Receiving an unnatural link penalty from Google is (for the lack of a better term) quite natural these days. It is not an isolated case since Google has gone far as manually taking action against optimisation activities that, according to its standards, are considered spam.
If you received a notification from Google, take action immediately. Below is an example of this notification.
Receiving a penalty for an unnatural link can be brought about by different factors. What are links that is considered unnatural by Google?
- Paid links
- Directory links
- Article links
- Author / Biography links
- Blog comment links
- Links from social bookmarking sites that are low quality
Take action immediately. Check your Webmaster tools to see all the links that point to your website. If it is a paid link or an article link, take it down immediately. Contact the webmaster handling the website to take it down for you if you cannot undo it.
Exhaust all possible means of taking away all unnatural links associated with your website before requesting for reconsideration from Google. And if you have done everything you could, make sure to include a link to a Google doc where you have enumerated all unnatural links you have removed and links you have submitted to the disavow tool.
Confess and admit defeat. Honesty may seem hard to exercise, but the only way to get out of a Google penalty alive is to disclose all activities that you have engaged in even if you are aware or unaware that it is outside the guidelines set forth by Google.
Take responsibility for your actions and learn from it. While it is natural for Google to receive reconsideration requests for second, third and fourth time offenders, it does not mean that it is okay since they grant reconsideration requests anyway. The penalties get more harsh for repeat offenders. And it is just a matter of time that optimisers who bend the rules are given the notification or the permanent boot if they fail to cooperate.
Make it a habit to check your Webmaster tools to see the kinds and types of links that are connected to your website. Refer to guidebooks that can help you investigate the kinds of links you have that point to your website.
Lastly, move on from the unpleasant experience of working out a penalty by changing your optimisation strategy. Build relationships and not links. Work on your branding. And always align your strategies with the rules.