A few months ago website owner who has worked with us periodically in the past contacted us as a result of a ranking decline around the same time as a Penguin update, and we performed a small audit on his site.
Our investigation had revealed that his inbound link profile consisted primarily of paid links – most of which were from low quality websites with minimal or no relevance. Our recommendation at that time was to remove those paid links and work on expanding his profile with quality & relevance.
Just last week we received a notification from Google that this particular site had received a manual penalty due to unnatural linking. While the notification does not specifically state the source links of the “manual spam action” we remembered the paid link building tactics he was using which we discovered in the past audit.
Passing Along News of the Google Penalty
I forwarded the message from Google to the site owner letting him know what had happened. Initially I suspected that the paid linking had caught up with him. While it is possible that some of the paid links contributed to the problem, it turns out they are far from the primary issue. A conversation with the site owner quickly revealed he had been using a cheap link building company for the past several months. I suggested he contact them to get their input on the Google warning. He shared part of his conversation with me and I was completely shocked. Read more…