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Warning against paid links in Webmaster Tools

     
2:16 am on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I found a SEO blogger in my country(Japan) who had received a message warning against unnatural links including paid links via Google Webmaster Tools as below:

Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links to URL

we've detected that some of your site's pages may be using techniques that are outside google 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 forum for support.

sincerely,

google search quality team


We know WMT warns against unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites:

But this time it warns against those on other site pointing to your sites. It must be new and mean they can detect sites buying links from other sites.
2:02 pm on July 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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it's true - it isn't new. We had this thread in supporters forum last dec and matt cutts confirmed it was true.
2:31 pm on July 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Interesting. Want to know how to knock out a competitor? Buy a few really cheap links, report them and voila!
6:39 pm on July 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

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@Brett

Are you mentioning this thread?
New Alert? "Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links." [webmasterworld.com]

If so, the alert I'm showing is not the same.


Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites that could be intended to manipulate PageRank.



specifically,look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank.


The former message was telling about outbound (paid) links from your site: it will mean you are selling links.
While the latter massage, which I'm showing, is telling about inbound (paid) links from other sites; it will mean you are buying links.
12:54 am on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm pretty sure google will have considered others might buy links for your site and their paid links detector will filter these out.

I'm thinking only sites that buy more and more links each month will be penalized to get around this - a one off link buy would not be enough to trip this up.
12:56 am on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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telling about inbound (paid) links from other sites; it will mean you are buying links.

More like ...

... it will mean [that someone is] buying links [pointing to your site].

That "someone" might be a competitor.
1:05 am on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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... it will mean [that someone is] buying links [pointing to your site].


If this takes off in WMT it provides an opportunity to communicate with Google and take action. Competitors probably don't want to invest heavily in ruining another site, with the risk of it backfiring. It's not difficult to find out who paid for those links and enforce remedies in theory.

Google has detected unatural links and link patterns for many years and penalised sites accordingly. Their difficulty has always been in fully automating it, often having to rely on hand reviews and spam reports probably on trophy term and traffic reports.

Any high trafficked, trophy term driven site, or network of sites is a target for flagging and review.

The fact that notifications are ramping up in WMT is a sign of Google becoming more confident about warning webmasters openly, and no doubt their detection methods are getting better. It's not difficult to work out the more obvious methods.

The day's of relying on paid links alone as a main game are long gone. One or two , maybe , but why bother if sustainability is important for your site.
5:21 am on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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it provides an opportunity to communicate with Google and take action


Google communicate? Is there an algo for that?
1:33 pm on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Ya, we've seen a couple different variations on the 'unnatural links' emails.
2:19 pm on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I like the word "encourage" in the original message!
3:29 pm on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Ya, we've seen a couple different variations on the 'unnatural links' emails.


Did the other ones include capital letters?
3:36 pm on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Did the other ones include capital letters?


I was wondering about that. The formatting of that email looks suspicious.

Added: After further review, it looks like the original email formatting was lost during the paraphrasing.
3:46 pm on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm thinking only sites that buy more and more links each month will be penalized to get around this - a one off link buy would not be enough to trip this up.


I'd think the same thing - and a whole lot more. I'm guessing that Google has detected enough patterns over the years to determine whether or not there is competitive sabotage at play.

It's time for the Link Demolition Team to step in.
6:46 pm on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm thinking only sites that buy more and more links each month will be penalized to get around this - a one off link buy would not be enough to trip this up.


for what it's worth, in the various black hat forums, they say that the best way to avoid being penalized is to buy link blasts on a regular bases.

They say that doing a one-off link blast is the most likely way to be penalized, since it will be so easy to spot.

Anyway, that's just what the black hatters say.
7:29 pm on July 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What others do can and does impact your site, regardless of what you've heard.

example: If you hotlink a competitors image onto a domain that has content which requires safe search to be off to see the image falls from the 'safe search moderate' setting to the 'safe search off' setting for BOTH sites. Regular visitors with the default safe search moderate setting will no longer see the image, regardless of what's on it.

I don't know how long that change lasts or if Google does further investigation, but it does knock the image out of the default results completely, still.

I refuse to turn off hotlink protection off because of that.
12:11 am on July 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hmn on no vetting caught by constantly buying lInks I don't agree. I think bought links quickly devalue so if you go this path you need to constantly buy - it's not so much the one off link blast is spotted - it's just devalued very fast.
3:15 am on July 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

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"Interesting. Want to know how to knock out a competitor? Buy a few really cheap links, report them and voila!"

Pretty expensive investment for the competitor if the website spots it, and then does a reinclusion request and the value of those links are wiped.
 

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