Unnatural outbound linking and Google Search Console

So the time has come, when not only your inbound link profile can significantly damage your website’s organic rankings, but also how you link externally. Google has just started to send multiple Manual Action notifications to webmasters, regarding unnatural outbound linking, which violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

The issue was highlighted by Search Engine Land on the 11th of April, when Barry Schwartz, a permanent SEL news editor, wrote a short article summarizing what was happening during the second weekend of April, when some portion of webmasters received a new message in their Search Console message box. The e-mail read:

If you see this message on the Manual Actions page, it means that Google has detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative outbound links. […]

As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to the affected portions of your site.

 

Evergreen SEO practices: Google Webmaster Guidelines

Some of you may remember, Google was always stating, that

Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

In other words, if you have a website, you need to make sure all the sponsored links are either absent or marked as nofollow (so PageRank is not passed on). See what Matt Catts says about the issue on the official Google video:

Now, after some bloggers decided to publish unnatural links around their blogs in exchange for free products (which was also described by Search Engine Land), it seems that for Google enough is enough and all the people who work in SEO or website administration could potentially get incoming messages on unnatural outbound linking more often than in the past.

Google Webmaster Guidelines: Unnatural Linking

I have received a notification. What should I do?

If you think that you’ve received a penalty from Google, our recommendation is to log into Google Search Console and check if there are any new messages in the Messages section. If there is a penalty message, you will need to:

  • Identify unnatural links on your site
  • Remove or mark them as nofollow
  • Submit a reconsideration request

We all know it can take some time for a website to be considered “spam-free”, so you will have to be patient for the last step of the process.

If you are still struggling with this issue, you can contact the Innovation Visual team, who will assist you in getting rid of this penalty. If you have any questions you would like to ask us, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

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