At the beginning of April 2016, Google penalised a number of sites for using unnatural outbound links. The penalty was issued specifically to sites that linked out to others in an attempt to manipulate search results. The penalties were sent out by the Google manual actions team in the form of a message, through the Google Search Console message centre. The way Google penalised certain sites was to ‘not trust’ any links on the site.

The penalty for the sites containing unnatural outbound links will negatively affect the search result rankings, as all links will become obsolete due to Google’s refusal to trust them.

Here is an extract posted in a blog by Search Engine Land’s News Editor, Barry Schwartz, said to be the email sent to those penalised for unnatural outbound links:

Google Link Message

Those penalised by Google will not be permanently affected, as Google also sent out a guide to follow in order to have your website and position set back to normal. The guide informs site owners to remove or <nofollow> all unnatural links, and send Google a reconsideration request, in which Google could accept or reject dependent on the situation that the penalised site is in.

As of yet, it is unclear whether or not the sites holding the unnatural inbound links have been penalised. Barry Schwartz stated that if anything, the same punishment will be in place as the sites holding outbound links, in which Google will ‘not trust’ any links from the site until a reconsideration request is received and accepted.

Want to avoid a Google penalty? Follow our 6-Step Guide to Auditing Your Link Profile.

Find out more about our Link Reputation Management services and how they can help your business adhere to industry best practice.

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About the author:

James joined ClickThrough in March 2016 as a digital apprentice, and currently works alongside the content team writing industry news articles, blog posts and on-page content for a variety of clients. Outside of work James likes to take long walks, explore new places and eat too much food!