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Unnatural Links: 6 Proven Ways To Avoid Google Penalties in 2023

Unnatural Link Building

Getting recognition from high-authority websites in your niche can help you grow. But sometimes, it is difficult to receive high-quality backlinks for your website.

That’s exactly where as marketers pay attention to the links they are creating. Because if by any chance you get unnatural or poor links, it can badly affect your search rankings.

And if Google ever finds that you are using unnatural links to market your content, you can be penalized for that.

Yes! The repercussions of unnatural links can be really severe and permanent. Thus, you have to make sure that your website doesn’t get penalized due to such bad links.

In this blog post, you will learn how to avoid this disaster and get your site ranked higher on the search engine rankings pages using fair and acceptable link-building practices.

So, without much ado, let’s dive right in!

We will start with the basics first.

What is an Unnatural Link?

An unnatural link is a link to a website that is created to mislead and manipulate web page rankings.

Of course, they are bad links and often referred to as spammy or harmful links. Basically, these links don’t offer actual value to the user. They are built to influence search engine results.

Why are Unnatural Links Bad?

There are several reasons that prove that unnatural links are bad for your online presence.

  • Violation of Google’s Guidelines: Unnatural links violate Google’s webmaster guidelines. It aims to ensure that websites are optimized for user experience and not just for search engines.
  • Manipulation of Search Engine Rankings: Instead of adding value for the user, they are often created with the objective of manipulating search engine results. This may lead to negative UX, as users may not be able to find relevant information for their search queries.
  • Considered as Web Spam: Google considers unnatural links to be a form of web spam. Sites engaged in unnatural link-building practices are at risk of being penalized or even removed from the search engine index.
  • Negative Impact on Website Authority: Unnatural links can negatively impact a website’s authority and credibility, as they are often acquired from low-quality or spammy websites.
  • Risk of Penalties: Google penalizes websites that engage in unnatural link-building practices. That will further result in a significant decrease in rankings, website traffic, and revenue.

What are Google Penalties?

Google penalty is when your site either faces a drop in the ranking for a targeted keyword or is no longer listed (de-indexed) in the search results.

Simply put, the efforts you have been putting in to rank your website using fair means so far have gone wasted with the use of unnatural links.

Unnatural links, bad links, and poor or black-hat SEO practices can all lead to Google penalties.

And that’s exactly where the concept of Google’s webmaster standards comes into action. Don’t worry; you will find more on the same below.

What are Google’s Webmaster Guidelines?

Before getting started with the link-building process, make sure to get familiar with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. These are a set of rules and recommendations that webmasters should observe to confirm that their websites are optimized for search engines and user experience.

These guidelines cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Creating high-quality, valuable content for users
  • Using descriptive and relevant page titles and meta descriptions
  • Building natural and relevant backlinks to your website
  • Optimizing website speed and performance
  • Making sure your website is mobile-friendly
  • Avoiding spammy or manipulative tactics such as buying links or keyword stuffing
  • Ensuring your website is secure and free of malware

Following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines may guarantee that a website is optimized for users and search engines, which can ultimately save you from Google penalties.

What Happens When Google Penalizes Your Site

When Google penalizes your site, it means that your website has violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and is receiving a penalty.

Here’s a brief on two different types of penalties that may occur.

Manual Penalty

A manual penalty is issued by a Google employee after manually reviewing your website and determining that it violates Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

Manual penalties are typically issued for serious violations, such as engaging in spammy link-building practices, keyword stuffing, or cloaking.

If you receive a manual penalty, you will be notified in Google Search Console, and you will need to take action to address the issues and request a review of your website.

Algorithmic Penalty

An algorithmic penalty is issued automatically by Google’s algorithms when it detects that your website is violating its Webmaster Guidelines.

Algorithmic penalties are typically related to content quality, spammy links, or user experience issues.

These penalties are harder to detect because you may not receive any notification from Google. However, you may notice a major drop in traffic or rankings.

So, What Happens When You Get Penalized?

As discussed above, the Google penalty will affect your site ranking and decrease in organic traffic.

Ultimately, your business will be affected, especially if your website relies heavily on organic traffic to generate leads or sales.

Furthermore, if your website is completely removed from search engine results pages, it can be challenging to recover your rankings and traffic.

So, pay close attention to what kind of link-building practice you are following.

How to Recover From Google Penalty?

To recover from a Google penalty, you need to identify the cause of the penalty and take corrective action to address the issues.

Here are the steps you should take immediately:

  • Identify the cause of the penalty: The first step is to determine the cause of the penalty. This may involve conducting a backlink audit to identify any low-quality or unnatural links pointing to your website.
  • Remove the unnatural links: Once you have identified the unnatural links, the next step is to remove them. You can either contact the website owner and request that the link be removed or use the Google Disavow Tool to disavow the links.
  • Submit a reconsideration request: After you have removed the unnatural links, you can submit a reconsideration request to Google. This is a request to have your website’s penalty reviewed and lifted. In the request, you should explain your actions to address the penalty. Also, provide evidence of the changes you have made.
  • Focus on creating high-quality content and ethical link-building: To avoid future penalties, it’s important to focus on creating high-quality, relevant content. Make sure it provides value to users. You should also focus on ethical link-building practices, such as creating great content that other websites naturally want to link to or conducting outreach to build relationships with other websites in your industry.

Well, recovering from an unnatural links penalty can be a time-consuming and challenging process, but it’s essential to maintaining the health and visibility of your website.

Some Common Types Of Unnatural Links & How To Avoid Them

As you work to improve your website’s search engine rankings, it’s essential to understand what types of links could hurt the site’s visibility.

Let’s go through some examples of unnatural links that you should avoid:

1. Make Sure the Blog Comments are High-Quality

It is essential to ensure that the comments you are receiving on your blog are relevant and high-quality. Leaving irrelevant or low-quality comments with links back to your website can be seen as spammy and manipulative, violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

When commenting on blogs or forums, make sure your comments add value to the conversation and provide useful information or insights.

Avoid leaving comments solely to generate backlinks, and ensure that any links you include are relevant and add value to the discussion.

2. Focus on Redirected Domains

Using redirected domains or URL shorteners to generate links is considered a manipulative tactic to deceive both search engines and users.

According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, any attempts to manipulate search engine rankings through deceptive practices, including URL redirects, will result in penalties.

Redirecting a domain or shortening URLs can also make it difficult for users to understand where a link will take them. Thus, your website’s credibility and trustworthiness will get affected negatively. Therefore, it’s crucial to avoid using this practice.

3. Paying Attention to Link Schemes

The method to influence search engine rankings by acquiring links that are not natural or earned is termed a link scheme.

These include buying or selling low-quality links that are earned using black-hat SEO techniques.

Google’s algorithms are designed to detect and penalize such websites that use such ways to get ranked higher.

Therefore, to avoid penalties, focus on building natural, high-quality backlinks through creating valuable content and building relationships with other websites in your niche.

4. Using Injected Links

When hackers gain unauthorized access to your website and insert links that redirect users to their own websites are called injected links.

These injected links are often hidden from view and can be difficult to detect. If Google detects these types of links on your website, it may penalize your site and reduce your search engine rankings.

To protect your website from injected links, ensure that your website’s security is up-to-date.

Make sure to use strong passwords and regularly scan your website for malware. In the event of a security breach, take immediate action to remove the injected links and secure your website.

5. Never Ignore Sitewide Links

Links that appear on every page of a website, such as in the header or footer, are sitewide links.

And they are certainly not good for any website. If these links are not natural or relevant, they can be seen as an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings.

If the links are not relevant or do not offer value to visitors, they could be seen as spammy links and lead to Google penalties.

6. Check Your Press Releases & Syndicated Content

While press releases and syndicated content can be a useful way to generate links. It is still important to use them with caution.

However, submitting too many press releases or syndicated content that includes links to your website can result in low-quality, irrelevant links.

Further, search engines may not see these links as natural and may penalize your website for using them excessively.

Hence focus on creating high-quality, original content that provides value to your audience. You may also use press releases and syndicated content wisely. In fact, try to use such content only when it’s truly newsworthy or relevant to your target audience.

These are examples of unnatural links that you may receive. However, if you are working with a reliable link-building service provider,  you can expect better results in the future.

So, the choice is yours.

Happy Link Building!

Wrapping It Up

By now, you must know how unnatural link-building can impact your online presence. Yes, it is a serious issue in SEO. If you follow the guidelines and focus on building high-quality backlinks, you can reap maximum benefits. That, too, without getting penalized by Google.

However, if you connect with a professional white label link building agency like Outreach Monks, you can rest assured that every link you receive will be of high quality and value.

Companies that have years of experience in the same field can help you better your digital presence without getting penalized for the quality of links that you receive. So, choose your link-building partner wisely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between natural and unnatural links?

Natural links are earned by providing valuable content and building relationships with other websites. In contrast, unnatural links are acquired through tactics that violate Google's guidelines, such as buying links or participating in link exchanges.

How can I tell if a link is natural or unnatural?

Natural links are typically from high-quality, authoritative websites in your niche, while unnatural links are often from low-quality, spammy websites or unrelated sources.

What is the best way to earn natural links?

The best way to earn natural links is through providing valuable content, building relationships with other websites, and promoting your website through social media and other channels.

Can I recover from a Google penalty for unnatural link building?

Yes, it is possible to recover from a Google penalty for unnatural link building by identifying the source of the unnatural links and taking steps to remove them or disavow them using Google's disavow tool.

How can I avoid unnatural link-building in the future?

You can avoid unnatural link-building in the future by focusing on quality over quantity, diversifying your link sources, avoiding paid link schemes, and building relationships with other websites in your niche.

Sahil Ahuja

Sahil Ahuja

Sahil Ahuja, the founder of Outreach Monks and a digital marketing expert, has over a decade of experience in SEO and quality link-building. He also successfully runs an e-commerce brand by name Nolabels and continually explores new ways to promote online growth. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn profile.


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