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Manual ban from Google: unnatural links, but where?

     
3:35 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I received a message from Google webmaster tool that says:
Google detected unnatural or artificial links that are pointing to your website. You cannot purchase link or join schema links .... Google applied a manual antispam action ... bla bla bla

Now I am penalized and I lost all the rank/traffic from Google.

But I did not purchase any backlink and I did not make any link exchange. I do not care about my backlinks I only care to create good content and ..... BAN!
I am a victim even if I see there are some strange websites that link to me from google webmaster tool.

I right submited the reconsideration request to let Google know I cannot do anything cause I do not purchase or exchange link. But now I do not know if this is the best action I could take. Probably I could use the disavow tool and then reconsiderate my website.

Please do you know what do I have to do?
6:56 pm on Aug 19, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I see there are some strange websites that link to me from google webmaster tool.


You might need to disavow those links, even though you didn't set them up. That's probably a good place to start, anyway.
12:30 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Yes, you should try your best to delete the spam site linked to you, if you can not delete them, you should disavow them. Then make a reconsideration, in the reconsideration you can explain you did not purchase link.
1:33 am on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Just because you did not build the links, don't think for a second you don't have them. That's part of the problem with investing heavily into good content - not only do you get scraped, but spammers link to you on the same page their links are embedded in. That's the way some spammers are doing things these days with paid blog networks - linking out to innocent sites in an effort to make it less likely their spam links will be penalized. Instead, everyone gets penalized!
1:54 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I read the Google guidelines and Google wants I first contact the websites to remove the backlinks and then I use the disavow tools. I will waste my time and will have to wait at least one week to check if the #*$! webmaster removed my link.
The number of spammy websites is 20, but everyone has at least 5/20 spammy pages I will have to indicate.

Is it ok if I use right away the disavow tools without asking the webmasters?
Or I have first to contact them.
2:24 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I never had a manual action placed against me, but I did have spammy links that were hurting me. My site literally fell off of Googe, almost non existent. It then used a Link Detox tool program (fairly expensive) to pull a list of links that were toxic and the program even provided me a list to give Google. I did several rounds of submissions over 5 months and basically had Google respect me again. We aren't back at page 1 for top keywords but we are on the map again around page 5.

As far as contacting the webmasters of these sites that have links to you... GOOD LUCK! Half of them don't even check their email, so it's a total waste of time.

I just gathered a list and submitted. Did Google disavow them all? No, because some kept showing back up in toxic link reports. Still, a good chunk of them were disavowed and my site approved because of it.
2:33 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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But I did not purchase any backlink and I did not make any link exchange...


It could be something else you did to promote your site. What other promotional activity did you engage in to promote your site? Articles? Press releases?
2:38 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Have you built any links yourself? Going on that the majority of people do and think they're not doing anything wrong, I'd think about that.
2:43 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I do not promote my website in any way from March 2013 (the date of my last link exchange: I have a total of 7 link exchanges).

I will follow the guidelines of google and will contact the webmasters. I think with no chance but at least I will feel good.

Is there a way to cancel my reconsideration request? (I need time to contact webmasters, wait for their answer and then using disavow tools) because if they check my reconsideration request of 17 Aug they will decline it cause I did nothing.
2:57 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I did not make any link exchange


I do not promote my website in any way from March 2013 (the date of my last link exchange: I have a total of 7 link exchanges).


I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but you're clearly making conflicting statements. You made some unnatural links, and got caught.

From reading the accounts of others, the fastest path back is to either:

- confess, clean up the links, and submit a humbly worded, and detailed, reconsideration request.

OR

- start over. new domain, new content
3:26 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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There is probably no need to start over. Everybody thinks their baby is beautiful and many are unable to see their faults, myself included. But in this it's important to be as critical as possible to identify links that you (or a contractor) had a direct hand in acquiring then work to get rid of them. After that start over with a link building strategy that is more advanced and less likely to trigger a penalty.

Good luck!
3:36 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is there a way to cancel my reconsideration request?
4:02 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I wouldn't worry about it. Lots of folks submit multiple reconsideration requests until they get it right.
4:08 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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ok, but then only for curiosity purpose ...
Is there a way to cancel my reconsideration request?
6:12 pm on Aug 20, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is it ok if I use right away the disavow tools without asking the webmasters?


yes.

You can submit a disavow request right away, and to be honest, from what google has made public about the disavow tool, it is probably BEST to do it first, since it can take a LONG TIME for the disavow tool to work - like, months or a year... or more!

In the meantime, do the bad links point to important pages that you CAN'T change the URL / file name of the page (like your home page).

Or do they point to internal pages where it would not be a problem to change the URL (by changing the file name) to something else?

Because you could rename some of the target pages to different names so those bad links would be pointing to a 404 page.

After that, I would start contacting webmasters seeing if I could get the links removed.

If you still have any old link exchange programs, get rid of them ASAP.

Hope this helps.

~~~

I have no idea if there is a way to cancel a reconsideration request but that is the last thing I would worry about.
3:15 am on Aug 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Is it ok if I use right away the disavow tools without asking the webmasters?

Yes, but I suggest that You should contact the spam site's admin to ask them delete the link point to your site, When you request reconsideration tell all effort you have done, this will increase the success rate to get the manual action revoked.

Is there a way to cancel my reconsideration request?

No. I did not find any way to cancel reconsideration request.

But it doesn't matter, it will do no harm to your site after requesting reconsideration even it failed to revoked.

PS. I have down this reconsideration for many times.
4:33 am on Aug 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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People overlook that unnatural links also means outbound links from your site.

Checked your home page to see if you've been hacked and have a bunch of hidden links you're no aware exist?

If you have outbound links, I'd prune that list too of NOFOLLOW them as that's what I got in trouble for once and it was completely innocent.


This whole unnatural linking nonsense is getting outof control IMO. The tyrant rules with an iron first and we all jump like trained dogs on our hing legs but I digress...

Hope you find the links causing a problem and get it fixed.
6:48 am on Aug 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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@ incrediBILL

Certainly worth looking at as well. Although Google are fairly unambiguous with their wording. This particular manual action is an issue with outbound links.

"Google detected unnatural or artificial links that are pointing to your website"
8:03 am on Aug 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for your suggestions. They are helping me a lot. I contacted all the spam links yesterday and one of them removed my links. I contacted my 7 link partners and I said I am going to remove the link page. Even if I read the guidelines and they say "excessive" link exchange. Anyway I am going to delete the link page. But now I decided to stop me, cause yesterday I received 4/5 visit from Google inc from these IPs 66.249.93.69 66.249.81.69. They are no bot cause the screen resolution is 1024x768, so some employees of Google should had visit my website and last night traffic was as usual, today too. I checked 5 keywords and I rank as before the penalization. Let's see if the situation continue. I hope so, anyway the antispam manual action has not be revoked on Google Webmaster tool. There are some contraddiction.
What do you suggest now? (I still did not upload any disavow file)
9:19 am on Aug 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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"Google detected unnatural or artificial links that are pointing to your website"


@noob1, thanks for pointing out that minor detail I glossed over as I did a quick drive by posting.

When I got one of this letters I swore it just said unnatural links scheme and that's all it was. I'll have to see if I've got that old message and double check but I think it was purged a while back.

I didn't have any unnatural scheme whatsoever, I merely changed the way links were operating on a site and Google went nuts during the transition, it was restored withing days after I explained what happened.

However, I thought it was important to add that both outbound and inbound links can get a penalty and you really need to be on top of it in both directions.

Outbound links can actually cause all sorts of issues depending on how you do them I'll be starting a thread about what I've learned soon, fascinating reading. ;)

Good luck with the IBLs, disvow early and often is you can't negotiate a simple link removal.
6:57 pm on Aug 21, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I'll be starting a thread about what I've learned soon


I am looking forward to seeing it.
2:34 pm on Aug 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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serenoo, you shouldn't have made a reconsideration request as an instant response - why would you ask Google to reconsider your site when you have left things the way they were? Also, you can't withdraw a reconsideration request.

Secondly, (I spoke with John Mueller about this recently) if your penalty is a result of manual spam by yourself, then Google expects to see manual efforts by you to remove the backlinks to your site. This includes email history (over a period of time) of you contacting each of the webmasters requesting link removal.
If your penalty is of an algorithmic nature, then all you need do is submit a disavow file and keep an eye on your WebMaster Tools ../search traffic/ links to your site..

BTW 'some employees of Google should had visit my website' is a myth - the disavow tool is a totally automated process, so there is no use in writing a nice paragraph to them in your disavow file!

You will find some excellent advice here [searchenginewatch.com...]

Good luck
3:27 pm on Aug 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I have made an instant reconsideration because I am honest and did not purchase any link. I did not care about link building. I did not take any action to increase my backlinks.
Indeed today Google sent me an email concerning my reconsideration saying:
"We have changed the status, but we are still convinced that the content or inbound links do not respect our quality guidelines". The content now is the new entry. :-)
I think they admitted the mistake, cause 100% of my traffic is back, but there is still something they do not like.
If I go to my Google webmaster tool account to Manual action link at level website section there is nothing (they revoked the manual ban action), but at partial corrispondence section it says:
"Google detected some unnatural fake or fraudolent backlinks. Some of this could be out of your control, so for this reason we will take an action to the unnatural links rather than website ranking, website seen as global website."

60watt I did not use the disavow tools yet, so Google people is visiting me, and found yesterday and today new visits. Probably I am wrong, but the IPs say Google Inc and the resolution says it is not a bot.

Any suggestions?
3:45 pm on Aug 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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hi serenoo
google isn't doubting your dishonesty, they are simply saying there is a number of unnatural/inappropriate links which are pointing at your site. Download the csv file which contains the links google hav eidentified, and then disavow the domains. Don't bother disavowing each individual link. Also, don't make the mistake of thinking that beciase google activity is increased on your site for a temporary period of time that you can then surmise what you are doing.

You are in effect hoping that your situation will change. It won't unless you take action.
4:17 pm on Aug 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I once got that same message in GWT -- but it was not for third parties linking to me.

I had a blog roll linking to my other sites in the same market (same target audience, different niches) that I put in my sidebar.

I removed the blog roll for each of the links, sent a reconsideration request, and the manual action was lifted.

If you have been doing this, it may be the first thing you need to do
4:26 pm on Aug 22, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Unfortunatly no. I do not link my websites.
8:31 am on Aug 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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If the spam link is www.example.com and I want to add its domain into disavow file do I have to write
domain:www.example.com
or
domain:example.com?
12:24 pm on Aug 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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While I agree that disavowing and policing your links is a good strategy, I wonder if it is worth spending time on that or spending time on content that will get you valuable links that also drive traffic.

Many sites with healthy organic performance on Google have been heavily scraped with no problems. It comes down to links Google just can't ignore.
4:33 pm on Aug 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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I am pretty certain it is domain:example.com
4:40 pm on Aug 25, 2014 (gmt 0)

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Thanks Planet13
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