As for now Google is messaging sites which had been flagged for unnatural outbound links, it clearly means that these website were suspected of either selling links, or were attempting to optimize other sites with help of inappropriate linking. Read on to know more in detail.

It’s just been few months that Google had penalized a large Japanese-Based link network and again last weekend wasn’t a great time for many. Reason being, a large number of websites were hit by Google with the all new manual action penalties. Well, it isn’t that new, because it is not the first time Google has done something similar to this. Earlier also it has issued unnatural link penalties, but this time this particular penalty is in concern with the outbound links. Yes, the source site was penalized, but not the site it was being linked to!

Google Penalty for Unnatural Outbound Linking


Certainly, this is another smart move by Google. Doing so, it is trying to put the onus on the site by generating the links. Things appeared easier to those shady marketers who used negative SEO to compete with their contender’s website. But this fairer approach of policing the link spam on the web seems to be fruitful.

Read out the message from Google to the site owners:

“Google has detected a pattern of links from your site to other sites that is either unnatural or irrelevant.  This pattern attempts to artificially boost other sites’ ranking in Google Search results. Such unnatural ranking would cause search results to show preferences for results not relevant to the user’s actual query.  It also violates Google Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore, we are discounting the trust in links to your site. This manual spam action has been applied to <site name>.  To fix this, remove the unnatural links to your site and file a reconsideration request. After we determine that you have complied with our guidelines, we will remove this manual action.”

The majority of the sites to be affected were blogs and that too with lower competition niches. Now, let’s look at the after effects:

Will there be a Decline in Organic Traffic?

For now there is no indication about the penalty impacting the rankings or traffic. Also, no official statement has been given by Google regarding the specific links being targeted. It is not specified whether these penalties will result in the site being blacklisted, or bumped in the SERPs. And, no reports of a rankings loss have appeared due to the penalty.

So, it is clear that rankings will not be impacted much. But, there are chances that it might take time for search results to reflect the penalties. But Google mentioned that it will “discount” the trust of the websites links. Hence, it might have a systemic impact on the sites with large number of these links.

Will it Affect the Current Link Building Strategy?

The concept of “unnatural link” is very much clear by Google. Thus, in case your link building strategy sounds appears to be similar to that of a link scheme, it is highly recommended to update your methodologies. Another thing you can do is disclose whenever the links are paid/sponsored or promotional.  Besides those editorial links and manually acquired links, make sure to maintain a distance with the method of passing PageRank to URLs in forums, badges, comments, directories, user profile pages, and press releases.

What is the Solution to Penalty?

The good thing is that these kind of manual penalties are much easier to sort out when compared to the algorithmic penalties, like that of Panda, Penguin, etc. This time Google is pretty clear about what aspects of the site violate the webmaster guidelines. So, what you can do is compile a list of all outbound links on your site, followed by either removal of the spammy links, or addition of a “nofollow” tag to them. After this, when you are done with the cleanup of the outbound link profile, submit a reconsideration request to Google. Don’t forget to attach the explanation of what you fixed!

It is clear now that Google is becoming strict day by day and marketers need to be more aware about their strategies.

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