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Unnatural Links to site

Matt Cutts and Alex explain what it means if your site has a manual action labeled as “Unnatural links to your site” and what you can do to fix it.

Unnatural links to your site:

Read about the disavow links tool:

More about disavowing links that you were unable to remove:

Find more webmaster resources at


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31 thoughts on “Unnatural Links to site

    How i will deal with that…
    how can i tackle this issue…

  2. I kept seeing links from unwanted sites in my google analytics.
    Most of them were coming from one site. (all linking to ru porn sites or selling sun glasses or fake pocketbooks.)
    No contact info. I finally managed to spend two days and tracked down to sender. He was embedded on a church forum with hundreds of accounts. His files were packages of links to a 100 or more sites…mine included in most of them.
    I finally called the church in question, talked to the church secretary who had no idea about the forum or anything technical. Got her to agree to contact person in the church who set up the "forum"…
    (had a friend who knows about this kind of stuff check and he said the forum had not been updated in three years, running on old unsecured information..easy to penetrate and use for spam)….
    Took almost two weeks, but they finally just took the forum down, because they didn't know how to fix it. My link problem solved.
    also contacted my hosting…seems a site on the same server as mine was associated with all these spammy links and because I had copied several of the link packages from the forum they were able to verify and clean other sites on our shared server that were also "infected".

    between the two, my email accounts on this server were blacklisted and
    I had a black out on one site because of the cpu usage…not by me, but by this spammer…
    he selected articles on two sites to link to: each of the articles would receive hundreds of hits…endless trouble.
    not fun.
    How to go from 5325 "visitors" a day down to 123.

  3. The problem is when this happens and you do your best to contact the sites linking to you, they do nothing. You tell google and you do nothing about it except send us a stupid message back. I spent ages trying to get them down and you haven't done anything at all. Just send me automated messages…As you do with all your products. 

  4. Total Bullshit!  Google polices sites has put a ban on my site and basically accused me of spamming or purchasing links which I have not done….and then they put up this joke of a video instead of offering a line of communication with a responsible site owner like me.  I have disavowed over 9,000 links on my to my site and Google still finds a problem but offers no exact way for me to fix it.  Any by the way Google's webmaster forum is a complete joke.  How about a direct phone line for support Google?

  5. I would like to think this comment is actually seen by Matt. From what I've been reading negative SEO is a major issue for website owners. Unethical people who want to either generate an income for themselves by first spamming a site and then offering to remove the bad links, competitors who want to adversely affect your site or just malicious people who have nothing better to do and derive some sort of pleasure out of inflicting pain on others. I've been wondering for a while now why Google places the onus on a website owner who is the victim of this sort of tactic to remove bad links – who through absolutely no fault of their own, is the recipient of any one of these tactics. Surely, Google with all of it's analytical capabilities, can easily see where these links are coming from and determine that these links have not been created by the website owner. I would have thought that the disavow tool would be the first action required by website owners, so that a site that has been identified as spammy is punished, not the innocent website owner. Contacting owners of the bad links (if you can find them at all) is a time-consuming and frustrating process and makes the whole online experience one of frustration and angst. I feel there ought to be a balance between Google, website owners and users – all three are vital components to a successful online business and all three should be given equal weight. In my mind, Google could and should, be aiming to help genuine website owners to be successful – everyone wins, which should be the aim. After all, most people on line are just trying to be successful business owners, why else would they go to all this trouble? Without the business owners, there is nothing for users to experience. I have written this comment, not because I've experienced any bad linking but because I think that Google's approach to the problem is extremely unfair and unhelpful to those who are genuine website owners. PS: Alex needs to speak into the mic – his voice fluctuates to the point where it is difficult to hear what he has to say, which is obviously important or you wouldn't have had him share this message. From this comment, you may deduce that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Google. I absolutely love the fact that I can raise a query on Google and find a suitable answer almost every time. What I don't like is the control that Google has over people who are just trying to make a living on line. I understand your goal is to create the best user-experience and I applaud that. I just feel you should use the obviously awesome tools you have at your disposal to help people who also share your goal of creating an great user experience. We all need each other. Please help us to do a good job. Taking away the onerous task of ridding sites of bad, spammy unintended, uninvited links would be a fantastic start. Hope this comment doesn't get me a black mark!! 

  6. So let me get this straight, to protect user experience you will completely abandon businesses. Open the door to dirty tactics and sabotage. Way to go Google, good job. Obviously you can detect spammy links otherwise no one would get this message. So to protect user experience and businesses just disregard them. No one is going to buy links that do nothing for them, and no one will sabotage other businesses because the links that don't count won't penalise their competition. For a company as intelligent as Google, this isn't very smart! I bet Google would still accept adwords money from a penalised company! Businesses are the source of income to Google. PROTECT THEM!

  7. Exactly what I was thinking when I was watching this video…

    I mean really: go on fiverr and you can find "1,000,000 links for $5" try disallow that. If someone wishes to get to the top by suppressing competition. a hundred bucks will get you to the top.
    Kind of scary, really.

  8. This video was poorly produced. It is redundant, and does not get to the point. The direction of the content digresses many times. In short, you could have edited this piece down to 30 seconds, and given us all the important information. With that rant out of the way.. here lies the problem. I logged into my clients Webmaster Tools Account, and lo and behold there was absolutely NO results (or data) available for links to his site. So where does one go?

  9. Low quality links were all pioneer website builders back in the day. Unnatural links are spam , that's given. Links these days are man or women negotiated, like guest blogging etc. this is on behalf of bloggers. Cleaning links , this is like saying you have been a customer for years, but we don't allow jeans of these type, that we once endorsed. There is little quality and there high quality from news.But then Matt you mentioned news sites yet no credit now, where before client spent thousands

  10. Are you going to down grade 1&1 , Pickaweb, Godaddy et all???? All their web building software has built in backlinks to THEM- are you going to ask them to fill in your reconsideration request. Also is adsense a violation of your TOS….it has false backlinks!!!!!!

  11. So if you advertise and you do it too much and it's not with Goolge, they will penalize your website.
    How much is too much? Won't say . . .

    Want to knock a competitor out the search engines? Try reverse SEO! It works well and depending on the market, it's usually cheaper than moving yourself up in the rankings.

  12. Soooo if I am understanding this correctly, if one webmaster wants to remove a competitor website from the search engine results, they can easily do this by buying a ton of paid links from bad websites and have them all point to their competitor sites. Google will then penalize that competitor website right? If this is true, how can this be prevented?

  13. How about just discounts sites Google has determined to be bad instead of making everyone waste tons of time guessing. If you penalized based on links obviously you know they are crap. Why is Google's algorithm still so heavily weighted on links still in 2013?

  14. One thing's for sure. Google will never disclose just how excessive is excessive. Otherwise, the information will be used by spammers to game the system again.

    It's annoying how people who painstakingly do white hat SEO just to make sure that their client's business's are safe still ends up penalized or get out ranked by spammers.

  15. OK so what is "excessive"!? What do you say to sites that have gotten no manual action, but have seen all their Google traffic disappear…. Your information is CONFUSING.

  16. Reread, if you're looking for what type of documentation to provide, create a spreadsheet to track the links. Dump the WMT links, and create columns for successive waves of outreach. William Rock's spreadsheet is a good place to start: /X6ediR.

  17. 1. Evidence of concerted outreach.
    2. As much detail as possible in the reconsideration request.
    3. Try and reduce thinks as much as possible, and provide clear reasons why links are present in the disavow file. This should be used for the extreme remainder of links.
    4. Use the WMT link lists, at least as a cross-reference, if not the master list, for the recovery.
    5. Make sure you are not engaged in any continued behavior that could be seen as unnatural.

  18. Sweet. Thanks for the concrete criteria on how to identify an unnatural link. Really helpful. Oh wait, we still don't have that. Shoot.

  19. Those are some great suggestions for anyone reading this.

    I had done initially done all of this but run into the problem where it appears to be a search parameter on the linking site. Going through that sites core and using varying search terms still yields no results for a link to my domain.

    It mimics a similar issue to Webmaster Tools showing a 404 in the same situation.

  20. If you can't find the link visibly on the page, it may be hidden or non-text based. View page source(right click on page) and search for the linked page. If this still does not yield a result, pump the URL into the Wayback Machine at This will show you a historical record of the page(if it is indexed by them), which you can dial back to certain points. If the link was removed, it may show up using this method. Also, review the cached Google page (SERP result flyout menu)

  21. In the video, you state that the disavow tool should be used only after extensive outreach. Does the percentage of backlink profile disavowed imply to Google the amount of effort involved in the outreach? Clients come to us often with toxic backlink profiles containing domains that simply are not maintained manually, or outreach attempts are ignored. This often yields a disavow file that covers most of the profile. Does this weaken the case for reconsideration?

  22. Is there a suggestion for the following scenario:
    Webmaster tools shows a link from a questionable site linking to a site that I manage. After further investigation, I am unable to find a link on the site (page or domain) to mine.

    If someone could point me in the right direction it would be greatly appreciated.

  23. Problem is when someone is spamming unnetural links for his competitor web site , google is still punishing the web site which actually didnt try to do link spamming.

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