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    Weird Unnatural Links Warning in GWT - Anyone?


    One of my sites got that warning a few weeks ago (I feel like in a movie: I've heard so much about that and now I SEE it!)

    Anyway, apart from my being puzzled as to the reasoning of it (I don't recall building any "keyword" links to it; if I link to the site from my articles, I use name or URL not to "manipulate" anything lol; the site earns regular natural links and 95% of it's home page links are name and different variations of it; links to deep pages are absolutely natural (these are articles that earn links from round-ups and such)); again, apart from the unclear reason, I haven't seen any impact on rankings or search traffic (not that I am complaining...)

    So my question is: What to do

    I know I sound like anyone in that situation, but I honestly don't know where to start as I don't feel guilty

    The only thing I've been doing "wrong" was linking to it from a random article I write (if it makes sense) - so it's kind of linking to yourself without nofollow; but again I've never really used keywords not to effect rankings...

    Here's how the warning sounds:

    Unnatural inbound links
    March 14, 2013

    We've detected that some of the links pointing to your site are using techniques outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

    We don't want to put any trust in links that are unnatural or artificial, and we recommend removing any unnatural links to your site. However, we do realize that some links may be outside of your control. As a result, for this specific incident we are taking very targeted action to reduce trust in the unnatural links. If you are able to remove any of the links, you can submit a reconsideration request, including the actions that you took.

    If you have any questions, please visit our Webmaster Help Forum.
    As you can see, they are kind of suggeting I might be innocent but still recommend submitting a reconsideration request (?) I am not sure what they want to reconsider lol
    And it doesn't look too scary as there is no sign next to it

    I have a lot of sites, so I don't check GWT that often, so I was really late to notice the warning (it was left a couple of weeks ago)
    Everything will be ok in the end

    If it's not ok, it's not the end
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    Hi, Ann-

    What you've received looks like one of those benign notifications that is simply telling you that they're not too sure about the source/nature of some of your links, so they've devalued some. Have you seen any significant impact to your rankings?
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    @Doc, no I haven't seen any impact... on the 25th of December GWT sent me "Lower search click-through" warning but a couple of days all the traffic and rankings were back, so I just thought that was a regular Christmas flux... Otherwise, I haven't seen or noticed anything strange...

    What puzzles me is why they invite me to submit a reconsideration request? What they want to reconsider? I am fine with them devaluing some of my links but why they invite me to try to get rid of them and submit the request? Since links are already devalued, what will change if I delete them?
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    Ann I still believe G wants webmasters to send in a list of known link spam, to build this information into a database to combat spam. The more help from the public the easier their job is looking for it. I'm assuming the reconsider letter is telling them to pay attention to this list, otherwise the list is just done with a computer.
    But that just a guess.

    Comments on this post

    • Ann Smarty agrees : So basically they want me to do my own backlink profile analysis for them? :) Interesting! That's why they always insist on that reconsideration request to be detailed :)
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  9. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    Ann I still believe G wants webmasters to send in a list of known link spam, to build this information into a database to combat spam. The more help from the public the easier their job is looking for it.
    Rubbish!

    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    I'm assuming the reconsider letter is telling them to pay attention to this list, otherwise the list is just done with a computer.

    But that just a guess.
    You don't need to send any reconsideration request... this wasn't a manual review it was an automatic notification.

    Comments on this post

    • Doc Sheldon agrees : Agreed. No need to ever to a recon for an algo issue.
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    Reference: https://plus.google.com/+MattCutts/posts/gik49G9c5LU

    As always, if you believe you have been affected by a manual spam action and your site no longer violates the Webmaster Guidelines, go ahead and file a reconsideration request.
    By default it also says... if you believe you haven't been developing inorganic links... ignore this.

    Comments on this post

    • Ann Smarty agrees : Thanks!
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    Originally Posted by Ann Smarty
    @Doc, no I haven't seen any impact... on the 25th of December GWT sent me "Lower search click-through" warning but a couple of days all the traffic and rankings were back, so I just thought that was a regular Christmas flux...
    There was some "routine" fluctuation around then, so since it recovered, you're probably right.

    I am fine with them devaluing some of my links but why they invite me to try to get rid of them and submit the request? Since links are already devalued, what will change if I delete them?
    Sometimes, they don't devalue 100%, Ann. They might knock them down by 30%, 50%, 75%... who knows? Personally, I wouldn't be too concerned, but that's just me. Ignoring anything they say is a calculated risk, I'll grant. If you've taken a look at your link profile and feel relatively comfortable with the quality of your links, then I'd suggest you just keep a close eye on things for a few weeks. If you have any links that you think are questionable, just reach out to the webmasters and try to get them nofollowed or removed (or anchor modified, if that makes more sense).

    If you'd like a second set of eyes on the profile, feel free to skype me, and I'd be happy to help you out.
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    You don't need to send any reconsideration request
    I agree with you Rod, what I find questionable is the verbage of:
    If you are able to remove any of the links, you can submit a reconsideration request, including the actions that you took.
    which is in every notice I've ever seen. What other reason would that be in ever message?
    It seems to me to be some kind of scare tactic to get information that their not able to get.
    Like I said it's only a guess. But please entertain me with another reason why it's in every unnatural link message.
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    Looks like you've got your question answered Ann. Your message is the same as a pile of them that went out in July. For the vast majority of them, as fathom quoted, the message really meant nothing. Plus, the fact that you have no yellow caution sign and no drop in rankings supports that idea.

    Here is more information as well:
    Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: New notifications about inbound links

    The vast majority of sites that had these warnings never were penalized. However, there are some, as in the information given in the link, that were penalized for perhaps a single keyword. Here is a quote from the article:

    These new messages are worth your attention. Fundamentally, it means we're distrusting some links to your site. We often take this action when we see a site that is mostly good but might have some spammy or artificial links pointing to it (widgetbait, paid links, blog spam, guestbook spam, excessive article directory submissions, excessive link exchanges, other types of linkspam, etc.). So while the site's overall rankings might not drop directly, likewise the site might not be able to rank for some phrases. I wouldn't classify these messages as purely advisory or something to be ignored, or only for innocent sites.

    On the other hand, I don't want site owners to panic. We do use this message some of the time for innocent sites where people are pointing hacked anchor text to their site to try to make them rank for queries like [buy viagra].
    I would say that if you haven't noticed a drop in rankings for any keywords then I would do nothing. I'd probably do a thorough analysis of my backlinks to make sure there is no weird "buy viagra" type of hacking going on. But, if not, then I wouldn't remove links and I wouldn't file for reconsideration.

    Sometimes though, a site can get a warning and then it can take a few days for the penalty to hit. So, if you start noticing a significant drop in keyword ranking then I'd reassess the situation.

    Comments on this post

    • Doc Sheldon agrees : If Ann's link profile is relatively clean, I think she can safely ignore this, as a benign notice.
    THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO UNNATURAL LINKS RECOVERY by Dr. Marie Haynes.
    Click here to sign up for my Google Penalty Newsletter.
    Traffic Drop Audits. and Unnatural links penalty recovery help.
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  19. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    I agree with you Rod, what I find questionable is the verbage of:

    which is in every notice I've ever seen. What other reason would that be in ever message?
    It seems to me to be some kind of scare tactic to get information that their not able to get.
    Like I said it's only a guess. But please entertain me with another reason why it's in every unnatural link message.
    If you know you've been bad and you get a message saying we noticed you've been bad, the uneducated would self-report themselves which is as good as any competitor submitting a spam report.

    If you don't have a clue what the message is referencing going to the forum and getting TC and/or Googlers to point out the errors of your ways works as well.

    But in my experience the only action you need to do is ignore the references as they are already being ignored whatever they are.
    Last edited by fathom; Apr 7th, 2013 at 08:27 PM.
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    If you know you've been bad and you get a message saying we noticed you've been bad, the uneducated would self-report themselves which is as good as any competitor submitting a spam report.
    I believe that's exactly what I'm getting at. And as you mentioned the uneducated will read the next section and many will disavow and self report, because the note continues to say:and then it says:
    and we recommend removing any unnatural links to your site.
    what would you venture to think Google does with the disavow lists they receive?
    Along with any pertinent information that come with the reconsideration requests:
    If you are able to remove any of the links, you can submit a reconsideration request, including the actions that you took.
    And then here they say:
    As a result, for this specific incident we are taking very targeted action to reduce trust in the unnatural links
    That to me would mean, you need do nothing, were going to take care of it. So why all the rest of the BS, I mean if their going to target the spam why even sent the note?

    I think it's google bait, Google's fishing...No?
    I don't know, it's hard for me to believe otherwise.

    The whole note is written in a way that smells like flounder.
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  23. rod@missionop.com
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    CAUTION

    I'll remind everyone that you need to be extremely cautious with Google's Notifications as an automated notification has no human intervention involved... the system detected something that may or may not be an issue but the system already took action so technically you don't need to do anything. Google prefers everyone to play fair so getting you to fairly show you're cheating is good for all.

    In this event, the moment you send a reconsideration request into Google's Webspam Team that is the first indication that the team has that you believe you are/were doing something that violates their TOS.

    You get that right?

    You are telling Google [paraphrasing] "I've been cheating... can you take a look and see if you agree?"

    Since Google notifications never tell you "verbatim" all the flaws you are left to guess... presumably the person that knows they are violating TOS knows what they have done but here's a news flash for you... Half of the all recoveries I have done have been manual reviews where over 75% of those had a PENGUIN issue first.

    The owners had an automated issue that they misunderstood as needing to submit a reconsideration request out of ignorance... and then because Google sees much more that PENGUIN missed that turns into a manual review.
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  25. rod@missionop.com
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    The whole note is written in a way that smells like flounder.
    If it was my archive and I preferred others to play fair on my domain I would also use ignorance as a strong motivator to do so.

    I think it's a stroke of genius myself.
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    Originally Posted by Test-ok
    The whole note is written in a way that smells like flounder.
    That was exactly my thought: That's my first Google's warning in my life and even with my ignorance in all that stuff I couldn't help but wonder: "Ok, so you didn't like some of my links and devalued them... Why on Earth am I supposed to take any action?"
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    Originally Posted by fathom
    I think it's a stroke of genius myself.
    That and a human flaw.

    Humans bit*h and complain about not wanting the government to be in our bedrooms, but those same humans set up cameras, mic's and post thoughts all day everyday...FB comes to mind. Government quires FB and the people do just what they want with no objection what so ever.
    Stupid Humans lol
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