What Unnatural Outbound Link Penalties Could Mean for the Future of SEO


As SEOs, we often find ourselves facing new changes implemented by the search engines influencing how our clients’ sites perform in the SERPs. With each change, it is important that we look beyond its immediate impact and reflect on its future implications so that we can try to answer this question: “If I were Google, why I do this”

Recently, Google implemented a series of manual penalties that affected sites deemed unnatural outbound links. Webmaster concerned have received messages like this in Google Webmaster Tools:

Outbound Links Google Penalty

Webmasters were notified in an email that Google had detected a pattern of “outbound links artificial, deceptive or manipulative.” The manual work himself described the relationship as either “against nature or irrelevant.”

The answers varied webmasters extreme in their usual fashion, with recommendations ranging from “do nothing” to “nofollow each outgoing link on your site.”

John Mueller of Google products posted in forums that you do not have nofollow every link on your site, but you should focus on nofollowing links that point to a product, sales page or social media following a exchange.

Now for the fun part of being an SEO: look at a problem and trying to reverse engineer Google’s intentions to decipher the implications this could have on our industry, customers, and strategy.

The purpose of this post is not to decry these opinions it was specifically focused on bloggers who have placed links dofollow comments on product / business, but to present some ideas to encourage discussion on the great potential strategy -image could be at stake here.

Some concepts that influenced my thought process are:

Penguin has repeatedly missed its “launch date” indicating that Google engineers do not feel that it is accurate enough to release into the wild.

Penguin Not Ready

The growth of negative SEO makes it more difficult for Google to identify / penalize sites for tactics that are implemented on their own websites.

Penguin temporarily assigned the strengthening market links from a Google so wished. The decline reached its plateau in July 2015, as shown in this chart of Google Trends:

Trend Link Building

If I were Google, I think webmasters affected by the unnatural penalty outbound links to respond in the following ways:

Do not do anything. The penalty is specified to “refresh the confidence in the links on your site.” As a webmaster, do you really care if Google trusts the outbound links on your site or not? What if the sentence n has no impact your traffic, rankings, visibility, etc.? What incentive do you have to take action? Even if you sell links, if the information is not publicly displayed, it does nothing to harm link to your company sales.

Innocent effortless cleaning site. A legitimate site that has not exchanged goods for links (or wants to pretend they do not have it) would simply go through their site and remove any links that they feel may have triggered the issue and perhaps make a bland request for review indicating as much.

Guilty effortless cleaning site. A site that has participated in link schemes would know exactly which links are offenders and remove. Now, as a business owner, some may then file a request for review by saying “I’m sorry, so-and-so I paid for it, and I will not do more” Others may simply. stating: “Yes, we have identified the problem and corrected.”

In scenario # 1, Google wins because it helps further the campaigns of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) about the development of ties. It is entirely possible once whether outgoing links of a site have value as they can possibly have a penalty would otherwise fall in value. So link building not only continues to bear the risk of creating a penalty on your site, but it suddenly becomes obvious that you can exchange goods / money / services to a link that has no value despite his mozRank or other external “ranking” metric.

In scenarios 2 and 3, Google wins because they can follow the links were nofollow / removed and add potential violators plans link to the training data.

In scenario 3, they may be able to provide evidence of sites participating in link schemes through admissions by webmasters who sold links.

If I were Google, I would really like to have a group of known sites that participate in link schemes to further develop my learned Machine control algorithm to detect manipulation binding profile. I would take the outbound link data of abnormal scenario No. 3 above and run these sites as a data set against Penguin to try 100% confidence that these sites certainly participated in link schemes. Then I tweak Penguin with this set of training data and issue manual actions against related sites.

It would not be the first time SEOs have predicted a subtext of Google webmasters and leveraging their data to help them develop their algorithms for link penalties. In 2012, the SEO industry was skeptical about the use of the tool to disavow and whether or not Google has crowdsourcing spam webmasters for their team.

WordPress Training in Hyderabad



“Obviously, there are link schemes that can not be captured by the standard algorithm. This is one reason why there are manual actions. It is in the realm of possibility that disavow the data can be used to confirm how they are catching spam, and the identification of spam they could not catch automatically. for example, when web publishers disavow sites that are not captured by the algorithm, which may suggest a new quality control area to examine. “- Roger Montti, Martinibuster.com

What goals unnatural outbound links penalties could accomplish?

Legit webmasters may become more afraid to sell / place links because they get “penalized.”

spammy webmasters could continue to sell links to their websites penalized, which would add to the confusion and the devaluation of the bond markets.

Webmasters might be afraid to buy links / exchange, as they could get scammed by penalized sites and be more likely to be unmasked by legitimate sites.

The Penguin algorithm could increase the rating of confidence and be ready for implementation in real time.

Russ Jones

“There was a time when Google would devalue the PR of a site that was caught selling links. With this signal disappeared, and Google will post outgoing links, it is now more difficult than ever to know if a link is really gained in value. “- Russ Jones, director of Scientific Research to MOZ

Again, if I Google, the next generation of Penguin probably would have placed a lot of weight irrelevantly links, not just commercial specific keyword anchor text. Test this first on the sites that I think are guilty of providing links and simply devalue these links seems much more intelligent. Of course, at this stage, there is no specific evidence to show the intention of Google behind against nature of penalties outgoing links have been designed as a final testing phase for Penguin and devalue further the bond market manipulated. But if I were Google, which is exactly what I would do.

Tripp Hamilton

“The days of easily reproducible link building strategies. The acquisition links should not be easy, and Penguin will continue to change the landscape of marketing whether we like it or not. I for one welcome our artificially intelligent overlords . future iterations of the Penguin algorithm will further consolidate the “difficulty” of acquiring links, making spam less popular and forcing companies to legitimate marketing strategies. “- Tripp Hamilton, Product Manager in Removeem.com

Google Webmaster show link schemes are interpreted by intention. I wonder what happens if I start nofollowing links to my site to intend to devalue the rankings of a site? The aim is handling. Am I at risk of being considered a participant in link schemes? If I make a link building as part of an SEO campaign, I am inherently leads a connecting plane?

Google Webmaster Guidelines Link Scheme

So, since I am a SEO, not Google, I have to myself and my colleagues ask: “What do to change or enhance my SEO efforts,” I immediately think of a Whiteboard Friday there? a few years which deals with rules of Link Building.

Cyrus Shepard

“At best, a good link building is indistinguishable from good marketing.” – Cyrus Shepard, former astronaut content Moz

When asked what kind of impact SEOs should expect this, French Garret quotes shared Labs:

french Garret

“It is clear that this new effort by Google will start to dry dofollow sponsored post, sponsored review market. Watch for price to drop in the coming months and then go back and test reviews with links to untracked see which ones actually lead to convert traffic! If you can not stomach paying for links not followed, then it’s time to get creative and come back to the old, the story-driven PR blog. it class not good, but it works well for natural links. ”

In conclusion, as SEOs, we are responsible to predict the future of our industry. We are not content to act in the present. Google does not wish for his results to gamed and departments comprehensive data scientists dedicated to building algorithms to identify and devalue handling practices. If you are unable to legitimately build links, you must imitate legitimate links in all aspects (or consider a new career).


More importantly, all the links that we try to build must provide value. If a URL pointing to a landing page that are not relevant to the context of the source page, then it irrelevant link is likely to be reported and devalued. Remember, Google can make a topical analysis, too.

Related cleaning mode or recovery Penguin, we usually approached unnatural links as being obvious when they have a commercial keyword (eg “insurance quotes”) because links are more naturally with the URL , brand, or navigation labels as anchor text. It would also be prudent to assume that natural links tend to occur in the content of the destination, link deals and link relevance should be considered.

Finally, we must continue to identify and present customers with methods to naturally build authority in providing value in what they offer and work to build genuine relationships and brand advocates.