Google now identifying "unnatural" back links

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  1. relache profile image73
    relacheposted 12 years ago

    If trying to get as many backlinks as humanly possible, no matter where you get them, is part of your web traffic strategy you might want to watch your email inbox for a letter from Google... … -SEO-World

    1. heleineoman profile image59
      heleineomanposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      yeah. this is where the "survival of the fittest" theory enters the world wide web. I wish great luck for the website owners. Google stays cool in this terrific generation of world wide network.

    2. Jenna Pope profile image60
      Jenna Popeposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Just one more thing from the Big G. I'm not surprised.

  2. Cagsil profile image70
    Cagsilposted 12 years ago

    Thank you Relache. smile

  3. authorfriendly profile image63
    authorfriendlyposted 12 years ago

    Thanks Relache
    It's hard to fathom that they may be doing manual verification on that scale, but if so it really is a game changer. By the way can someone explain what right rails is referring to in that piece?

    1. ktrapp profile image91
      ktrappposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      By right rail they mean right column.

  4. Randy Godwin profile image61
    Randy Godwinposted 12 years ago

    No problem for me!  I don't bother with it because it's not my job!  tongue


  5. lrohner profile image68
    lrohnerposted 12 years ago

    No, Google is not manually assessing backlinks. Its algorithm looks for patterns that it thinks may be "unnatural." Backlinks are still the best measurement any search engine has, and are one of the most important aspects of SEO.

    That notice that Google sent out went to bajillions of webmasters. It's a phishing expedition. Read it again. If you still don't get it, let me translate it for you:

    "Mr. Webmaster, this is Google. You seem to have a lot of backlinks, and we think some of them may not be organic, but we really have no way of knowing. Why don't you make things easier and just tell me. If you're a nice little webmaster and give up the goose, we'll keep on letting you earn pennies."

    Anyone who fell for that letter shouldn't be in the business. Full stop. Google is just waiting for tons of webmasters to either tell them where they got backlinks from so it can shut the sites down, or watching to see if they go on a wild backlink-deleting spree so that Google can do a comparison and find out where they backlinked from. That's all.

    I don't really do backlinking either, but seriously....who would fall for that??? For anyone who did, my Dad was a wealthy cocoa merchant who was poisoned by my uncle and I need help getting $1000000 million dollars out of the country. Can you help? smile

    1. Marisa Wright profile image87
      Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Agreed.  For those who don't know, the purpose of this is to find and take down paid backlinking networks. 

      These are services where you pay to place blog posts on a large network of blogs, linking back to your site.  Google disapproves because you're not supposed to be paying for links.  The problem for Google is that they don't know which blogs are in the networks, and those emails are a phishing expedition to get webmasters to turn informer.

      I don't like the underhanded tactics, but I think it'll be a good thing if Google does shut down the worst of these networks.  90% of them have a network of horrible, garbage blogs because so many webmasters don't want to "waste" a quality article just to get a link, so they throw together some awful rubbish, or use spun content.  They're the sewers of the internet and I'll be glad to see them go! 

      However as usual, I fear there will be babies thrown out with the bathwater and there will be some good networks, where bloggers cooperate to create backlinks on quality blogs, that will also be affected.

      1. lrohner profile image68
        lrohnerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        Marisa, I had to read this a few times to realize that you had edited what I said. Is there a reason why you eliminated my statement that I "don't really do backlinking either?"

        1. Marisa Wright profile image87
          Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Just for brevity.  Increasingly, I'm noticing people not reading posts in their entirety so I'm trying to keep things short wherever possible!

          I didn't think that whether or not you use these services was relevant to what you said.  Though I can see why you felt the need to say so, I guess.

    2. Will Apse profile image87
      Will Apseposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      The fact that links are still important for Google in ranking a page is the reason they will keep grinding and grinding away at the problem of manufactured back links.

      Quoting from above: No, Google is not manually assessing backlinks.

      This is obviously untrue. Report a site for using spammy backlinks and it will get a manual review. Plenty of webmasters in the Google forums will testify to that.

      If a reputable Google spokes person says that those recent warning emails were manually generated it would need a lot of evidence to convince me that they weren't. It is hardly worth of the loss of reputation if it was revealed to be untrue (far too little to gain).

      Unfortunately, the article that Relache pointed out gives no reference for the 'million emails' which would be a staggering number if manually generated. The link to the Google guy who was supposed to have said that they were manually generated is also pretty poor- the issue is not mentioned on the page.

      Did any of this stuff come from Google?

      Frankly, it is a lousy article. Only the email from Google is worth taking note of. Lets hope searchenginewatch managed to reproduce it accurately.

      The message is pretty clear: unnatural backlinks are going to be an increasing liability.

      1. Marisa Wright profile image87
        Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        True, but that's not what is being discussed here. What's being discussed is that hundreds (thousands?) of webmasters have been receiving warning emails, all at the same time.  It seems as though there are too many of them, in this particular exercise for each website to have received a completely  manual review.

        However, the main thing is that I've yet to come across anyone who received one of those emails and hadn't been submitting links to backlinking services, RSS feed sites, directories etc on a large scale.  So I doubt if it will affect the majority of Hubbers.

    3. SimeyC profile image88
      SimeyCposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I would help, but I'm busy inheriting my Nigerian Uncle(s) money - apparently I have a lot of family in Nigeria and they are all dying - is someone murdering them perhaps!

      Being more serious, I try and take anything Google says with a pinch of salt these days - it seems that they change their algorithm daily (hourly? every minute) - so trying to stay ahead of the game is pointless - I'll just clean up my content, improve it and hope that does the trick.

      1. Mark Ewbie profile image80
        Mark Ewbieposted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I believe the game is don't game. 

        I have never played the backlinks game - seems to be an army of pointless spammers pointlessly spamming.  Maybe it worked once, but then every bit of crap gets shared across the net - what's the point?

        Google needs a search engine delivering quality results not gamed stuff.

        My traffic is up.  Presumably because a lot of my link spamming competitors are down.  I'm happy about that.

    4. sonnys profile image39
      sonnysposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      So, you must work at Google to be privy to their internal workings? (rolls eyes)

  6. alipuckett profile image73
    alipuckettposted 12 years ago

    Yikes!  From reading the article, it doesn't seem like they've been able to define exactly what makes a link 'unnatural'.

  7. relache profile image73
    relacheposted 12 years ago

    One factor to backlinks that Google has recently confirmed, which doesn't need to be manually checked, is time/date.  When those backlinks got created is now a bigger factor and organic vs inorganic becomes pretty obvious.  Sending out that email is going to give some of the more legit people who got caught up in the "go create lots of backlinks" trend a chance to clean up their act before they lose their accounts.

    1. lrohner profile image68
      lrohnerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Using time/date to assess backlinks is nothing new, unless I'm not understanding you correctly. That's why savvy SEO people have always trickled backlinks to their sites instead of dumping tons at once.

      But imagine if Google did use the time/date of backlinks alone to determine validity. Just think about all of those videos that have gone viral and literally wound up with thousands of backlinks in just a day or two. Or a newsy article about a just-happening event that also gets tons of links in one day.... Heck, all I would really need to do then is to set aside some time one day to build a gajillion links from questionable sites to my biggest competitor, and I'd be the clear winner! smile

  8. PaulGoodman67 profile image94
    PaulGoodman67posted 12 years ago

    Does Google consider the extra "link juice" generated by sites like HubPages as "gaming the system" is the big question.

    1. lrohner profile image68
      lrohnerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      I'm not sure I understand what you mean, Paul. Are you talking about HubPages being more of an "authority" site than a no-name blog and passing that along in the strength of the links?

      1. janderson99 profile image52
        janderson99posted 12 years agoin reply to this

        I guess the referral is to 'internal links' within a sub and 'internal' links between subs within the HP URL (related hubs). Google has always dealt with 'internal' links different from 'external' ones. Many other site have a sub-domain structure. It is interesting if you run a   links:    type search on Google, it displays many of the related hubs for your page (different subs) and so these related links on the site must have some juice. It also shows internal links between hubs within a sub.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image87
          Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          I still don't quite understand how our sub-domains relate to the main domain.

          Surely our setup now is the same as Blogger, Weebly etc.  I doubt whether Google regards links from one Blogger blog to another as "internal"?

        2. lrohner profile image68
          lrohnerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

          Honestly? Your response makes zero sense to me. If I do a Google search on my subdomain using the "links:" parameter, it will show me some of the sites/pages that link to mine. WTH does that have to do with link juice?

          1. janderson99 profile image52
            janderson99posted 12 years agoin reply to this

            Try doing it with one of your articles not your sub. Also try it for a page that has a high PR (it does not have to be your own!!!). The intention was to show that both 'internal' links within a sub and between subs have been picked up by the googlebot and given a score to contribute to Page Rank. The 'internal' links probably get a discounted score, but still relate to the PR of the source page. - so each is a drop of juice and the more drops the bigger the total juice - the more the merrier. Links between subs are probably 'internal' but worth more than links within a sub - that's my guess

            links shown with the "link:" operator => shows a sample links.
            links shown in Google Webmaster Tools  => much more detailed information.
            But neither show all the links

            1. lrohner profile image68
              lrohnerposted 12 years agoin reply to this

              You've detailed a lot of, um, stuff, but you never answered my question. WTH does that have to do with "link juice?" Do you even know what it is? Do you know what contributes to it?

              BTW, those are both hypothetical questions. I do know the answers.

              1. janderson99 profile image52
                janderson99posted 12 years agoin reply to this

                why ask

                both hypothetical questions. I do know the answers.

                what a stupid waste of time!

                1. PaulGoodman67 profile image94
                  PaulGoodman67posted 12 years agoin reply to this

                  I was just throwing stuff out there.  Despite the slang terminology, it was a serious question for consideration, however, so I appreciate serious responses.

                  "Surely our setup now is the same as Blogger?"  Marissa - I fail to to see how you could possibly come to that conclusion.  I guess you are thinking purely of the subdom thing, but this thread is about linkage.  Blogger doesn't split articles into topic related categories and then automatically give you lots of extra links like related articles, groups etc and that's just the obvious overt stuff. 

                  Paul E argues that the HP structure is entirely unique and I have to say that I agree with him.  That brings advantages and makes HP a leader, but also leaves it a little vulnerable, should Google to decide to target and penalize it (again) using its algo updates. 

                  I am not drawing any conclusions.  Just raising possibilities for discussion.  I thought it was an interesting question to ask, anyway.

                  1. Marisa Wright profile image87
                    Marisa Wrightposted 12 years agoin reply to this

                    My post was in response to janderson's, who was referring to links within HubPages as internal links.  I didn't think they were.

                    I recall a long forum thread where it was explained that if sub-domains are "owned" by different people (as in our case or as on Blogger), Google regards each sub-domain as a separate site.  That's why splitting HubPages into separate sub-domains worked.

                    HubPages is unique because it interconnects all those sub-domains, as you say - but if each sub-domain is a separate site, like Blogger, then all those links are external, aren't they?

    2. sonnys profile image39
      sonnysposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Are you talking about links from your hub to an external site, like your blog?
      Until Hubpages suffers from massive deindexing, then those are still valuable as they are prescreened already by hubpages. I believe they are as important as ever.

  9. thedigger profile image58
    thediggerposted 12 years ago

    Google says make quality backlinks and I noticed few quality backlinks are more important than thousands for comment spam links. These type of links are unnatural and these backlinks will hurt our ranking. Google also clears that in the next few days, website ranks well with low quality backlinks will penalized. The best strategy is quality content and quality backlinks from relevant themes.

    1. sonnys profile image39
      sonnysposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Best strategy is to use a buffer site between your site and the spammy links, then hammer the daylights out of that one.


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