FLKeysPaul - 6:30 pm on May 17, 2013 (gmt 0) [edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:06 pm (utc) on May 17, 2013]
I got one of these last night in webmaster tools. The message is:
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 unnatural or artificial, and we recommend removing any unnatural links to your site. However, we do realize that some links may be outside of your control. As a result, for this specific incident we are taking very targeted action to reduce trust in the unnatural links. If you are able to remove any of the links, you can submit a reconsideration request, including the actions that you took. If you have any questions, please visit our Webmaster Help Forum.
What is sort of scary about this notification is that there is a tiny difference between this one and the template that was used last July when so many people got them. Gone are the words "....instead of your site as a whole" at the end of the sentence "we are taking very targeted action to reduce trust in the unnatural links."
Has anyone else gotten one of these recently? I know that when this whole thing happened to so many thousands of webmasters back in July there was a huge amount of chatter about this and some back and forth with Matt Cutts from which it seems like there were going to be sort of two sorts of unnatural link notifications moving forward, the old one that had been used, accompanied the yellow highlighted (!) in Webmaster Tools, which was severe and was sitewide -- maybe armageddon -- and then this second one which was more of a slap on the wrist and an indication that it's not sitewide but just a limited ding on a specific set of links.
I'm not so sure about this one that i got....anyone have any ideas?
I should note that my traffic dropped about 20% with the thing that happened on May 9. A good buddy of mine who is an experienced SEO thinks that whatever damage was going to happen from this has already happened, and that that this notice is kind of like getting a citation in the mail after the fact. But I worry that there could be more damage to come if I don't handle this thing properly....
I should also note that I have been link pruning like crazy over the past couple months and have gotten a large number of spammy links taken down by the sites that pointed them at me, and at the end I did a big batch link disavow a little over a week ago. I wonder if this notification has someting to do with that?
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[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:06 pm (utc) on May 17, 2013]