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Reconsideration Request Reply - Unnatural Linking. Manual Penalty?



3:24 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

My site was hit BIG time by Panda in April 2011. I have since worked - and I mean actually worked on my site.... I'm not just blah blah-ing that I worked on it. I did a format change, redesign, was merciless with any content I didn't feel was superior - it was removed, beefed up or combined with another article. (I write all my own content - and have for 13 years).

Prior to Panda I ranked very well across the board.

I was hanging on even after being hit - but last week of September I was hit again. Now it's..... bad. Uber, super bad.

I sent in a reconsideration request because I was just dumbfounded. I went over all I had done.

Google comes back with "unnatural linking" issue.

So does this mean there IS a manual penalty against my site. That's all that is keeping me from ranking? And I thought Panda was about content - not backlinks?

I'm just confused.
I looked at my backlink profile. There are 68,000 backlinks and yes - some look pretty spammy... crap directories (that want me to pay $25 a category to have my link removed!). But a 13 year old site is going to have some crap backlinks.

So I'm wondering... what should be my plan of action? Just start removing every back link with anchor text or that looks like junk?

What would you do?


4:43 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I had a site hit by panda and also penalized with unnatural linking. (Are you sure you have panda too?) I had exchanged links, lots of them. I tried to have as many removed as I could, documented it and sent a reconsideration request.

The penalty was removed sort of, I rank for my domain now and traffic came back a little but the site is still pandalized and/or partially penalized.

If you have an unnatural backlinks penalty you can have it removed just go over all your links and try to remove as many as you can and let them know the circumstances surround ing the links you can't have removed. Use something in addition to WMT because you can't see all your links there.

I also went over my site when it was hit by the first round of panda, I did everything I could and I have other sites that thrived in panda but this one...I don't know. I still have the site but I ultimately decided to just work on other things.


4:56 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I assume my site was hit by Panda because over night - around April 10th or 11th - my traffic was cut in half. Instantly.

I was able to survive with just have the traffic - barely. Had to let my two employees go, cut my pay down to a quarter of what it was....

But I have spent hours - every damn day..... trying to figure out what it is Panda doesn't like. I see what is ranking - and by no mean in this a whine-fest - but some in the top en should have been hit by Panda, Penguin, EMD and ATF penalties. It's laughable.

Now... whatever came out September 28th - nailed me. Again. My numbers were halved again.

So I finally bite the bullet and just do a a *very* thoughtful and detailed reconsideration request. Comes back with the whole "unnatural linking or link scheme" blah blah blah.

So I take a look because honestly - I never bothered to mess with backlinks. I just let it do it'd thing. I see crap directories, non-english sites, sitewide blogroll links (that look legit - but we know now that we can't have those - bad bad bad).

But still...
If I go to open site explorer - and compare my site to two that are ranking - a spank their little crappy web booties. So I don't get it. I made Panda/Google angry and it seems almost pointless trying.


5:19 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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

You seemed to be making an important distinction in your opening post. Panda is an algorithm change, not a manual penalty. Reconsideration Requests for sites that were only hit by Panda get a "no manual actions were taken" response. In addition, there was never a hint that Panda was about backlinks - it's about "quality", somehow or other.

However, the artificial backlinks campaign Google is running IS a manual action and can be reversed by a Reconsideration Request if they accept it.

In addition there's Penguin, which is about removing the power of "too much SEO" and apparently adding a demotion or "penalty" to the pages involved. Some feel that backlinks also play a part in Penguin - however, Penguin is also an algorithm and not a manual penalty.

So we have these three different issues:

Panda - algorithm (not manual) - Reconsideration Request is not effective
Penguin - algorithm (not manual) - Reconsideration Request is not effective
Unnatural Backlinks - MANUAL ACTION - Reconsideration Request CAN BE effective

Panda and Penguin both show their effects only on specific dates - see Monthly Reference - Google Updates and SERP Changes [webmasterworld.com] - whereas manual actions can happen at any time.

Hope that helps in sorting things out and deciding where to apply your time and effort.


5:47 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It might be pointless but you never know, some people are saying they have come back stronger than ever and others, like me, don't or can't.

Since you know you have the backlink thing, I would at least try and fix that and go from there.

When I went over my backlinks I found lots of seriously spammy things going on that were not under my control. Also, this is a 14 year old site that was once at the top of many popular results, you get tons of spam backlinks in that situation.

[edited by: proboscis at 5:50 pm (utc) on Oct 15, 2012]


5:48 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I understand the differences in the updates. I probably didn't right my post very clear.

What I was trying to say - I know Panda hit me in April 2011 - and though I hadn't made a recovery - I was "hanging in there".

What I'm wondering is.... maybe I have recovered from Panda... but now a backlink penalty is what is making me think "I hadn't recovered". It's not preventing me from ranking and it was placed on my site at some point over the last 18 months.

On top of that - it "appears" that my site took another mega hit on the 27th or 28th of September. I don't think it was the EMD - but I also wouldn't know why Panda would hit me again.

It's just so hard to tell what exactly is happening to your site. I realize the backlink penalty is manual. I am working on my backlink profile now.

But with Panda (or penguin) - since they are algo issues.... your site just magically comes back if you "score" differently when it's ran again? Or when it's crawled again?



6:21 pm on Oct 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

but I also wouldn't know why Panda would hit me again.

As far as I know you can be affected by panda again, my site went down again with certain panda changes, and sometimes it appears to remain unaffected.

Last I read, if you can fix your site it will magically comes back when panda is run, penguin I don't know.


1:47 am on Oct 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

crap directories (that want me to pay $25 a category to have my link removed!)

I've never heard of that... WOW.

I think I would rather pay $25 to file in small claims over their use of your domain name on their site without your permission than to pay for that removal. What a scam! Maybe you could file a DMCA complaint over it, or you could use Googles soon to be Disavow Links tool.

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