What Do You Do When Google Sends an “Artificial or Unnatural” Link Warning?

Managed SEO from NextNetMedia.comThis year has been a roller coaster ride for some website owners. Some good and some scary moments. It’s part of the love/hate relationship we all have with “The Big G”. Millions of website owners have gotten the following message from Google since the beginning of the year:

“We’ve detected that some of the links pointing to your site are using techniques outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. We don’t want to put any trust in links that are artificial or unnatural. We recommend removing any unnatural links to your site. However, we do realize that some links are outside of your control. As a result, for this specific incident we are taking very targeted action on the unnatural links instead of your site as a whole. If you are able to remove any of the links, please submit a reconsideration request, including the actions that you took. If you have any questions, please visit our Webmaster Help Forum.”

If your business relies solely on organic rankings, this can be very unsettling. You have employees to pay, kids to feed and other financial responsibilities. For many of you, if your rankings tank then so does your income.

So what do you do when you receive this notice but nothing at all has happened to your rankings. The answer is simple. Do nothing. Do not add links. Do not delete links. Do not respond to the Google e-mail. Do not submit help on the Webmaster Help Forum. Do nothing.

Now, you may be thinking, “That’s easy for you to say, you link broker, you. Of course, you’re going to tell us not to delete links”. Well, we do have a vested interest financially in you buying links. But, if we give bad advice, think only in short-term profits and get your websites banned, both of us lose. So we all have a vested interest in you doing well and making healthy long-term profits from your organic rankings.

The “Do Nothing” Strategy

People e-mail us freaking out that they want to cancel everything and delete every trace of a paid link. The fact is that in 98% of the time, The “Do nothing” Strategy works…REALLY WELL. The other 2% of the sites that don’t come back are often not because of the links but because the sites have spammy content with nothing but keywords, too much above fold adverting, tiny text, page redirects, meta tags stuffing, etc. Basically sites that should not have ranked in the first place but got there on shear link power.

However, the rational people who take our advice to do nothing for 10 to 14 days often e-mail us back and say that Google has done absolutely nothing to their site or rankings and all is well.

What If My Rankings Dropped Suddenly?

If you wake up one day and your rankings disappear and your site is nowhere to be found in Google, then…do nothing. The “Do Nothing” Strategy still works. Typically, Google will do a ranking adjustment and if nothing changes and you do not add or delete any links then your rankings will often come back to normal and sometimes even higher within 10 to 14 days.

Why Google is in Business

Let’s face it. Google does not make money from you doing free Internet searches or playing their fun little Google Doodle games (the Olympics ones were fun). Google makes money from AdWords and AdSense. So if you are buying links from link brokers and getting great organic rankings, organic traffic and conversions then you are not spending money on AdWords. Plain and simple. Link brokers and link buyers take money out of Google’s pocket. And you know what. I don’t blame them. We’re all in business to make money. If we don’t make money then our doors close and we need to find something else to do.

Why The “Do nothing” Strategy Works

If you think not just from a Google perspective but from a logical human perspective then here’s why the “Do nothing” Strategy works. Let’s say for example that one day you get a letter at your home from the FBI or SIS. The letter says:

“We suspect you or your family members are participating in illegal activities. We recommend not participating in illegal activities. However, we do realize that some illegal activities within your home or community are outside of your control. As a result, we are taking very targeted action on the illegal activity instead of your overall participation as a member of society as a whole. If you are able to stop an unlawful activity that you or your family members are participating in, please contact our offices, including the actions that you took.”

Now, if you were a law-abiding citizen then you would generally think it is a mistake and take no action especially if you found out that millions of law-abiding people got the same notice to their home on the same day.

Now, on the other hand, if you had an illegal puppy mill inside your house and got the same notice, you might freak out and say “MARGARET, WE NEED TO GET THESE PUPPIES OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW.” and start thinking twice about your illegal activities.

I know this example is a little humorous and somewhat ridiculous, but it illustrates a point. Act like a “Google Guideline Abiding Citizen” who does not buy links and do nothing when you get the notice or your rankings suddenly bounce around. Think about it, if you did not buy links, it would be impossible to delete 1000s of unpaid links within even a few weeks. You would have to track down and e-mail 1,000s of site owners and then wait for their response. It would take forever to build 1,000s of unpaid links and forever to take down 1,000s of unpaid links. After a few days, Google will eventually assume that you are not buying links and return your rankings back to normal.

On the other hand, if you freak out and delete a bunch of links 10 minutes after getting the notice and Google re-indexes your site and sees 1,000’s of links gone then they know you were doing something against their terms of service. And guess what, they don’t even need to penalize you now because after deleting all of those links, your site is going to tank in rankings because links are still a MAJOR part of Google’s algorithm. They won the battle and didn’t take any action at all except for sending out a blank “we know you’re bad” e-mail and letting their engines re-index your site with no links.

I get to personally work with hundreds of people and their websites. Just last week, I had a client tell me he went from $15,000 per month in revenue to just over $90,000 per month in the last 5 weeks because he is ranking #1 and #2 for some of the most competitive terms on the Internet solely using our products. So I know, my client knows, and Google knows that links still work.

Another Perspective

If Google penalized everyone that they thought bought links, then you could point links to all of your competitors, get them all banned and move to the #1 spot. This would be a nightmare for Google. Imagine how unstable the rankings would be and how poor the results would be. You would have sites that are now ranking #110 at #1…at least for a little while until that site got banned and the #1283 ranking moved to number #1. We might even…gasp…start having to use Bing.

Summary

If you get “artificial or unnatural” link warnings from Google or your rankings disappear for a few days, do nothing for 10 to 14 days. The people who take this advice often bounce back and stay where they were or move even higher. The small number of people who do not take this advice and immediately delete links often tank in rankings withing 10 to 14 days and don’t come back…until a few months later when they get tired of paying for AdWords and start buying links again. They could have saved a few months of heartache and lost income by doing nothing.

And if you still don’t believe us then you can take Google’s word for it:

Google Sends New Link Warnings, Then Says You Can Ignore Them

If you are still confused about what to do or have too many SEO clients to manage then check out our Managed SEO Service. Since most of our clients are SEO professionals, we want to remind you that our Managed Service was developed to assist you in taking on more business and getting optimal rankings. Please contact our Managed Team if your rankings have fluctuated and you need assistance formulating the optimal SEO strategy using our services or just need help scaling your business without hiring more staff.

Learn more about how we can help: Managed SEO Service

Happy Link Building,
The NextNetMedia Team