Quick History: Got two unnatural link notices with the most recent one
saying there's a manual penalty. We made mistakes and tried to correct
them. Tried for months (detailed below). Can't figure out source of
Our Questions (lots of details below)
We are part of two affiliate networks LinkShare and ShareASale, but
both redirect all paid links through their servers. In reading the
forums, and given that these are two leading affiliate programs, we're
pretty sure that is NOT the source of the penalty. Does anyone disagree?
Otherwise, we don't run any other affiliate programs.
We submitted our most recent disavow list only 1 day prior to our
reconsideration request. We told google that we had done this. Only
today, I realized that some people recommend waiting for that to take
effect. However, since we told Google that we had updated our list, I
assume they would have reviewed that prior to denying our
reconsideration request. Do you think this would be the cause of the
Anyone who has refused to remove the links or who has demanded payment
to remove the links, we have added to our disavow list. Should we
instead be paying people to remove the links? It seems that Google would
not encourage this practice either.
We assume neither #1 or #2 is the cause of the rejection. However, now
we're at a lost. Does anyone have an idea of what might be causing the
Who We Are(not relevant, but just for background to understand who you might be helping)
a design e-commerce company that creates personalized cards and wall art. We're known for delivering
modern design through eco friendly products. We plant a tree with every
order and have 100's of thousands so far. We are fortunate to have
been featured in Real Simple, Martha Stewart, People, In Style, The
Today Show, The Talk and the Wall Street Journal to name a few (meaning,
we're not some fly by night site).
... and most importantly, we thank you for any help on this matter.
We've detected that some of the links pointing to your site are using techniques outside Google'sWebmaster Guidelines.
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.
As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action tobit.ly/15kF21Q. There may be other actions on your site or parts of your site.
Use the Links to Your Site feature in Webmaster Tools to download a list of links to your site.
Ensure that unnatural links pointing to your site are removed.
When these changes are made, and you are satisfied that links to your site follow Google's Webmaster Guidelines, submit a reconsideration request.
If you're unable to remove links pointing to your site, please provide
as much detail as possible in your reconsideration request.
If we determine your site is no longer in violation of our guidelines, we'll revoke the manual action.
Reconsideration request rejected. Note: we submitted a reconsideration
request quickly because we had already been working on our expanded
disavow and link removal list for 6 months prior.
What We've Done
From the first notice, we understood and took responsibility for hiring
an SEO firm that created poor quality links. This was from the period
of about 3/2011 to early 2012. Even today, from our backlink profile,
you can see that these links abruptly stopped around early 2012. We
culled our list, emailed the websites to ask for link removal, added the
worst offenders to the disavow list. We then submitted a
reconsideration request. This was rejected.
Since it was rejected in late 2012, we'd been working on an ongoing to
be more aggressive with the link removal with the hypothesis being that
we missed some of the links that were built. We downloaded all of our
links from Google Webmaster and used a paid service called Link Detox to
help identify bad links. We reviewed every link manually. As a result,
here is what we did differently than the first time:
More Aggressive Link Disavow and Link Removal Request: Mostly added
almost ALL directory sites, and some gray area links that were topical,
but of low quality. I've shared a google doc of the disavow list here: http://bit.ly/1a7kKxb
Eliminated 301 redirects: while we do not believe this was the issue,
we do own about 30 other domains that we simply 301 redirected to our
site. Because of the time urgency, we just eliminated these redirects
after receiving the penalty as we never purchased them to redirect
PageRank, but rather to use as future potential businesses so we weren't
concerned about the loss.
We identified a small set of article site submissions that were
inconsistent with any content we would have written and asked for them
to be removed and added them to our disavow list: