econman - 10:05 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0)
penalising sites for having links pointed at them
Aside from the wording of these sorts of warning messages from Google, do we have any hard evidence that "unnatural" links are being penalized, or causing a site to drop below the level in the SERPS where it would be absent those "unnatural" links?
I wouldn't be surprised if Google is getting better at detecting what it considers to be "unnatural" links, and I would expect Google to treat those links as if they didn't exist.
If they are detecting (and therefore ignoring) an ever-increasing fraction of all "unnatural" links, (say, moving from 20% to 30%), this progress would explain some of the downward movement in the SERPs reported by some members.
If they are still failing to detect, and therefore unable to ignore a significant fraction of the "unnatural" links (say, the other 70%) this would explain why some members are still seeing competitors thriving off of "unnatural" links.
The fact that these messages are so deliberately vague is consistent with the theory that they are still unable to detect a large fraction of all "unnatural" links, and therefore they can't tell you about the ones they have detected (because the types of links that are NOT listed in the warning messages would be obvious to the folks building the unnatural links).