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Are Backlinks from Article Sites Bad?

   
8:00 am on Mar 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



We have a small group of websites that have been hit by the minus 50 penalty from Google. We have since found out that a large group of article websites that are maintained by the same seo company have had about 80% of their sites whacked by the same minus 50 penalty.

I would estimate that 70% of the links to our whacked sites come from them.
I have flagged the issue to the seo company and they say that, yes, the sites have been penalised, but removing the links would be bad because they are still indexed, are still passing juice and only their ranking in the search listings have been penalised.
There are financial implications for them if we removed the links, so their judgment is skewed.
We have pulled all the links.
Was that the right call?
Any feedback would be great.
2:55 pm on Mar 26, 2011 (gmt 0)



Not the right move, I have exact same issue...Just wait for the next google update, you were caught in the network farm filter...Host your sites on unique Class Cs that should fix it soon, regarding the links, they can be devalued not cause penality that would make it to be a war killing competitors sites by sending a few backlinks here and there..

My advice, host the sites on unique Class Cs, have unique designs, layouts on each site, posts articles on different times, if you have a links page that you use to exchange links remove it...
3:16 pm on Mar 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member sgt_kickaxe is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member



Links from any location aren't bad but if they come from a non-related source or a link farm or a freshly downgraded article directory they may not do much good either.

As for removing them there is no need unless you were paying for them. If that's the case I would stop paying for them, or any link.

There is also no need to remove a links page if you have one. I can confirm that even topsites which are nothing but links are still doing well so long as they aren't paid.

Paid links are under fire, avoid them unless you're willing to risk site ranking. The choice is yours.
3:49 pm on Mar 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



There are financial implications for them if we removed the links, so their judgment is skewed.
We have pulled all the links.
Was that the right call?


It was the right call. They sound like paid links which have been devalued because G discovered their network.

Pulling them won't do you any harm at all. I'm pretty sure tedster posted an anecdote a while back, where one of his new clients had a load of paid links from various suppliers, and they pulled all of them on his recomendation (saving a bundle in monthly fees) and saw no decrease in SERPs at all, because G had long since zeroed the links and they weren't passing any juice at all.

You will need to get new links though and perhaps do some white hat promotion to get them
5:55 pm on Mar 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



A lot of people, including myself, have seen the -50 come with what seems to be a preset duration of 3 months, allowing you ample time to fix the problems. For me, it was exactly 3 months: Jan 11 to Apr 11 last year. If you found a connection (similar penalty) between your links and the link network, removing them was probably a good idea -- especially if they were new links.

[webmasterworld.com...]
6:24 pm on Mar 26, 2011 (gmt 0)



A lot of people, including myself, have seen the -50 come with what seems to be a preset duration of 3 months, allowing you ample time to fix the problems. For me, it was exactly 3 months: Jan 11 to Apr 11 last year. If you found a connection (similar penalty) between your links and the link network, removing them was probably a good idea -- especially if they were new links.


crobb, after 90 days it goes away no matter what or only if you have removed the bad incoming links?
6:50 pm on Mar 26, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



crobb, after 90 days it goes away no matter what or only if you have removed the bad incoming links?

It went away exactly 3 months to the date, but I made lots of changes in that 3 month period, and the deep crawl I received 36 hours prior to reinstatement could have been sniffing for changes. I really can't say for certain what caused the penalty, but since I rarely tweak my sites, I was able to isolate a handful of changes that I made over the 2009 holidays (the month prior to my penalty) and undo everything.

I documented some of the problems that I found with my site in the thread that I linked to above. Among those was a very odd occurrence of another domain name (with my content) being associated with my dedicated IP (reverse IP lookup showed both my domain and the other domain listed). I don't know how that happened, but I got a new dedicated IP and had the other domain shut down via DMCA. It seemed like some sort of hijack, but my host confirmed that the domain wasn't hosted by them and wasn't sharing my dedicated IP. That could have played a role, but I am not sure.

Also, about 3 to 4 months prior to the penalty, I got a wild hair and signed up for a text link firm and got 4 new links. I was nervous about doing that, and should have followed my gut instinct, and since I knew EXACTLY which links they were, I canceled them when the penalty hit. I still don't now if they were the culprit, considering that the penalty hit several months later. I have a hard time believing they would cause such a penalty because it means a competitor could easily take down a site. Nevertheless, those links were removed.

I reverted my homepage back to a copy from before I made tweaks (undoing all changes in the month leading up to the penalty). I also resolved numerous canonical issues that were being reported in WMT (that is when I set up canonicalization rules in htaccess).
5:12 pm on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Thanks for the feedback.
We are pretty sure we did the right thing.
It feels pretty nasty to get a punch, but maybe our business will benefit in the long run.
We are going clean and tidy from now on - it just isn't worth the gamble or the sickness in the pit of your gut when things wrong, to cut corners any more.
Pull a positive out of a negative.
 

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