• http://twitter.com/coreyeulas Corey Eulas

    I still don’t understand why they (Google) are asking people to do anything.  They should just discount the links and move on.  This is all nonsense and causing a frenzy. 

  • http://twitter.com/RussellJensen Russell Dean Jensen

    Google “recommends” that I manually take down links right? But if Google is only going to distrust those links it would automatically be like they don’t exist at all. Why should I jump through hoops to manually remove links when Google doesn’t place value one them in the first place?!

  • http://twitter.com/TheGodofSEO The God of SEO™

    Uhm, because no-follow from known blackhat sources switch is too hard to implement into the algorithm Google? Right….joke’s on EVERYBODY.

  • http://www.temerity.com.au/ Elliot Dean

    Google doesnt want to be seen as simply discounting spammy links. This would encourage dodgy link builders to continue to build tonnes of links knowing they wont be penalised, in the hope that some of the links will be counted as a vote. Google want to prevent people trying to see what they can “get away” with, and scaring them into penalties (whether real or not) will help curtail these practices.

  • Alan

    I personally have a theory that Penguin and all these link warnings are more to do with resource allocation than actually fighting web spam although fighting web spam is a nice by product. What do I mean? Well, we have seen an exponential growth in spammy links out there, brought on by a level of automation that has never been seen before. Nearly every blackhatter and his dog has a copy of scrapebox or xrummer or Senuke or some other relatively cheap blackhat link building software. There are literally millions of blackhatters coming at Google from all fronts and doing without even having to be at their machine for most of the time. Add to this the insane growth in blog networks, I think even the tireless Googlebot will run out of steam eventually. Personally I have never had to run a web bot like Googlebot but I could imagine that it must get frustrating logging all these billions of horribly spammy links that really serve no good purpose. It must cost quite a bit also? 

    We all know that the people at Google are trying to drive profit up and at one end of the spectrum you can move to increase revenue, which obviously they have done in the last year. However at the other end it is probably just as likely that Google is moving to reduce costs. All this “link warning” and “Penguin” activity may just be a cost cutting venture. For example the blog networks once identified, no longer have to be scanned. The bot can happily ignore a whole section of the web and still give good results to the user. By identifying these horribly spammy links and getting the webmasters to help them do this, helps drive the costs of operating Google down.Anyway it is just a theory.

  • Harm Hendriks

    I can confirm that this is also happening in The Netherlands. 

  • http://www.merlinox.com Merlinox

    The situation after penguing in embarassing for SEO!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4AIJDOYQ2V33YXE3EXGZVCO3GU Tim

    We got the same exact messages over here in Germany. Our inbox looks actually exact like the screenshot in this article. I now wonder if the new messages are an answer to our recently sent reconsideration request or not.

  • http://twitter.com/sfbook Ant

    At the moment Google seems intent on sewing as much confusion as possible, going back to the less transparent days of the past. One of the many things that concerns me is that Google can’t even seem to actually decide what is and isn’t a manual penalty. Matt Cutt’s recently stated that it’s only worth carrying out a reconsideration request if a MANUAL penalty has been placed however these latest messages seem to be a result of Penguin, which is algorithmic and presumably a recon request wouldn’t work.

    They then send out messages advising that a reconsideration request should be carried out after the links that the webmasters probably don’t know about have been removed from sites they have no control over, which suggests these are MANUAL penalties not algorithmic.

    I also take exception to the arrogance that webmasters will know of a penalty after they see their traffic disappear - a bit like fitting a smoke detector after your apartment has caught fire really isn’t it?

    Google you are doing a great job of alienating your most loyal customers, anyone for Bing?

  • Peter Kern

    Yeahhh Google thinks people will start removing links and SEO will die. DON’T remove any links DON’T send requests for reconsideration. REMOVE google analytics and google webmaster tool from your website. Less Google knows about your site than better!

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    Removing GWT has to be the worst thing you can do – rather than getting an unnatural links message giving you time to take action, the first you’ll know about it is when your site bombs.  Example - http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/when-google-gets-penalties-wrong/

    There’s too much paranoia amongst SEOs right now, having had our fingers burnt earlier in the year.

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    It was certainly irresponsible of Google to post these messages. I totally respect that Google is trying to get rid of spam and to pass value from links that are actually worth something.  However, they are totally aware of the chaos which followed the original messages back in Feb/March. It was cruel to send these messages out and leave people to stew for 24hrs, without clarifying what they mean first.

    As for the “remove them if you like” message – come on!  Tell us what you want us to do, with clarity!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Codex-Meridian/100002285341528 Codex Meridian

     I definitely agree on this. Google has the data (the inbound link profile for the site). Therefore, its Google responsibility to clean this data as much as possible as they are the ones gathering it and using it for their algorithm.

    Now that they pass this responsibility to webmasters, it made me think they are slowly surrendering the battle of spam on the Internet. They are not smart enough to sort what is “good” data from “bad” data.Think about how many Ph.D is working at Google. So shameful to them.

    If you are the one gathering the data, you should be the one to sort out the outliers before proceeding to the analysis. However Google cannot sort out this outliers (e.g. unwanted links and all of these dirty link tactics that is beyond the control of webmasters) themselves. They look unsure. I think what they are doing is a sort of validation, but it won’t work. It’s too much for the webmasters to handle thinking that our job is simply to create quality content and nothing more.

    In my wildest imagination, probably it’s time to accept that the Google PageRank model has its serious flaws and limitation. It is time to move forward and formulate another system.

  • http://twitter.com/MariyaJames Mariya James

    Well, it has become difficult for all SEOs to rank or to get traffic on your site, but we all understand that Google is trying to remove all spammy sites from Google search results.

  • http://bibianowenceslao.com/ Bibiano Wenceslao

    IMHO it’s Google’s way of asking “we need your help filtering out which links are good, and which are bad”. It’s like a link election – when a particular link gets enough vote as a bad link  (from the number of webmasters who’ve reported it as such), and combined with the data they already have, then it’s hammertime. All other sites (aside from those who have made removal requests) with that same link gets the downvote sting. Imagine what happens on the next major update. 

  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    I agree, Elliot.  The “advisories” serve the function of letting folks know that Google sees something nefarious happening.  If you’re paying someone to build links and get this warning, you might be encouraged to stop paying that person because they’re doing link building badly.  Over time, that will have the benefit to Google of slowing the explosion of bogus websites they have to crawl, index and process algorithmically.  If the internet only contained “quality” sites, devoid of all the AdSense spam dreck, and link farms, Google’s job would be easier and the quality of search results would be better as well.

  • http://twitter.com/HyperTexted Kevin Gerding

    These messages from Google are vague, provide no examples and do nothing but induce panic.

    Just because Google engineers lack the skills to algorithmically discount bad links does not mean they need to turn the whole web upside down with policies that promise to do nothing but waste millions of webmaster’s time, exponentially increase the demands of SEOs, and do not a darn thing to solve any problems.

    I can’t wait for the link disavow tool to go live.  Instead of creating content I can sift through countless links all day long.  Since Bing offers this feature now, I can do it for two search engines.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I must repeat that such link disavow options give productivity a swift and hard kick between the legs.

    Panda, Penguin and all of these unnatural link “advisories” and “warnings” are a complete waste.  Google’s effort to enlist deputies to become backlink police officers is not welcome by me and many others.  We have better things to do with our time like create that great content that Google so frequently mentions.  There’s one problem.  I am not Google and do not have employees that I can devote to being backlink deputies.  Time to outsource such a task?  Not while the budget is under my control.  I’d rather disavow Google.

    If there’s one positive to all these updates and notifications is that they have indeed offered some insight into how Google is presently operating.  What Google has shared thus far indicates their engineers can’t solve the problems of some gaming the system and that their webspam team is quite unorganized.  Google’s effort to push transparency has been quite an abysmal failure in my eyes.

  • http://www.mercadeoporinternet.com rafaelmontilla

    Agree with most of all.  
    I have been removing links and more links. Yes Google has the Data, if Google can not remove those links,  I would be easy if Google send the list of unnatural link.
    I can not understand why G send this warning to some websites owners and other that are doing bad SEO do not get this warning.
    I have found a client’s compatitor who was ranking #1, using a blog network and low quality links. I had send a ditail report to Google 4 months ago,  but nothing happen on Google end, but on the competitor end, thing are getting better. After Penguin the compatitor is ranking #1 and #2 and some times 3# also.

  • Peter Kern

    oh dear
    it is not about links FROM your website but about back links to your website…. it was obvious from the beginning of SEO that you should be very careful when putting links on your site to others especially dofollow links. 

    GWT and Analytics is just like another google big brother machine to control the net… have you ever heard about google street cars? they supposed to only take photos but ooops by mistake they also hack into wireless networks hahhaa

    never believe corporations ..

  • Peter Kern

    haha
    when are you going to stop believe what google says? what other proofs you need that what they say is piece of shh..it
    DONT remove links! This is the worst what you can do.

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    I posted that case study as an example of why you need GWT – so that you can receive the warning message from G before they bomb your site.  Whether that be for inbound or outbound links is irrelevant.  Without GWT, you’ll get no warning, no chance to take action, and like that site you end up with 4 days of no revenue from Google.  If you’d rather risk that because you’re worried about Google bats infecting your coffee with rohypnol through your mouse cable, go ahead!

  • http://twitter.com/victorpan victorpan

    Not all links are created equal. If you’re able to remove links that you believe are from a bad neighborhood, then I don’t see why you wouldn’t attempt to remove them (even though it’s tough).

    If they wouldn’t be driving quality traffic otherwise, there really is no point to “bad links” other than amassing your link count – which would be a dangerous path to go on towards for quantifying success…

    Until then…  Brace Yourselves ;) https://plus.google.com/b/110962037896041723674/photos/110962037896041723674/albums/5768756227551796785/5768756228769433874

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    I just can’t see a link disavow tool ever working.  So you can go and built a tonne of bad links, wait for G to tell you it’s seen something dodgy, then disavow them before the penalty kicks in.  Then the process begins over again… and again… and again.  It’s just helping those who build bad links to undo their work before they get penalised.

    I wrote a quick blog on putting an end to negative SEO the other day, feel free to take a look http://ampedsocial.com/has-google-found-the-answer-to-negative-seo/

  • http://www.facebook.com/Savinder.Dhiman Savinder Dhiman

    Thanks for Sharing this nice information.

  • Peter Kern

    Show me the website which recovered after receiving the message from Google (but the website which has unnatural link warning message not simple problem with external links on the website) . People are just gone crazy with removing links and believing what M.Cutts or other gig has to say. And yet a lot of spammy websites with black hat seo methods still rank well and they laugh at your faces.

    ==
      If you’d rather risk that because you’re worried about Google bats infecting your coffee with rohypnol through your mouse cable, go ahead! 
    ==
    Is it supposed to be funny? because they DID hacked to wireless networks and collected some data! It is FACT. they explanation? oh we did it by mistake wow:) Do you believe them?

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    Here’s a pretty good example - http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-wpmuorg-recovered-from-the-penguin-update

    I think you may have not had the same experience as many of us back in Feb/March.  If you got an “unnatural links” message back then, Google tended to give you about 2 weeks to get rid of them (or at least demonstrate that you had made reasonable attempts to do so).  If you didn’t take action, you got a penalty.

    So, if you get the ‘warning’ message rather than the ‘advisory’ referred to above, you do need to take action.  If you think it’s an unfair warning, challenge it in a reconsideration request and argue your case.  Chances are, though, that you’ll end up going through your backlink profile and getting dodgy ones removed.

  • Peter Kern

    Sorry but this example doesn’t proof anything. 26th may when they recovered it is a date when another major google algo update took place. Removing links is the worst thing you can do. It is not even really possible if you did some link building or somebody did negative SEO to your website. 

  • http://twitter.com/MtAdamsADesign Aranzamendez Design

    I’m still thankful I’m not receiving this messages from Google even if my clients website ranking is very inconsistent.. Well, we should delete all the previous bad links pointing to our site as soon as possible.

  • scottdennison

    Mark – I agree with your point, however Google never gave any ideas on how to remove links they did not like. I was one who did you a blog network that got blown up, and there was no way to get those links removed. All 3 sites that we used this for were hammered. Why doesn’t 
    Google just provide a way to disavow the links you don’t want – almost like pruning a plant?

  • http://twitter.com/SEOWaterman David Waterman SEO

    I wonder if this is Google’s way of tricking people into outing themselves as having done black hat linking tactics. Send tons of notices stating you may have bad links and if they see they all start to get quickly removed, you’re penalized instead. Hmmmm.

  • http://www.facebook.com/besthotsauce Jon Good

    You know it is kind of funny, I never received one of these messages, but yet I lost ranking for my main keyword in Google for my site http://www.the-best-hot-sauce.com.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sheilacruzeforcontentaxis Sheila Cruze

    Why don’t Google comes up with a system where publishers and webmasters could disavow ir-relevant links. I guess It could make our job easier and convenient. Last month Bing came up with such a facility where publishers could disavow links that they deem irrelevant.

  • http://twitter.com/ContentAxis Content Axis

    But how could someone dare to remove Google Analytics and GWT when much of your traffic and customers are coming through Google. I wish we could have another search engine that could give tough competition to Google

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    Sorry but this is garbage. We’ll have to agree to disagree!

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    Hi Scott,

    Sorry to hear you got hit.  However, from my experience, Google did provide instructions on how to remove links – they suggested you check your backlink profile to identify bad links, then contact webmasters to request their removal.  Obviously they knew that many would fall on deaf ears, however if you could provide proof (lists of sites, copies of emails) then they would make a decision based on that.  If you pressed them, sometimes they would provide examples of bad links (which I believe they should have done in the first place, for the non-tech savvy and people who may have unwittingly employed a dodgy SEO company).

    Admittedly what they didn’t do was tell you ‘how’ to check your backlinks, because at that time they didn’t allow you to download backlinks in GWT.  They relied on people knowing about and having access to OSE or Majestic.  I’m not saying it wasn’t a massive pain in the neck, but clearly it was intended to put people off building bad links again.

  • http://trafficdigital.com/ Mark Hughes

    P.S. that update on 25th May was, to quote Matt Cutts, a “‘data refresh’ that impacts less than one-tenth of a percent of English-language searches.” That’s 0.1% – a one in a thousand chance that the update resulted in the recovery.

    See http://searchengineland.com/google-pushes-first-penguin-algorithm-update-122518.

  • Patrick Bonnes

    That also means that the competition can sabotage the links to their competitors!

    That is scary and saves the wrong target!

    But, the more Google changes the algortim, the more we are able to learn about Google’s algortitm.

  • Bruno M. Picinini

    Best title ever!

  • http://twitter.com/Foreignbrides Garrett Williams

    Does this mean that if you did not get the warnings or whatever from Google your linking is ok? I must have some other problem then because I was slammed by penguin.  Could be spammy onsite links.

  • http://twitter.com/yogaonline Allan Hall

    I think that there is another factor to this .

     I had a site that got hit by penguin where  it was mostly natural links. It lost 50 % of Impressions in WMT .   Thre was no link warning for this site.    This is consistent with what you are saying about devalued and rather just an algorithmic change.

    Then I had another  site  that was not hit with penguin  but got the first link warning and subsequently lost 50% of its impresions in WMT .  just after pengiun

    Both are smaller niche sites one promoted via linking the other not but a lot of natural links from our provide code from the site ( alot the same) .  So there was good seperation between the 2 .  Maybe there is a lot of combonations of the 2  going on with sites at the same time hence the confusion.