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    Unsure if I have a spam penalty


    Last year we received this message in Webmaster Tools:

    Google has detected a pattern of artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site. Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank are violations of Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
    So I asked an SEO guy to take a look and see if he could review our links and build and submit a Disavow file. His response that even though the message was there we are not actually receiving a penalty. However, over the years our site has tanked significantly in the SERPs.

    Under Search Traffic > Manual Actions it says "No manual webspam actions found.".

    So I'm still unsure if should spend time on money on Disavow. Is there a way to tell if we are being penalised?
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    cbp
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    If the manual penalty is no longer listed in WMT, then it has "expired" and you no longer have the penalty. HOWEVER, that does not mean it will not be reapplied if Google check and find the problem still exists.
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    Originally Posted by cbp
    If the manual penalty is no longer listed in WMT, then it has "expired" and you no longer have the penalty. HOWEVER, that does not mean it will not be reapplied if Google check and find the problem still exists.
    So if Search Traffic > Manual Actions is clear then there is no manual penalty. This message was received in July last year so it's safe to say we are clear? No action was taken though but Search Traffic > Manual Actions is empty. Thanks for you help.
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    Google has detected a pattern of artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site. Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank are violations of Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
    Disavowing is the wrong approach.

    Were you/are you buying links or participating in link schemes as Google suggest you were/are?

    Here is the problem with disavowing - nothing external changes. A competitor can find and report the manipulation as a spam report and then the Webspam Team gets involved and now you have a Manual Review... as Google states simply disavowing without any attempt to cleanup isn't a show of good faith.
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    Originally Posted by fathom
    Disavowing is the wrong approach.

    Were you/are you buying links or participating in link schemes as Google suggest you were/are?

    Here is the problem with disavowing - nothing external changes. A competitor can find and report the manipulation as a spam report and then the Webspam Team gets involved and now you have a Manual Review... as Google states simply disavowing without any attempt to cleanup isn't a show of good faith.
    In the past we bought links in the footer of wordpress themes. I think these links and the code was encrypted so I'm not sure the webmasters could easily remove them. Over time the amount of those links is decreasing with standard link atrophy but there are a few out there still.
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    Aside from the message in GWT, Penguin may be playing a role as well.

    Have you lined up any of the dates to possible Penguin roll outs?
    I often refer to Moz for for the dates of any Google algorithmic updates although most of the dates are pretty much memorized now.

    If it's evident there is an issue, it may be a good time to start analyzing your backlink profile to see if anything sticks out or there are any domains that just scream low quality. Especially if you have "built links" in the past as fathom has suggested.
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  13. SEO Since 97
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    In the past we bought links in the footer of wordpress themes
    and they more than likely don't hold any weight anymore, which in turn will cause you to drop.
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    It seems you have built bad neighbourhood which causing you this problem. You have to focus on content of the site.

    I suggest you put more efforts on Core Principals of SEO which is informative website with right on page optimization. Do not stuff content with keywords just keep in mind that the website is for user not for Search Engine. Ask your friends, family members and others on what they like or dislike on the website. Improve on those points and you will have strong position on Search Engine.

    Now a days SEO terminology is changed completely so you have to focus more on making basics correct and take improvement steps on the information (Content) your website provides. This technique is quite strong enough to fight against algorithm.

    Comments on this post

    • fathom : Sounds like SEO doubletalk
    Last edited by seork; Jan 31st, 2015 at 03:48 AM.

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