Can I flag spammy links to my site that I didn’t create?

Can I flag spammy links to my site that I didn’t create? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

We have a quick question today from Lawrence in London, who asks, “Is there a process through which a site owner can flag spammy links being built to their site by third parties? By a competitor, for example? How do you protect against sites being penalized for bad links which they have not built?” So just to go back in time and give a little bit of context on this. We used to have, in our webmaster guidelines, something like, It is impossible for a competitor to hurt you. And then if you look at the history of, for example,, people would even send in a fax, and pretend to be the domain owner, and get the domain from someone else, and then use it for their own nefarious purposes. So you know, it’s possible for competitors to pretend to be competitors. So we went ahead and removed the language that’s it’s impossible for a competitor to hurt another competitor, and we replaced it with language along the lines of, it’s very hard, or we try very hard to make sure that one competitor can’t hurt another competitor. And that’s still the case. Whenever we write an algorithm, for example, that looks at incoming links, we do think about, OK. What if a competitor tried to hurt someone else? And we try to put in code to make sure that that is not easy to do, that it’s not the case that someone can easily hurt someone else. So as a result, we haven’t really felt the need to add a feature in webmaster console, in our webmaster tools, to say, hey, here’s my site, and I have, you know, a bunch of links coming in from a porn site, or that a competitor made, that are low-quality. We haven’t really provided a way to say, you know, don’t trust these links. It’s something that, in theory, we could do, maybe we’ll do down the road. We do hear the request every so often, from time to time. So we’ll take that into account. But at least for the time being, we don’t offer that as a feature.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


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