After the latest update to Google Penguin, Google sent out warnings to sites that may have used unnatural links to increase page rankings. After latest update of Google Penguin, which was not to improve or affect the search quality of Google, sites that take part in link spam now face penalties by Google. Sites received this message through their Google Webmaster Tools account.
‘Some of your site’s pages may be using techniques outside Google’s Webmaster Guidelines … specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank.’
The artificial or unnatural links mentioned are links meant to manipulate page rankings in search engine results. Artificial links include those that are paid to be featured on blogs or website or gratuitous link exchanges between sites.
Google’s blog reports that less than 20,000 domains received messages about artificial links, which is less than one-tenth the number of messages they send per month. Currently, about 10 sites a day receive this warning about their links.
While Google may distrust an entire site in extreme cases of unnatural links,Google stresses that in many cases they only distrust the links themselves.
The result of having unnatural links under Google Penguin’s update is a hit in search engine rankings, dropping in page rankings. If you have received a notification and suspect this has affected your site’s rankings, go to your Google Analytics account. Search Traffic Sources -> Search -> Organic. Look for when the rankings drop. If they drop after April 24, the time Google Penguin was introduced, you may have penalties imposed on your site.
To avoid penalties for unnatural links or on-site spam to inflate page rankings, Google recommends removing spammy links and submitting a reconsideration request for the site in violation.
When identifying unnatural links for removal, consider where a link is located, the frequency of that link, the blogs/sites they are linking to, the content of the link. Forms of unnatural links include If you discover that someone in your company has been doing widgetbait, paid links, or serious linkspam.
If sites continue to receive warnings about unnatural links, Google suggests looking at recent links to identify any unusual or spammy activity. Google updated their Google’s Webmaster Tools to allow users to download backlinks to pages sorted by date.
To view backlinks, go to Overview -> All linked pages -> Download latest links. Users of this new feature can also export their links data to a Google Spreadsheet.