Unnatural Outbound Link Penalties: What Does it Mean for Your SEO Strategy?
Google is cracking down on penalties for unnatural outbound links, and many websites have been affected. This is a part of their strategy to weed out seedy websites and spam, keeping the top search results safe and relevant. Unfortunately, you could inadvertently be drawing penalties by doing things you perceive as harmless, or you could be working with someone else that’s involved in shady dealings.
Unnatural outbound links need to be removed from your website when you realize that they’re there. Leaving them unchecked can damage all of the safe and honest SEO work you’ve done and effectively wipe you off the face of the planet – at least as far as Google is concerned. A strategy that involves strict monitoring and strict responses can prevent the issue from worsening.
Keep an Eye Out for Penalties
The first thing you need to do is check for penalties you may not be aware of. If you’re already using Google Webmaster Tools or Google Search Console, a message will come up on the console. If you aren’t already utilizing Google’s services, you should start. They’re the best tool for monitoring and taking action against these penalties.
If you don’t currently use these services, it may be challenging to determine whether or not you’ve been hit with a penalty. Unusual dips in site traffic, rank drops, or even disappearing from Google search results all together are a huge sign that something is wrong.
Understanding the Difference Between Penalties
Google can hit you with two kinds of penalties. One comes directly from the algorithm detecting something it perceives as suspicious. Occasionally, these penalties are a misunderstanding. And the other penalty is called a manual action, which means your website was personally reviewed and penalized by a staff member. Getting these penalties will usually require more effort on your part.
You may not have intentionally committed these offenses. However, whether accidental or intentional, action still needs to be taken. The message Google sends you pertaining to the penalty will have a basic set of instructions, and it will mention how your penalty was identified. If the algorithm has made a mistake, take a good look to make sure there were no accidents on your part and contact Google right away.
Fix Your Violations
If you’ve found some violations, it’s time to get to work. These violations are almost always the result of a paid link that you’re following. If you’ve recently held a giveaway, raffle, or contest, these are the first places you should look. You should also check any sponsored or paid posts. Next, you need to add a “no follow” tag in the code. This is done by inserting a simple piece of code into the ink: rel=”nofollow.”
Links that have been No Followed appear as such: Link That Can Draw You a Penalty
How to Make Friends with Google
After you’ve fixed your violations, it’s time to let Google know you’ve met their demands. You’ll find a button you can click to shoot them an email in your penalty message. Send them a brief but precise email detailing the violations you’ve discovered and what you’ve done to fix them. A staff member will review your email, give your site another look, and give it the “all clear” if you’ve satisfied them.
Don’t let unnatural outbound link penalties destroy all the work you’ve done, creating excellent SEO practices for your website. Always be vigilant, and if you’re not sure before you post a link, make sure you do your research.
Jessica Gust is a Marketing Assistant at Localpeek.co.uk– a new postcode finder. She is passionate about new marketing strategies; she is always eager to share her ideas through blogging.