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Google Webmaster Tools Notice Of Detected Unnatural Links

If you have ever received this notice from Google through the web master tool (you’re not alone Google has sent 700,000 messages in the past 2 months) then you will know how difficult life is about to become for the site owner.Typically the message will read along the lines of ….


“Dear site owner or webmaster of,
We’ve detected that some of your site’s pages may be using techniques that are outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you’ve made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google’s search results.
If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.”

eCommweb provide a service analysing the links and getting them removed. Its not a quick and easy task, so unsurprisingly its not a cheap process. The reports are £950, the clean up process is priced according to the amount of work required and is costed hourly. As a guide, we have found that it takes around an hour per ten links, but it may take longer if domain owners are unresponsive or hard to find. You can buy the report here.

It is often a real give away when there are many that use similar IP addresses which are also affected. Therefore we investigate and group by IP address so if many of these links share a similar IP Range (C) classes (a.b.d.c.x) and hosting company then they are networks owned by one entity, so if you can make contact you could possibly get many links removed at once.

“We know that perhaps not every link can be cleaned up, but in order to deem a reconsideration request as successful, we need to see a substantial good-faith effort to remove the links, and this effort should result in a decrease in the number of bad links that we see.” GOOGLE

You have no choice but to clean up as many of the incoming links to your site, but which links?
In order to avoid penalising yourself by getting rid of links with value, and surely there will be plenty of those, then you need to analyse what is out there before you start. Google will not tell you which links are the problem, you must find them for yourself.

How To Identify An Unnatural Link:

Banned Domains

Incoming links to the site from domains that have been banned by Google, which are bad neighbourhood links and will hold back your good SEO work, forcing you to work much harder to overcome them.

Make every effort to get the links on these pages removed. Check for low trust domains that can be classified as spam links. Mostly bad directory and article sites, usually are poor, non-relevant link farms. We establish how many other links are coming from them to check if the are relevant and trustworthy.

We recommend removing any links like these where they are not relevant and show signs of being not trusted by Google. Calculated by working out the number of pages found on the domains by third party sources and comparing that with the number of pages indexed by Google If a domain has 500 pages and Google only display 10 of their pages (less than 10%) then that’s a strong signal that Google do not trust that domain.

Links On None-indexed pages

These are links from actual pages that are not indexed at all by Google. This could be for a variety of reasons but usually because of lack of trust and spam being detected Check why these pages are not being indexed and how you got these links. Have them removed as these bad neighbourhood links will result in Google applying penalties to your domain.

Duplicate IP Addresses

IP addresses where there are other domains which also have the same IP and are linking to you. Ideally you want to have each link from a unique IP address otherwise Google will limit the amount of Juice they allow to be passed from one IP to another. Often when these are detected they are banned.

Site-wide Links

Site-wide links which is a link on many pages of a domain, are a problem. Site-wide links can cause a site to accumulate penalties which prevent it from performing well. Ideally avoid any site wide links. Try and remove the largest offenders first.

Over Optimisation Penalty

By having too many links using the same anchor text causes penalties. If it is your brand name, it shouldn’t cause any problem.

Back Link History

Ideally looking for a natural progression of links, avoiding spikes and dips which would indicate an unnatural link acquisition. Such spikes and dips will lower your sites trustrank and this is one of the most important metrics.

Un-indexed Pages

Pages that have been un-indexed by Google. Various possible reasons why Google might have decided not to index pages, it could be where you have removed these pages for some reason and the data from third party sources is being compared with is not fresh enough thereby showing false positives.                                                                                                      It could also be unimportant pages like logins, feeds, or sitemaps etc. which Google has a policy of not indexing. If these are pages which should be indexed and you do want them to be ranked in the SERPs, then this is a more serious issue since landing pages you have set up to capture traffic which have been un-indexed means you have raised a suspicion with Google who have decided they do not like these pages. These pages may have picked up a penalty for some reason, or maybe the whole site lacks trust, or maybe the domain could be lacking Juice and needs more PR weighted links to these specific pages to encourage Google rank them. Alternatively it could be that the content on these pages is educated or too close to content on similar pages and Google have un-indexed them because they are not undue or don’t add anything “further to the debate”.

Unclaimed Juice Finder

Pages missing from historical data but with links pointing to them resulting in lost Juice
Incorrect redirects (302s instead of 301s) needing correct 301 redirects point the Juice to the home page or relevant pages to avoid loosing the Juice from these links (which currently goes nowhere). A 302 Redirect is a temporary redirect and passes 0% of link juice (ranking power) and in most cases should not be used, instead use a 301 Redirect – 302s are typically found on incorrectly redirected non www to www.

Pagerank Hoarding

If your site has one outbound link on every twenty pages, you will find your site being penalised for failing to link out naturally to other domains. Google sees content without citations, that’s outbound links, as thin and low quality. It’s a signal to Google that your site is hoarding PageRank and the intended aim of this is to manipulate the SERPs by unnaturally not linking out to other resources, thereby creating a dead end when bots crawl your domain. Hoarding Pagerank has become common since Google introduced Pagerank and people saw the value of links.

Ideally have at least two relevant and natural outbound links for every page you have indexed on your domain to be seen as “adding value to the debate”. You can see how many pages your site has indexed in Google by using the operator within Google.

How To Get Bad Links Removed

There is no escaping from the fact that removing bad links is a very difficult task. It can be made easier by identifying groups of domains which are controlled by the same person. In this way you can remove large batches of links in one go. A simple request to remove the links in conjunction with offering a payment to the site owner to remove the links may have the required result.

If you are unable to contact the website owner or they do not respond, we recommend contacting the hosting company, claiming that the domain in question is breaching your copyright and that you will be taking legal action against the hosts, who are also liable, if it is not removed.