What does Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links mean?

Recently there has been a flurry of people reporting they have been hit with a Webmaster tools penalty that focus’ on the backlinks coming into the site – as this coincides with the most recent update to the Google Panda update (Panda 3.3) I’m assuming it’s part of this update.

Google’s Panda updates exist outside Google’s normal algorithm changes, they are run regularly to tidy up the rankings and the aim of them is to hunt out wrong doers and penalise them for their wrong doings.

Google webmaster tools notice of detected unnatural links

Recently in my webmaster tools account I found 2 sites that have a warning, which says:

Dear site owner or webmaster of [[WEBSITE]],

We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.

If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.

If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forumfor support.

Sincerely,

Google Search Quality Team

I’m guessing that everyone that owns a website has tried something or another at some point to get some movement in the rankings, many people can expect some punishment for their Google webmaster tools violations. The interesting thing about this is one of the websites in question has had no links whatsoever built to it, other than the links built to it from my own websites either announcing its launch or adding it to a page with links to my other websites.

So we can safely assume that this update isn’t just about the kind of link building that you wouldn’t scream and shout about, I’ve not mentioned the second site that got the warning because that ones been around for years and I’ve probably tried things on that one over the years that I wouldn’t try on a client site – largely just to see what would happen. Fortunately, I have tried to mitigate this recently by cleaning up the links that aren’t great quality but obviously I’ve missed some. I’m guessing that there are loads of websites out there that will be in a similar position to me on this.

How to deal with Webmaster Tools Notice of Unnatural Links

There’s going to be different scenarios for everyone – I’m assuming that in this situation I’m going to be able to add nofollow links to all the links to my other sites on those sites and I’m hoping this will in turn deal with the issue.

I’ll keep you posted on that one with an update as and when things go in the right direction.

I can’t help thinking that if I don’t deal with it soon the rankings although not affected now will begin just start dropping and dropping fast!

Friends websites reporting the same notice

So that’s my own websites, I’ve also been contacted by a friend that’s got a similar notice and who hasn’t had any SEO work carried out on the site, I am digging through their links and they’ve been picked up by a lot of relevant domains but also by a lot of those domains that rank your domain (I think some people call these meta links?). I’m not sure if this is what’s causing the issue and also not really sure how you pick out of the 10,000s of links this website has which few Google must be considering to be bad.

So to get round this I am going to propose they carry out some online PR and become more active on forums (with signature links), my thoughts being if it’s impossible to determine which links are causing the problems by creating more really good quality links, we should be able to outweigh the effects of the poor quality links (of course this depends how many of the 10,000s of links are of poor quality and it also assumes there is a ratio where a bad link can be outweighed by a good one and I’m not 100% sure this is the case).

To conclude it’s an interesting time in the world of search marketing at the moment, however hopefully the Google webmaster tools notice of detected unnatural links will serve to help us improve the state of the spam out there on the internet. I’m also confident that Google will take a look at the sites that are producing good quality content time and time again and look favourably on them when compared to websites that aren’t producing great content.

So if you’ve got some spammy links that either you, your old SEO or some unscrupulous competitor has built to your website make sure you let Google know and keep producing great content to overcome these little set backs. I’d also guess that if you’ve been hit in Google one of the places you should focus your efforts on is Google+ as Google needs more and more users that are actually adding content to their social network and I can’t see them hitting hard the people that are using this medium whilst it’s still getting going – I could be completely wrong here but I’ve got a feeling I’m not!

2 Comments

  • Frank says:

    So the key to high rankings now is just to submit your competitors’ sites to the shady link schemes and watch them drop like flies.

  • simon says:

    I think there is certainly the possibility of people being able to do that – I’ve got feeling that Google is now going after the private blog networks that are out there, having targeted all the major article marketing and content spinning sites.

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