More threads by Dave


Nov 19, 2012
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Across the web many sites have been hit by penalties via google. The sites will get messages through Webmaster tools (WMT) that look like this: (website name removed and replaced by YourUrl)

"Webmaster Tools sent you the following important messages about sites in your account. To keep your site healthy, we recommend regularly reviewing these messages and addressing any critical issues. Unnatural inbound linksGoogle has detected a pattern of artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site.Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank are violations of Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to There may be other actions on your site or parts of your site.
Recommended action

  • Use the Links to Your Site feature in Webmaster Tools to download a list of links to your site.
  • Ensure that unnatural links pointing to your site are removed.
  • When these changes are made, and you are satisfied that links to your site follow Google's Webmaster Guidelines, submit a reconsideration request. If you're unable to remove links pointing to your site, please provide as much detail as possible in your reconsideration request.
  • For an updated list of manual actions currently applied to your site, visit the Manual Actions page. If no manual actions are listed, there is no longer a need to file a reconsideration request.

If we determine your site is no longer in violation of our guidelines, we'll revoke the manual action.

Webmasters who have confronted this issue and cleaned up sites with these penalties have found that sitewides are often the cause of this penalty. Of course if google can tell you are buying links or engaged in other link schemes they will hit you with this penalty email.

I have local site(s) that fall in this environment. But they didn't get penalty letters.

They have site wides. In a couple of cases the sitewides totally dominate total links as reported by WMT. Yet the sites didn't get hit by a WMT penalty.

The sitewides are of a certain character though. One type comes from directories or IYP's. The IYP could have generated hundreds or thousands of pages for business type/town. Then they create a page for every town in a metropolitan region. The larger and more towns in a region the more pages from an IYP.

The other type that has dominated have been links from local sources such as meetup(s) dot com. Very active meetup groups can publish every day.

But they are local and they deliver actual traffic that is sticky. The IYP's do also.

In any case my local sites haven't been hit by the penalties. I went so far as to contact WMT through their forms asking about this issue. I didn't get a response email.

I queried a few local SEO's. None have reported local sites being hit by this type of penalty.

Have any of your clients been hit by this penalty. Do any of your clients have enormous number of site wides per WMT?


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