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Matt Cutts Explains Change to Unnatural Link Warnings
goodroi




msg:4477628
 9:27 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

Matt Cutts posted about the latest round of unnatural warnings that were sent out yesterday.
[plus.google.com ]

If you received a message yesterday about unnatural links to your site, donít panic. In the past, these messages were sent when we took action on a site as a whole. Yesterday, we took another step towards more transparency and began sending messages when we distrust some individual links to a site. While itís possible for this to indicate potential spammy activity by the site, it can also have innocent reasons...


I would not be surprised if Google further expands the notification process in a few more months. Matt Cutts announcement is a good reason why webmasters should think twice when they are notified and think through their changes before implementing them.

 

crobb305




msg:4478408
 1:18 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)


However, we do realize that some links are outside of your control. As a result, for this specific incident we are taking very targeted action on the unnatural links instead of your site as a whole.

If I am reading this correctly - Google will simply discount the links, instead of penalizing your website. God, I hope I am reading this correctly :)

This is also how I read it; however, what about entire sites that seem to have been previously penalized (subsequent to Penguin 1.0, the site doesn't rank #1 for its own name and is supplemental for snippets of content)? Maybe the next Penguin refresh will reduce the severity of the penalty, particularly for the site owners who have done some link cleanup. We are going on 2 months since the last Penguin refresh.

I am just returning from a 10 day vacation (needed to get away from the computer), so just catching up on all the news in WebmasterWorld. I am trying not to ask redundant questions. It still sounds like a big mess with these link messages.

[edited by: crobb305 at 1:36 pm (utc) on Jul 24, 2012]

Wilburforce




msg:4478410
 1:25 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I for one take it to mean that they are not taking action against the linked-to site


What action does "instead of your site as a whole" distinguish, if it is not action against part of your site?

We are only debating it at all because of Google's (in my view deliberate) lack of clarity.

n00b1




msg:4478411
 1:27 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I mentioned the alternative distinction in my previous post.

Wilburforce




msg:4478447
 3:55 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I mentioned the alternative distinction in my previous post.


I think you misunderstand me. "As a whole" distinguishes the whole from its parts. I do not think Google are being careless with that distinction, and although they are being vague about what "very targeted action" entails, I am certain it doesn't mean "ignore these links".

n00b1




msg:4478456
 4:19 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I know exactly what you are getting at but I think you are perhaps over-analysing and coming to the wrong conclusion. It sounds very much like they are trying to distinguish that message from every other message you get in a similar vein - including the alternative version of that very message as sent a couple of days ago. Whenever Google has sent such notifications in the past it has involved something that would affect the site 'as a whole' and the way I see it they are simply stating as fact that that isn't the case this time. That doesn't automatically imply that it is targetting part of the site instead.

indyank




msg:4478463
 4:46 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

n00b1,

"Manual action" (renamed from "Penalty") was on the site as a whole.
"Targeted action" introduced with this recent message is a variation that affects the specific pages but I still believe it to be a penalty and not just "ignore".

IMO, Google were always ignoring certain types of links even prior to the release of the Google animals but they have definitely introduced a penalizing element, for the same type of links, with the Google animals. However, what the animals do are all automated stuff, seeded by input from the "Google quality" army.

n00b1




msg:4478471
 5:09 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Well in my case I am fairly sure the links they were taking this targeted action on had been removed as per the successful reconsideration request I just go a reply for. The manual action revoked message came after the original version of this new message. So that would be stupid - give a manual all clear then to take specific action on my site. If it is part of it, the part of it would be the homepage. And I don't doubt Google have been ignoring links but if this is about greater transparency, shouldn't 'panic webmasters', doesn't have a little yellow symbol and includes a statement about knowing things could be beyond your control then I am not convinced it involves a penslty.

n00b1




msg:4478500
 6:53 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Sorry for the terrible spelling. Trying to use Google Android and it is penalising me ;)

Fiendix




msg:4478504
 7:14 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

hi noob1 - this is what I got:

The message you received is regarding the same issue and was sent because there is still the manual action we had previously discussed.

Please reference earlier recommendations on a successful reconsideration request.

this would seem that the messages are sent only if the action is still in effect... that said I got the same message twice so...

n00b1




msg:4478509
 8:01 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

@Fiendix

When you say you got the same message twice do you mean the one titled "Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links" or "Unnatural inbound links" (one is the original with yellow sign the other is the new one).

Either way that's interesting. Technically I did receive the original message when the manual action was still in effect. The recent one which is new (regarding targetted action) was resent to clarify the original message and was seperate from the 'manual spam action revoked' message which was in response to the successful reconsideration request (and came later than the original message that was then resent/reclarified). I think I will wait rather than send another reconsideration request. I have seen my traffic pick up already although my rankings haven't returned for keywords. I am seeing new content rank very well though so I am hoping this will filter through to the rest of my site when the 'ranking systems are updated'.

Fiendix




msg:4478517
 8:24 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I got the Unnatural inbound links - for 1 site x2 in the same "second"

on another site (1) I got 4 messages in the same "second"

http://www(.)domainname.pl/: Unnatural inbound links
http://domainname.pl/: Unnatural inbound links

http://www(.)domainname.pl/: Unnatural inbound links
http://domainname.pl/: Unnatural inbound links

Seems that they are treating domains differently. Plus my first thought was that the duplicate was a mistake - but if others didn't get it......

[edited by: tedster at 8:49 pm (utc) on Jul 24, 2012]
[edit reason] override the automatic linking [/edit]

g1smd




msg:4478533
 8:59 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, www and non-www are treated at least partially separately. You need to register both in WMT.

The incoming links, internal links, crawl stats and crawl errors reports are each separate for www and non-www.

Fiendix




msg:4478540
 9:15 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

you are quite wrong (in a way) about the "need to register both" bit - I only "registered" with G. www.domain.pl not the domain.pl though in the overview I have both messages. When I enter the www.domian.pl I get 2 messages instead of the expected 4.

I of course cant enter the domain.pl without the www as i havent "registered" it. Or maybe there is another reason for that....

nsauser




msg:4478547
 9:23 pm on Jul 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't see how the 'new' messages clear much up. It's more FUD to keep the SEO community guessing.

indyank




msg:4478630
 3:01 am on Jul 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Yes, www and non-www are treated at least partially separately. You need to register both in WMT.


g1smd, you are right that google treats them separately but Google notifies you to register them separately only when you choose a preferred domain in WMT settings. If you choose the "Don't set a preferred domain" option, you aren't notified.

But why does google continue to treat them as separate entities even when you 301 redirect one to the other?

seoN00B




msg:4478648
 4:26 am on Jul 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Even i dont have a warning i was penalized by adding two sitewide (blogroll) links recently.

Last week i was on #2 & #4 on the two keywords. Now they are on the 10th page.

Wew.

tedster




msg:4478650
 4:48 am on Jul 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

How did you establish that those two blogroll links were the cause of your lost rankings? Also, were they honest or did you take some kind of compensation for them?

seoN00B




msg:4478672
 6:23 am on Jul 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

@tedster Because thats the only thing i did in the last 3 weeks. Those two links on the blogroll were not paid. But they have the same anchor text.

I will just remove these and let see if Google will retain my rank.

g1smd




msg:4478677
 7:06 am on Jul 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google notifies you to register them separately only when you choose a preferred domain in WMT settings.

In that case you have to register both because Google needs to verify ownership of both.

In other cases it's optional to register both, but it is a very good idea to do so. You need to know what is happening with both sets of URLs as far as (at least) crawling (both rate and errors) and incoming links (numbers and from where) are concerned.

But why does google continue to treat them as separate entities even when you 301 redirect one to the other?

You get separate reports because a request for example.com/page is not the same as a request for www.example.com/page

You get separate crawl stats and crawl errors reports for www and for non-www, and you should see that the crawl rate for one is almost zero.

You get separate incoming links reports for www and non-www. You do want to know how many links point at the canonical version and how many are passing through your canonical hostname redirect.

You're working blind without this data. It's vital that it is listed separately.

Perren




msg:4479011
 9:57 am on Jul 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you've gotten both "Unnatural inbound links = Very targeted action on the unnatural links" and March message "notice of detected unnatural links", which one should I follow? The first one is "no panic" according to Matt but the other one from March 2012 should be looked up according to his other statements.

twiglet




msg:4479098
 2:30 pm on Jul 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

@indyank
g1smd, you are right that google treats them separately but Google notifies you to register them separately only when you choose a preferred domain in WMT settings


what about a site that is using a mix of www.mysite.pl pages but also many subdomains eg widget.mysite.pl? Is there a problem for widget.mysite.pl if i register both www and non www versions and set www as the preferred domain?

indyank




msg:4479130
 3:56 pm on Jul 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

what about a site that is using a mix of www.mysite.pl pages but also many subdomains eg widget.mysite.pl? Is there a problem for widget.mysite.pl if i register both www and non www versions and set www as the preferred domain?


nope, that should not be an issue.

Chuck Finley




msg:4479152
 5:28 pm on Jul 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

Google is now sending notices to webmasters to tell them that unnatural links to their site are not being counted.

Here's the notice (after Google adjusted for webmaster complaints) --

We've detected that some of the links pointing to your site are using techniques outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines. We don't want to put any trust in links that are artificial or unnatural. We recommend removing any unnatural links to your site. However, we do realize that some links are outside of your control. As a result, for this specific incident we are taking very targeted action on the unnatural links instead of your site as a whole. If you are able to remove any of the links, please submit a reconsideration request, including the actions that you took. If you have any questions, please visit our Webmaster Help Forum.

I think Google has taken a beating in The Court of Public Relations (especially after Bing beat them to market with a link disavow tool) and they don't want Bing to use it to get a jump on them. What do you think?

Do you think this means that Google will withdraw the 4 month old unnatural link notices that they have done nothing about (no penalty, no response to Requests for Reconsideration, no nothing)?

It doesn't make any sense to send notices telling webmasters that links have been disallowed and that G's actions only affect those specific links and then let 700K to 1 million webmasters from previous notices twist in the wind trying to figure out how to remove links that can't be removed.

Of course, the company's PR and Branding Strategy doesn't make any sense at all. They will pay for it in the long run. When a competitor comes up with the next thing, and they will, G will find out they don't have any friends.

g1smd




msg:4479282
 11:54 pm on Jul 26, 2012 (gmt 0)

what about a site that is using a mix of www.mysite.pl pages but also many subdomains e.g. widget.mysite.pl?

You should register
example.pl and www.widget.example.pl and check what is being requested.
scooterdude




msg:4479289
 12:24 am on Jul 27, 2012 (gmt 0)

Should I feel left out, no warnings of any kind, but no rankings either

haven't looked for links or submitted to even directories for more than a year or two

Actually, i have a situation where a number of sites of mine appear to rank normally( for their age, niche, link) for about a month then traffic disappears tp zero for a day or two, then resumes at 1/10 of the so called "normal", sites are very low tbpr , zero's and ones and I am wondering whether this is the norm for low tbpr sites now , or the mark of ongoing penalisation.

[ NOTE: Matt has now made a new blog post with a bit
more clarification. See [webmasterworld.com...] ]

[edited by: tedster at 1:44 pm (utc) on Jul 28, 2012]

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