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Hi I've got a bit of a problem that I hope someone can help me with.

Background

Someone hired a freelancer on our team of SEO consultants ("specialists") During the course a month he (the consultant) submitted our website to numerous link directories (he assured me this is good), today I received the report of the work he had been doing for the past 4-weeks. I opened the report and I was furious and wanted to sack him there and then

The Problem / My Question

He had submitted our website to 150 directories with various levels of page rank, ranging from 7-1. Most of the directories are totally irrelevant to our niche (we are in the catering business) and he had gone and submitted the site to directories such as "finance busters", "questfinder" etc

For all 150 submissions he used:

  • exactly the same url
  • exactly the same title
  • exactly the same description
  • exactly the same keywords

My Concern

Am I right to be worried about this? Or am I completely wrong and may this actually have an effect (even if none)?

The way I see it is that Google is seeing 150 duplicate links coming from irrelevant directories all within a months time, which will trigger a red flag and possibly do major damage to my site, which has always been strictly white hat and been doing pretty well.

p.s does link directory submissions even count these days anyway?

Thanks for reading and advice very much welcome

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Fire your SEO! It is clear that they have not a clue!! All they have done is read the wrong websites and then sold themselves as an expert. In fact, I would seeking damages personally. But that is up to you. Any professional should have done their research, formulated a plan, and then gotten sign-off on the plan before going absolutely ape-5h17.

Submitting to directories is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Google will not like all the directory submissions. It may appear that you are spamming for rank. It was poor advice when it was given years ago.

I am not sure how much trouble you will be in right away. You may be okay for a while and will have the time to correct the problem. The good news is this, (sarcasm) they made sure that Panda 4.2 was not an issue. Get the information you need for each directory submission immediately; the URLs (all of them), any usernames and passwords, and whatever else you need to try and rectify the problem.

The good news is this. Some directories may not take the submission seriously.

See what entries you can modify that would be appropriate. There may be some real opportunity that should remain.

Then see if you can remove the remaining. This is a bit of work. You may actually have to write letters, send e-mail, make phone calls, etc. If you cannot get a link removed that should be, it does not cost much to get an attorney to write a letter and this usually works a treat!

Where you cannot get a link removed at all, you may want to consider using Google Search Console (application previously know as Webmaster Tools) to disavow any link that proves to be bad. But do not do this automatically. Make sure this is a last resort action. In fact, generally I recommend not doing this, but in this case, it may be wise. Think about long and hard before taking this step.

The other good news is this. We are here for you.

We have some real experts here. This site enjoys special interest on the net. Really! (We actually enjoy a powerful secret ally that keeps us straight.) And we are free. Whoo hoo!! Can't beat that! Ask as many questions as you want. We will jump in and do what we can to help. Of all the SE sites, this is about the friendliest and nicest. It is something about webmasters that I have yet to understand. I like them. It is why I am here.

The last thing you may want to consider is actually hiring a real SEO company after you have done your work. Sorry. But this is one case where it can be wise. But that should be the absolute last option after seeing what you can do on your own.

Final word: I am sorry this happened. Let us help you get it straight again.

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    Firstly to quote "Of all the SE sites, this is about the friendliest and nicest" that definitely does seem true judging, from your answer above and some other posts. Its awesome to be part of such a nice community, and I will do my best to also give back. Secondly thank you very much for taking the time to type up such a detailed answer for me. Very much appreciated. – Marilee Sep 18 '15 at 15:05
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    StackOverflow has some real aholes – Marilee Sep 18 '15 at 15:06
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    @Marilee It is okay to disavow a link, however, you definitely want to see what links can be removed and what links do not actually harm your site. I would venture to guess that these links when taken one by one are not bad except where they are not topically correct. Most links have value. It is rare that any link would be toxic. Disavow is intended to be used sparingly and as a last resort and not as a general rule. I recommend doing what you can first, evaluating what is left, and only disavowing what is bad. BTW- I found some SE/SO sites to be rather juvenile with a-h0135 as you say. ;-) – closetnoc Sep 18 '15 at 15:21
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    Most of those directories will have a 'fee to remove' and well if you paid someone to create them then you should 'pay to remove' them. Using the disavow tool is kinda admitting you done something wrong and should be avoided at all costs. – Simon Hayter Sep 18 '15 at 17:05
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    @SimonHayter Personally, I don't. Only one was intolerable enough for me to stay away. Bad people do bad things because they can. If they cannot, then they go away. It is just a matter of gentle correction to what is acceptable behavior or pinging the snot out of them till they go elsewhere. I always liked webmasters before coming here. Programmers, DBAs, and the like are fantastic people too, but grandiose narcissistic personalities do over-shadow a great community sometimes and raise my blood-pressure. Of course, I am not one of them, I am perfect! ;-) [insert cough/hack/bs here] – closetnoc Sep 18 '15 at 21:04

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