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Matt Cutts Explains Change to Unnatural Link Warnings

     

goodroi

9:27 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Matt Cutts posted about the latest round of unnatural warnings that were sent out yesterday.
[plus.google.com ]

If you received a message yesterday about unnatural links to your site, donít panic. In the past, these messages were sent when we took action on a site as a whole. Yesterday, we took another step towards more transparency and began sending messages when we distrust some individual links to a site. While itís possible for this to indicate potential spammy activity by the site, it can also have innocent reasons...


I would not be surprised if Google further expands the notification process in a few more months. Matt Cutts announcement is a good reason why webmasters should think twice when they are notified and think through their changes before implementing them.

tedster

9:40 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm happy to see this clarification - but I wish it had been in the actual message. I'm sure that many affected webmasters are not watching Matt Cutts on Google+ and overreactions are quite likely.

netmeg

10:04 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Note my comment on that post. They need different messages in GWT. This is beyond ridiculous.

Simsi

10:25 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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FFS. I've spent the whole day creating a detailed spreadsheet, analysing backlinks and anchor text trying to work out why one of the sites I manage got this message :-(

On the bright side, thanks Goodroi for saving me another week of my life :-)

Robert Charlton

10:54 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Note my comment on that post. They need different messages in GWT. This is beyond ridiculous.

I agree... but I also believe that they're making best use (from their point of view) of the FUD already created. Likely a further attempt to get some dark gray links surfaced. See...

Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt - Why Google Penalises Paid Links
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4462475.htm [webmasterworld.com]

aristotle

10:58 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm still confused about this whole subject. Two of my sites were hit by Penguin, but I haven't gotten any messages of any kind. As for the Above "clarification", does it mean that Google sends the same message for two rather different situations?

g1smd

11:11 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The scummier end of the SEO-continuum now has several new sub-divisions:
- write to a site asking for link removal and they want a fee to alter the page, and
- scummy sites actively link out to normal sites and then send emails asking for money to remove the links.

nsauser

11:29 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)



aristotle, I had the same thing happen to a site. I was confused because we hadn't received any type of notice before (until today!) and there had been some suspect link building done before I got here. We were hit by Penguin because some of the sites where we had links were de-indexed so I think we were one level removed from the communication. At least that's the best I can gather.

johnhh

11:42 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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yawn .. stop dancing to Google's tune

seoskunk

11:43 pm on Jul 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The scummier end of the SEO-continuum now has several new sub-divisions:
- write to a site asking for link removal and they want a fee to alter the page, and
- scummy sites actively link out to normal sites and then send emails asking for money to remove the links.


I heard of a service offering to delete links for a fee from directory sites today. The sooner disavow is up and running in webmastertools the better

netmeg

3:15 am on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Matt now says they'll work on different messages.

idolw

6:23 am on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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they shouuld either stop this communicationin or stop showing organics. Only ads getting clicks is their ultimate goal anyway.

Whitey

8:59 am on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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scummy sites actively link out to normal sites and then send emails asking for money to remove the links.

Great - now a new industry is created. I bet internet mafia will have a ball with their form of FUD to gouge $$'s.

At least webmasters will be busily engaged with the upcoming disavow tool.

zeus

9:16 am on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This sounds a lot like a scare note to me, so webmasters how maybe have bought ok links also changes thinks, as example.

Rasputin

9:42 am on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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So if I didn't receive these messages does that mean they haven't found ANY suspicious links to my sites?

I don't buy links but there are certainly sites linking to us that look 'poor quality' e.g. sitewide from largely irrelevant sites, directory submissions and article submissions from several years ago etc.

zeus

10:09 am on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I dont see how a webmaster should have time to look at all links to sites, I will sure not waist my time, its googles job to ignore pore links not ours.

Str82u

11:26 am on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)



I've never gotten the warning from WMT though there are several garbage directories and duplicate content sites with thousands of links to us, some that appear to be targeting several competitors (because certain sites are suspiciously not present). My assumption is that Google recognizes those garbages sites and recognizes that other sites may be using our RSS feeds as filler on every single page of their 10,000 page product catalogs.

zehrila

12:42 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



no warnings, but still got dinged!

atlrus

1:10 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Saw this thread and I immediately knew that my most popular site must have gotten the message. So I logged in and there it is:

"Dear site owner or webmaster of MyWebsite,

We've detected that some of your site's pages may be using techniques that are outside Google's 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 "


What a pile of dong! I think Google is just plain insane to think I would waste my time with this type of bull...

zeus

1:52 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



atlrus - yep if they launch a new algo, then it must be automatic, not like Panda or now this message to some webmasters. If I get such a notice I will also ignore it, be cause sometimes they sent this message out just when they are unsure, so when you reply, thats bad for you and a re inclusion is always the last thing you should do.

SnowMan68

1:53 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)



FUD, sure seems like that was their plan at least.

SnowMan68

1:58 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)



I heard they sent out two batches of these emails. I wonder what the total count was?

netmeg

2:45 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I wouldn't ignore them. They just need to be clearer on whether action is necessary.

SnowMan68

2:52 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)



Definitely don't ignore it. If you have stuff you know you can clean up, you should do your best to do that.

atlrus

4:07 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Definitely don't ignore it. If you have stuff you know you can clean up, you should do your best to do that.


Somehow I don't seem to be able to find the time to go through 1/2 million backlinks just to make Google feel better...Not to mention that Google is quite stubborn on not allowing me to view those links, yet complains about them.

Sorry Google, next time you could simply let me know which URLs you found suspicious so I could look into it, lol.

Of course I have bad links, what big site doesn't?!? I got a ton of bad links just from our website being listed on DMOZ alone. Back then paid directories were using DMOZ as a template so I got 100K+ links from such websites pretty much overnight. That was back when you can see your backlinks on Yahoo. I can only imagine how many of them are still in existence.

And recently I've been getting a ton of bad links, thanks to the "xrumer pyramids" and our forum.

Add to this the ton of scrapers who don't even bother to change the internal links within our articles and you have yourself an enormous mess. I wouldn't be surprised if 1/3 of the 500K backlinks I have to this website are utter garbage, probably even more.

Of course there is nothing I can do - this is how the web works these days. Google needs to pull its head out of its rear and deal with it. Sending me a message full of "may be", "possibly" and "could be" is not helping anyone.

tedster

4:29 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Remember that if you aren't seeing any traffic loss, then you don't need to do anything. Unless you KNOW what you can and should clean up, then any reaction at all is a waste of time and energy - and it might even be destructive.

brinked

9:49 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



when I saw this the word FUD came to mind right away. I am glad to see RC already pointed that out.

This is google saying: "we may or may not have discovered some un-natural links in your profile, and we may or may not have hurt your site in the rankings, but feel free to go ahead and start second guessing yourself even more."

SnowMan68

10:43 pm on Jul 21, 2012 (gmt 0)



Unless you KNOW what you can and should clean up


Way to emphasize the KNOW, that's exactly what I meant. I don't think you need to go through all of your links unless you get hit with a penalty. It just seems like this was a warning for some. I definitely think it has some FUD to it as well, considering the amount of notifications that went out. But...if you have links that you can control, know isn't benefiting your site and could potentially harm it in the long run....I suggest removing it sooner than later. Otherwise, I would go on with your business as usual.

synthese

8:35 pm on Jul 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



if you have links that you can control, know isn't benefiting your site and could potentially harm it in the long run....I suggest removing it sooner than later


Sure that makes sense. But I just got one of these messages... on a site that I haven't chased a link in years (maybe 4 years). However the site was hacked a few months ago and for a few days it was having an iframe injected into the homepage. Maybe that has something to do with the email?

tedster

9:25 pm on Jul 22, 2012 (gmt 0)

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



Yes - it sure might. Often a hacked page then gets backlinks from the hacker, trying to drive visits to the hacked page. I've seen that more with parasite links than I have with iframe injections but either way it makes more "business" for the scum that did the hacking.
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