Over the weekend, Google has informed many webmasters with suspected unnatural outbound links on their sites about manual actions that were taken. The webmasters have been informed that the links on their sites are no longer trusted.
In the respective mail, Google tells the webmasters about suspicious link patterns on their sites. The mail text says:
"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 on your site. This manual spam action has been applied to [...]. To fix this, remove the unnatural links on your site and file a reconsideration request. After we determine that you have complied with our guidelines, we will remove this manual action."
Google has set up a special help page for issues regarding unnatural outbound links. There you can find instructions what to do if you are affected by such a Google warning:
- Identify all the links on your site that were paid for or that possibly breach Google's Webmaster Guidelines - e.g. excessive link exchanges
- Remove the links or change them in a way that they no longer can pass PageRank. You can to this by either setting a rel="nofollow" attribute for those links or by redirecting to a page that is blocked by robots.txt.
After this you can file a reconsideration request and ask for verification by Google. As long as the manual actions withstand, the outbound links on the respective site won't pass any PageRank.
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