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[edited by: tedster at 3:53 am (utc) on May 7, 2012]
Many times, getting a link removed from a webmaster can be as difficult, if not more difficult, then getting the link in the first place. The key to this process is persistence and communication with Google. Sometimes, the best you can do is send a list of the links you are trying to remove, and ask Google to discount them. Showing an effort to Google is always a good plan of action. When removing links, don’t expect to return to your pre-penalty rankings. You must replace the spammy links that were detected with quality links, which can sometimes be a lengthy process. Link pruning should be considered every month. Ask yourself: What is the bottom 5 percent of links that I have in terms of quality? How can I remove these and replace them with quality links?
Link Pruning is the Key to Addressing Penguin [stonetemple.com]
It appears that in some cases Google has been overzealous, hitting (temporarily) even websites with rather natural link profiles. In other cases, Google admitted algorithmic classification mistakes, publishing apologetic messages like this one Matt Cutts posted on Google+.
According to Patrick Altoft (branded3) the sites that have received unnatural links notifications fall under five main categories, and they are not just the ones participating in link exchanges or other types of link networks.
How To Survive Google's Unnatural Links Warnings [seomoz.org]
Your titles need to be authentic. They need to sound real. They need to sound like a human being wrote them that was not intending necessarily simply to rank for phrase after phrase.
Bad: It sounds like all you're trying to do is rank for keywords, especially if this is your home page or those kinds of things. Think about whether a normal human being would read that title and think, oh yeah, that sounds legitimate.
6 Changes Every SEO Should Make BEFORE the Over-Optimization Penalty Hits [seomoz.org]
Step 1 – Collecting the data
Step 2 – Filtering/Sorting
Step 3 – Link Classification
Step 4 – Link Removal Process
Cleaning your links: A step-by-step guide [branded3.com]
every single site we looked at which got negatively hit by the Penguin Update had a “money keyword” as its anchor text for over 60% of its incoming links.
What we know:
* Aggressive exact-match anchor text
* Overuse of exact-match domains
* Low-quality article marketing & blog spam
* Keyword stuffing in internal/outbound links
7. Majestic -Unnatural Links Investigations
* Investigation 1: Finding those Site Wide Links.
* Investigation 2: Seek out over-hyped anchor text
* Investigation 3: Finding the ONE BAD 301
* Investigation 4: Finding Link Networks that leave no on-page footprint
* Investigation 5: finding your poorest back-links
The problem is if they do beat the bushes enough and scare people into giving their data, then they could have enough to footprint a lot of link building activities which could impact the rest of the industry in the future.
It's hard for me to think of a more tedious, time-consuming, and likely unproductive task.
...but that's not what they're going for - they're trying to discourage the behavior.
like that ever works
If you can just replace 'bad' links with 'good' links...
In a word, yes - it "could". Have you received a WMT warning about tjpe backlinks?
[edited by: gouri at 3:19 pm (utc) on May 8, 2012]
I think its pretty clear that there is only one reason for having forum signature links, surely?
[edited by: indyank at 4:55 pm (utc) on May 8, 2012]
When I was a spotty faced teenager, I was involved with running a message board. I was pretty pleased with the board, and had a sig link pointing to it anywhere I could put one. Emails, online profiles, the works.
It was before Google, and had nothing to do with gaming search engines.
As long as you don't use a keyword as anchor text and was using the site name, it should be clear that it is not for SEO. It is more an exercise done to promote your site or brand and should be fine. The same benefit might not be given if you have a keyword based domain name. Penguin does seem to differentiate this.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 5:42 am (utc) on May 9, 2012]
[edit reason] disabled forum auto-link to delink example domains [/edit]
Think *natural* links. The word natural appears to be pretty important here.
If you have not lost positioning, it is best to further brand yourself and send signals that you are a real company, while removing poor links.
I am not sure if you are saying that with Penguin, if you have keywords in your domain name, would it be okay to have the domain name (e.g. [buildmetalwidgets.tld)...] or site name included in your signature or not?
If Google really wanted to know which links were bad, or that you don't want, or that you think have been pointed at you to game your position as compared to your competitors, they'd just include a "Disregard Backlink" button next to the links showing in WMT's.