Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

How to bypass a Manual Action penalty

5:45 pm on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Hi, I have had a Manual action placed on a domain that says "Unnatural Links--Affects: Some incoming links"

I have sent over 5 reconsideration requests and still no luck. So I'm wondering what I can do now. Can I 404 those pages that are being linked, and place its content on a new url, resubmit sitemap with new url's, and expect to see ranking on those improve?

Currently for the search terms we used to rank in first page for, are now pulling up oddball pages in the results, page 2 or 3, instead of the main link which was being shown on the page 1 google results. From how I see it google isn't ranking those main links anymore, but they still appear in the index if i specifically search for that url. But the oddball pages appear now, and they change from one week to the other, a new oddball page replacing the old oddball page for that search phrase. It looks like google see's the new oddball page with ranking and drops it after a week or two, and another oddball page takes over with that position. Very strange behavior, does anyone experience this, and is there a manual work around (like 404'ing the url, and moving content to a new site, and rebuilding the internal linking to point to new url's), has anyone had success with this? If not, what do you suggest? Thank you.
8:34 pm on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Oh, and if I 404 those pages but place relevant links on them, with nofollow tags, would the penalty still be passed to those links? (considering it is not a redirect)
10:08 pm on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Its the incoming links to your site thats the problem, either try and remove them by contacting the webmasters if that fails use the disavow tool.

If you move the content to the new site via 301 the penalty will eventually pass through

I suppose if you removed all the links before moving to a new site it would work, but personally only move to a new site once the old site has had the penalty revoked and only if the old site does not respond well afterwards
10:24 pm on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

I've tried removing, they still say there's more links, I guess I can't find them, so I'm thinking to 404 those pages, and make some new ones.
10:43 pm on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

Wont be enough to get the penalty revoked,

use many link resources such as ahrefs, majestic seo, webamster tools

you pretty much will have to remove any link that looks spammy or or not earnt, so that will mean pretty much every directory site and any money keyword link ... it really is that brutal.

taking the easy option out with google just wont cut it, you have to show you have tried your best and that will be collating all the links and show you have contacted the webmasters and at least tried

watch the video hopefully this can help you but from experience its going to be pretty tough to remove that penalty without decimating your link profile

10:54 pm on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

I have done this over and over, the disavow file is huge now, there is no where else to look. If Google say 404 error is same thing as disavow, I think i want to do it, i just need to know if the 404 error page can have links to the new page on it
11:02 pm on Apr 10, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

that will mean pretty much every directory site
I disagree with this. For spammy directories that only exist as link farms- yes. But other business listings sites- I say no. By their nature, business listing directories include information about the business, so having a link to the business' web site is completely natural. Unless, of course, you paid for the listing/link and the listing/link wouldn't have been given without payment- that I can see Google having problems with.

Whether or not Google sees it that way... But if they're going to look down on those links, then they might as well look down on any links from Yahoo or Bing.
12:08 am on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tangor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

You had a great heads up from Google as to what they are seeing! Grab your logs and disallow just about everything except google (bing, yahoo, other authority level sites)

And, sad to say, you'll still come up short. Sounds like your site is spam bait (ie, THEY LIKE IT ALL TOO MUCH) and for every one you slap down another will come along.

In broad terms (no specifics) is your site Entertainment, Arts, News/Info, Business, ecommerce, Hobby, Reference, or Other?

You site is collecting unwelcome links. It just might be your web content that is drawing them in.

OH... BTW, you can't BYPASS a G manual penalty. All you can do it ignore it and do life without G traffic. Or fix it to their satisfaction (which details they generally do not pass along), or do a different kind of website. Manual sticks until g is happy.
4:45 am on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Well if i remove the links--404 them, then google will disqualify the backlinks to them, WHICH IS COMPLETELY FINE. I'm just curious if i can post a 'click here' to a relevant page on the custom 404 error page, so it keeps existing customers happy, without passing the penalty to the links on the custom 404 error page?

Oh, and it's ecommerce, and has hundreds of thousands of indexed pages currently (even with the penalty)
6:49 am on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

I disagree with this. For spammy directories that only exist as link farms- yes.

I disagree with this, also, I had to pretty much move off every single link to be successful

One of the examples gave me was a no follow directory link that had my money keyword in there, I questioned this (of course i did not get an answer)

Rule is remove

any link you suspect is not earnt
all suspect do follow links
all money keyword links not earnt
cheap directory's
forum posts with money keywords
news articles with money articles

keep picking and choosing links especially if not experienced will result in a decline in the requests and put you back months awaiting the reviews, that time would be better spent starting over in my opinion

Of course you may be removing some ok links that may not have flagged a penalty however you need to pass a manual review and trust me i have now cleaned many sites and decimating the backlink profile is pretty much what you need to do
1:59 pm on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member planet13 is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

Hello VineC and welcome to webmaster world!

To answer your question:

Oh, and if I 404 those pages but place relevant links on them, with nofollow tags, would the penalty still be passed to those links? (considering it is not a redirect)

The answer is: I think so but I am not sure.

I watched an awful lot of the google hangouts with John Mueller and he seems to imply that you can pretty much achieve the same result with a 404 page as with a disavow.

But the question is: How much TRAFFIC do those pages get from the spammy backlinks?

If you don't get much TRAFFIC from the spammy backlinks - and they only brought you paage rank instead - why put (nofollow) links on them?

So my suggestion would be to create a GENERIC 404 PAGE (one single page for all your 404 needs), and just have it as something of a site map with nofollow links on it, so that when somebody lands on ANY 404 page, they are presented with the same page (or you could replicate your home page with that 404 page as well instead of making it a site map).

I would personally make sure that 404 page is tagged as noindex and nofollow. (Some people say it doesn't matter as long as it returns a 404, but I say why chance it.)

However, if they DID bring you traffic as landing pages, then you might want to create a custom 404 page with the relevant nofollow link on it.

Again, I would make that page a noindex and nofollow as well as having it serve a 404 header, but that's just me.


Anyway, I would try this. Find the pages that have bad incoming links, change the file name, serve a generic 404 page, change your internal link structure to point to the new pages.
2:22 pm on Apr 11, 2014 (gmt 0)

Cleaning up links seems like a waste of time, can anyone answer the question about the 404/410 concern I had?

Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month