SEO News: Google De-Indexes Sites, Warning of ‘Unnatural Links’
Some of you online folk that have been pushing your sites within the search results, or those that have someone do this on your behalf, may be aware of Google sending messages within Webmaster Tools suggesting that they have detected ‘unnatural links’. This can be alarming if you’re not expecting it – and rightly so!
The message often comes as a result of utilising what is known as ‘network spam’ – a network of poor quality sites used to manipulate PageRank – although can also come as part of an intensive link building strategy or heavily occurring use of ‘exact match’ anchor text in links.
What is the result of these messages? Well, some people appear to have received the message but nothing has yet happened to the sites – they are the lucky ones. Others have dropped in their rankings or been completely de-indexed. It seems that whichever case applies to you, you need to seriously rethink your strategy. Google is onto you.
Over the years people have built up huge networks of blogs within their specialist niche or across all niches so that they can build up the authority of these sites and ‘sell’ links on them or use them to push their own sites authority – something that can quickly become quite spammy, particularly if the quality of the sites are not kept to a high standard with users in mind.
Many of these networks were poorly categorised, covered every niche you could think of and every post had 2-3 links, often to the same site or network of sites. Some also used ‘spun’ content, which took an existing article or text and replaced the majority of words with synonyms, which made the article completely unreadable – with Google working both spelling and grammar into their ranking algorithm these will be highlighted very quickly if they have so far gone under the radar.
The idea behind the move is to remove a lot of the ‘rubbish’ that’s out there on the internet and build further on the idea of delivering quality over anything else. With users in mind, only sites that users will want to use will remain – those sites that add value and engage with visitors, blasting poor quality search-engine-focused sites into oblivion.
Been hit? There is a way out but it takes grovelling and a serious rethink of your strategy. You can read more on this on the SEOmoz blog posts on advice for unnatural link warnings and how to recover from bad links.