Notice of Unnatural Links

You know your blog is visited by hundreds of people daily and then it hit you!  Google sent you an email with the subject line: “Google Webmaster Tools notice of detected unnatural links to (your website)”.

Unnatural links. What’s that supposed to mean?

Apparently, Google has detected that you’ve been engaging to what they call “unnatural linking practices.” Link building is a common practice done by many web masters and web owners. This helps them build their reputation in search engines, thus helping them increase their page rankings. However, there are times that webmasters fail to do it correctly. Webmasters who have done incorrect link building often times find their sites penalized by Google.

When it comes to link building, it is essential to engage in the right practices. Make sure that your link building practice complies with Google Webmasters Guidelines. has written the following three reminders to help you avoid getting your site penalized by the Big G:

How to avoid Unnatural Links

  • Reciprocal sites should be relevant to what you offer and should be sites with high quality content.
  • Avoid Link Farming or Link Farms
  • Paid links needs to be obvious

1. Reciprocal Linking should be relevant

Reciprocal links or sites that you’re linking to should be relevant to your website. For example, your site is about “wedding gowns,” make sure that the web owner who’s trying to reciprocate links with you owns a site that is relevant to your readers. Therefore, you can link to a site that sells “wedding accessories” or offers “wedding photography” services.
Relevance is a good point to keep in mind, but you also need to make sure that the site you’re reciprocating links or exchanging with is of good quality. The site that you’re linking to should not be spammy and it should also not contain untrusted content. In fact, Google advises web owners to use no follow if you cannot vouch for the links that you add to your site.

In any case, let the other web owner know to add your site as no follow.  This doesn’t have to be a complicated conversation, and you don’t even have to know how to use it, just send them the code to use when linking, and create your code similar to this:

No follow Link Example:
<a href=” rel= “nofollow” title=”My Site Name”> This is my site</a>.
In a non-techie term the “no follow” attributes actually tells the Google crawler not to follow link.

2.  Avoid Link farming

Link farming is basically a technique wherein the web owner tries to manipulate his/her site’s search engine ranking by trying to get as many sites to link to his/her website. In other words, if you’re a web owner, avoid excessive linking or asking other web owners to add your website link to theirs. Link farms contain nothing but excessive links and their main goal is to manipulate their site’s search engine rankings.
A note for giveaways and reciprocal linking
We have recently found that the common practice of “link to my site” for an extra entry into my giveaway can lead Google to believe that you’re link farming.  Clearly, this is a common practice, and the intent is NOT to manipulate search engines, but rather to gain more visibility for your giveaway.  The correct way to do this, is to include a link code that your giveaway participants can use that includes the nofollow attribute – see the no follow link example above.
Another problem is many web owners aren’t aware that their links are being added to link farms. Linking to bad neighbors as they call it will definitely hurt your rankings and can potentially have your site penalized.

3.  Paid links needs to be obvious

We wrote detailed instructions on Google’s requirements for Paid / Reciprocal links here: How to use NoFollow.   Always be sure to follow the guidelines provided by Google and to write for your readers, not search engines.

Ethical SEO

Our position on Search Engine Optimization is and will always be – first and foremost – ETHICAL.  To us, this means not trying to trick, scheme, pull one over, design or otherwise have the intent to fool the search engines.  

We believe, with the likes of Copyblogger, Yoast, StudioPress, ProBlogger and WordPress, that a focus on content, readership, and quality will ultimately lead to a site people can use and love.   It is Google’s stated goal to always provide the most relevant and the best content to any searcher. And a site that people can use and love is a site that will do well no matter what algorithm Google comes up with.
So, even though you have to use nofollow tags on lots of links, the focus is and always should be – creating a site that readers use and love.

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  1. says

    Great blog, Just wanted to comment that i can not connect to the rss stream, you might want install the right wordpress plugin for that to workthat.

    • admin says

      Thank you Sophie. I’ve had a problem with the feed lately. I am sending the blog updates via my newsletter temporarily until its fixed! Thanks so much for letting me know!! Appreciate it tons! ~Cathy


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