Google: Ignored Links Can Confuse Google's Algorithms

Jul 17, 2012 • 8:03 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

linksA Google Webmaster Help thread has Googler John Mueller saying that when Google has to ignore links on your site, it can lead Google to having to work harder to understand your web site.

As many of you know, a link penalty is not always a penalty. Often, instead of Google downgrading your web site for having bad links to your web site - Google will instead ignore links that they feel should not be counted. That might feel like a link penalty because your rankings may drop when Google does that but it is not like Google is giving you a negative penalty due to links.

That being said, Google's John Mueller said that when Google has to ignore your links it may confuse Google's algorithms in figuring out what your site is all about.

John said:

What's happening here is that we're ignoring some of the links pointing to your website, which on the one hand can be useful if these are problematic links that you don't want to have counted, but on the other hand, it would be easier for our algorithms to understand your site if that wasn't necessary. Past those ignored links, there is no manual action being taken against your website, there is no penalty involved.

Am I looking into his words too much or is there something here?

If you think about it, Google is ignoring part of your linkages and clearly that can make things more confusing.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for link button

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07/17/2012 03:21 pm

What i'm confused and it's what the guy in the discussion talks about and that is, if you got the unnatural links message saying "Site Violates The Guidelines" it meant you had got a manual action taken against you, is this not the case anymore??


07/17/2012 06:06 pm

Sounds like Penguin-gone-amuck. This is indeed quite confusing. Is this a backlash, or a back-off from Penguin? Google's comments are simply too bendable and can suit any situation they want them to it seems. This is not helpful and no wonder it creates confusion. It almost sounds like to me that they are trying to find a way for penalizing sites for having direct advertising. You add the nofollow like they have previously recommended, and now we are hearing them say that by telling them to ignore links it poses risks to the algo and may actually confuse it. Imagine that, a confused algo.


07/17/2012 10:14 pm

yes i noticed that - there is some confusion going on there


07/17/2012 10:15 pm

I think all JohnMu meant was that if they ignore links then that anchor text does not count towards your site, helping them know what your site is about thus "confusing" them

Michael Martinez

07/18/2012 03:40 am

The site had 20,000 backlinks. Google said some of them were unnatural. The site operators removed 14,000 links...and people still think Google got the whole deal wrong. *sigh*


07/18/2012 11:06 am

This sort of individual meddling really does not help matters. Why Google does not just post a clear concise set of guidelines which detail exactly what is going on is beyond me. They just need to clearly, explicitly say: If a, or number of, 'negative' site links to you it can cause a penalty to be applied yes/no If a 'negative' site links to you the link will pass no value or relevancy yes/no If Google show the WMT unnatural links message it means your site has a penalty yes/no Sites will be penalised for any unnatural links regardless of the age of those links yes/no My personal reckoning is yes, yes, maybe, yes Come on Google, clear this up for all of us!


07/25/2012 06:25 am

Link penalty is one of the worst problems faced by the webmasters. Google should give them appropriate reason why their site get penalized only for too many backlinks even if they have a significant unique content.

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