Are you among the many who received an Unnatural Links Warning?
It is no secret that Google does not want people to do spammy things to artificially manipulate the search results. Over the past few weeks there have been major crack-downs on link building networks, including a manual penalty against MyBlogGuest and possibly its users.
Whether or not you agree with Google’s policy, “it is what it is”. If you want to be included in the search results in a good way, you have to follow the rules.
Unfortunately, many people jump right into online marketing without becoming familiar with Google’s Guidelines. Or maybe they trusted an SEO company to do the right things and follow the guidelines. Many SEO companies do not do that – sometimes it is on purpose, sometimes it is because they don’t really know much more about SEO than their clients.
As a result, webmasters have seen a surge in “unnatural links” warnings and manual actions coming through Google’s Webmaster Tools. If you have been accepting guest posts that are really not very good, or appear elsewhere, and you included whatever links the author inserted into the articles – you may have already been warned about a manual action for “unnatural outbound links”. If you have been guest posting anywhere and everywhere, you may have seen something about “unnatural inbound links”. Neither warnings should be taken lightly.
What To Do About An Unnatural Links Warning
Finger pointing is not helpful, though it may make you feel better.
The thing to do now is fix the problem, not the blame.
Lifting an Unnatural Outbound Links penalty should be relatively easy, unless there are hundreds or thousands of them. Depending on your non-SEO needs and the needs of your guest authors, it could be as simple as removing all of those suspect links from your site. If you really don’t want to remove them, apply the “nofollow” tag to them, as was advised when Google’s Matt Cutts proclaimed guest blogging for links as being “done”. If nofollow is not an option because you want to give credit where credit is due, at least check those links to make sure they are not too spammy in their usage of keywords.
Clean them all up, go back to Webmaster Tools and submit a reconsideration request in the Manual Actions section that is under the Search Traffic section in the left sidebar.
Unnatural Incoming Links can be more difficult. You’ll need to contact the people who operate the sites where the links appear and ask them nicely to remove them. If they can not or will not, you will need to use the Disavow Links Tool to ask Google to not count them.
Where this can become more complicated is when you are not sure which links are really the problem. You can try sifting through all of the links to your site using link discovery tools like ahrefs.com, majesticseo.com, or more advanced link clean-up tools like linkresearchtools.com. The tricky part, even with the guidance you get from something like linkresearchtools, is knowing what makes a link good or bad. Be careful not to remove or disavow good links that are really helpful.
If you do not have the time to go through that, or are not confident in your ability to do a thorough link cleanup, Ker Communications can help. While we have never been penalized, no matter how hard our competitors tried to make that happen, we know how to find and neutralize bad links and get those penalties removed.