegas last month, Search Engine Journal conducted a video interview with Jacob Bohall, Vice President for Marketing for Virante Inc, on the topics of negative seo and link removals for Penguin penalty recovery.

Here’s the video of that interview. Below the video is a summary of the key points from the interview.

Highlights from the interview

As our Remove’em Backlink Removal team has worked on helping clients get restored from a Google Penguin penalty, we’ve noticed evidence of negative SEO campaigns against some of them. Some of these are probably from competitors, while others may be from opportunistic webmasters basically running an extortion scam: put a glaringly spammy link on their site to another site, and then if that site needs to remove links, demand payment to remove it.

Penguin penalty link removals

What if I run a site and get a lot of link removal requests, but choose to just ignore them? You could be putting your site at some risk if you blow off these requests. Google has told webmasters that if they have made a good faith effort to get a link removed and can’t, they should enter it in Google’s Disavow Links Tool. Many SEO’s suspect that Google may use data from that tool to identify potential link spam sites. So if your site starts showing up a lot in the Disavow Tool, you could be in some danger.

By the way, Remove’em now includes a report that you can link to in a reconsideration request to Google that verifies the links that were successfully moved (and those attempted) so that Google will have more confidence in your efforts.

What if I no-follow most or all of the links I build to my site? Does that protect my site from a Google penalty? Not necessarily. Site’s like that can still get in trouble if they are using spammy link practices, just not necessarily from Penguin.

At Remove’em we ran a study looking at penalized sites and their MajesticSEO Citation Flow and Trust Flow. Citation Flow gives a picture of the number of links pointing at a site, whereas Trust Flow has to do more with the quality of those links, what types of sites they come from for example. We found that there was a high correlation for penalized sites with high Citation Flow but a low rank on Trust Flow. A lot of sites no-following their links to your site can be one indication of low trust for your site.

Want to know if you’re site is at risk for a Google Penguin Penalty? Try our Penguin penalty checker Get your PVS (Penguin Vulnerability Score) and an exportable report of your danger areas and suspect backlinks for just a few dollars!

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Negative SEO and Link Removals: Interview with Virante's Jacob Bohall by

Mark is Director of Digital Outreach for Virante Inc. Mark helps businesses build strategies to increase brand influence and attract natural links and social signals. He has a special reputation as an expert on Google+ and Google Authorship. A former teacher, Mark has worked directly in Internet marketing since 2005, but has been involved in social media and online community formation since the mid 1990s. When not helping Virante clients improve their online presence, Mark participates in competitive storytelling, plays with a Dixieland street band, and (surprise) spends more time on the web.


  1. To comment on the should you remove no follow links I have to say yes. In a recent reconsideration request that got denied Google actually gave an example bad link that was no follow.

    So no follow / do follow doesn’t matter!

  2. Tim Whittingham says:

    I work at The Link Auditors. We conduct website link audits for SEO agencies for clients who have suffered Google Penalties or loss of rankings. We have a collection of online tools, designed in house, to make the process fully automated, quick and easy (You can self-service too!). One tool that is totally unique not available anywhere on the internet is our automated email tool. Once all of the unnatural links have been detected, this tool will automatically send out removal requests to each and every webmaster linking to your site making the link removal process, far quicker, easier and all done with just one click of a button.

    Our removal tool has one of the highest success rate, averaging at 75% which compared to Link Detox at 5-25%, is a lot higher. We have a team with over five years of experience always happy to take your questions and give you advice on what you need to do to clean up your backlink profile. Feel free to call us on +44 (0)208 123 9429 and one of our team will be happy to help.

  3. Nofollow / dofollow doesn’t matter much now that there are so many updates rolling. All that matters is the quality of the site from where you get the link, no matter if it’s nofollow.

  4. Hummingbird has increased the cost of SEO.
    For not go in spam, 50 different articles for 50 websites.
    Hi Rank Back Link……
    High costs for the copywriters, high costs for the submission.

    Adwords gains, much from click fraud.

  5. thankx for sharing help ful for me


  1. […] plays into the link removal and disavowal process necessary to recovering from a Penguin penalty. Penguin Link Removals and Negative SEOInterview with Jacob Bohall of Remove’em about dangers of negative SEO & links that lead […]

  2. […] By Mark Traphagen At Pubcon in Las Vegas last month, Search Engine Journal conducted a video interview with Jacob Bohall, Vice President for Marketing for Virante Inc, on the topics of negative seo and link removals for Penguin penalty recovery.  […]

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