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Google can certainly downgrade
I believe Google can certainly downgrade your rankings (whether that constitutes a penalty or not is a different discussion) based on sites that link to you
Penguin doesn't devalue links...it punishes them.
Google already devalues bad links...so why would
penguin be different?
how do you explain sites that did well before link building...and then after link/building penguin dropped far below where they were at before link building
Plus we have some limited stories about Penguin recoveries from link removal
I guess we both are implying the same conclusion. If some links Google thinks aren't in good taste, then it might effectively 'nofollow' them. If those links were holding up your site, then ranks naturally fall. Some may call it penalty, which I disagree with and merely call it discounting the links.
I believe the penalty we suffered was over use of the anchor text for internal links.
So, first hand experience that Penguin punishes for "bad links". It doesn't get more clearer than this.
Penguin doesn't devalue links... it punishes them
Unless I'm missing something, what you presented is actually evidence that *something* in the algo punishes for bad inbounds, and that's been something most of us suspected long before Penguin (it was called "Google Bowling" a few years back). And no one's arguing that links aren't part of Penguin, just that they aren't ALL it looks at. Or maybe you were responding to a more specific comment someone made and not the gist of the whole thread?
Whatever the case, nice work defeating the bullies. :)
I built millions of ultra-spammy "bad links" into the last remaining website. I did a few other tactics (no hacking and nothing that could even remotely be considered "illegal" was done) and within 2 weeks it (pr5) had dropped off the 1st page.
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. For example, we may take this kind of targeted action to distrust hacked links pointing to an innocent site. The innocent site will get the message as we move towards more transparency, but itís not necessarily something that you automatically need to worry about.
We made two changes so you can tell the "individual links aren't trusted" messages from the "our opinion of your entire site is affected" messages.
If this were true, then you would see this happening all over and the search results would be nothing like they are now.
[edited by: tedster at 2:03 am (utc) on Oct 29, 2012]
[edit reason] change reference per poster request [/edit]
Can you please tell me:
(1) Were you using too many internal links with the anchor text being exact match phrases that the page linked to is trying to rank for? If you were, were all of these links in the site's body text? Combination of navigation links and body text links? Something else?
(2) If the internal links going to a page were not using the same anchor text, were they using similar anchor text?
(3) Did all of your internal links look similar? Common words in them. In this question, I mean the internal links going to different pages.
I don't believe BaseballGuy is lying. I believe he is accurately reporting the facts. I think what may need to be considered is that the sites BaseballGuy defeated were not in a competitive niche and likely had a flimsy backlink profile. Naturally it would be easier to defeat a site like that AND not "see this happening all over." The two viewpoints can be reconciled.