Google Notifications For Buying Links

Jul 4, 2011 • 8:59 am | comments (33) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google WebmasterIn January, Google began to send out webmaster tools notifications for selling links. Now it appears that Google is sending out notifications for buying links.

There are threads at WebmasterWorld and two at Google Webmaster Help where site owners have received notifications that made the distinction between buying and selling links.

The email notification reads:

Dear site owner or webmaster of,

We've detected that some of your site's pages may be using techniques that are outside Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

Specifically, look for possibly artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site that could be intended to manipulate PageRank. Examples of unnatural linking could include buying links to pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.

We encourage you to make changes to your site so that it meets our quality guidelines. Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.

If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request.

If you have any questions about how to resolve this issue, please see our Webmaster Help Forum for support.

Sincerely, Google Search Quality Team

As you can see, the specific line "unnatural links pointing to your site" versus the old notification that read, "unnatural links on your site pointing to other sites."

Google often said competitors can't hurt your rankings, they said it time after time but SEO don't believe it. However, Google once admitted that anything is possible.

That being said, with these new notifications, Webmasters can clearly know if they have links pointing to them that has a direct impact on their rankings.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google Webmaster Help.

Previous story: Delisted By Google Over Fourth Of July



07/04/2011 01:30 pm

Tell Google thanks, just nuked 10 sites out of the top 100 completely.

Curtis Sinclair

07/04/2011 02:58 pm

Just to touch on your comment, "That being said, with these new notifications, Webmasters can clearly know if they have links pointing to them that has a direct impact on their rankings", by the time you receive this email it's too late. I don't think the point of this email is "Fix it or we'll drop the ban-hammer on you". It suggests – “Once you've made these changes, please submit your site for reconsideration in Google's search results.” – that the ban hammer has already been dropped. Isn’t this a dream scenario for unethical SEOs with large budgets? If I had a big enough budget I could just turn my competitors into JC Pennys (not that I would of course). Silly move Google, silly move.

Barry Schwartz

07/04/2011 03:04 pm

No, I meant, exactly that. You've been penalized, you need to fix it.


07/04/2011 06:27 pm

How can you fix the issue if the links are on sites not owned by you and the links were not put up by you?

Barry Schwartz

07/04/2011 06:28 pm

Good question.

David Craig

07/04/2011 06:30 pm

i was under the impression that google would just discount paid links - it seems common practice for people to try and undermine sites nowadays, so why let the bad eggs get away with it...

David Craig

07/04/2011 06:32 pm

would google itself be penalised if people bought and pointed links at it?


07/04/2011 10:35 pm

Quoted in your post of 01 July, Google's Susan Moskwa recently claimed that "PageRank is no longer—if it ever was—the be-all and end-all of ranking", in a post claiming that Webmasters should ignore PageRank. As a measure of a website's success, PageRank, and in particular Toolbar PageRank, is certainly of little value, I'd agree. But Google clearly still put value on the PageRank passed between websites, as evidenced by this recent flexing of muscles to warn site owners against manipulation through buying links. In order to gain organic search engine traffic, link building to build PageRank is still relevant. Web masters should only ignore PageRank if they have a competent SEO on board to pick up the baton of link building. Webmasters should forget PageRank as a score, but not as an influence on their rankings.


07/04/2011 10:57 pm

The answer is in their email, "If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request."

research paper

07/04/2011 11:51 pm

Nice one, there is actually some good points on this blog some of my readers may find this useful, I must send a link, many thanks.


07/05/2011 02:35 am

I've kept close eye on my top competitors with their backlinks, they did not buy links, but they do get many low quality backlinks by spammy comments on thousands of blogs. Almost all of  them were irrelevant with their site, and the comments were of no value at all but all links that pointing to their site. Will this be punished by google?


07/05/2011 04:04 am

Google ig a Big Brother

Martin Jordan

07/05/2011 08:59 am

So, if PageRank doesn't matter any more why is it mentioned twice here

Jim Baker

07/05/2011 10:27 am

Well... Google is big boss, they can say anything they want to but do otherwise...

Andy Morley

07/05/2011 01:04 pm

Has anybody seen these messages in their webmaster tools accounts? ive not seen anything yet, maybe my link profiles are ok.


07/05/2011 08:26 pm

Interesting article, I find it hard to believe that Google would allow the quality of their results to be abused by companies with big budgets by allowing them to attack competitors through malicious link building campaigns. I'd like to think that the all-seeing G would give you an opportunity to fight your corner before penalising you based on factors outside of your control. I'd be interested to know if anyone has experienced this and what the outcome was...

iCheap Marketing & Design

07/05/2011 08:49 pm

It means Google is having an Eagle eye on our site linking!


07/06/2011 12:28 am

this type of search engine marketing is on it's way out as anyone can see chaos is reigning now and big changes are on the horizon for how we will market our sites in the next 3 to 7 years


07/06/2011 12:33 am

please do you really think they have the time and interest to moderate a he said she said email conversation plus any old black hatter would just say what ever seemed to work best for them so i can not imagine Goog getting deeply into this on a personal reply basis - the manpower would be staggering - the end is near!

Daniel Zilli

07/06/2011 02:20 am

So, now it means that we need to go through all our links to check their integrity, right? Because I believe no one wants to receive the letter. So, my question is how much time should you spend on this task? Even with - "If you find unnatural links to your site that you are unable to control or remove, please provide the details in your reconsideration request." - part; when some companies find out what happened, it may be too late. I believe that most of people are not happy here, because YOU will need to take the initiative to fix something that wasn't created by you. It's a delicate area, and I just hope Google knows what is doing and don't make our life harder.


07/06/2011 04:27 am

it is best to go slowly, with links to recoil, articles and many ping Web 2.0 is what Iworked better without raising the big G

Tommaso Villa

07/06/2011 10:39 am

I am not so happy for this introduction..


07/06/2011 10:54 am

That part about "passing Page Rank" is so valuable coming in written from G.


07/09/2011 06:10 pm

Anything that is not within your control is absolutely pointless and google knows this. A competitor can send you one or tons of links from highly penalized pages at anytime and at any frequency, there is nothing you can do about it. There is no reason that you can get penalized by google.


07/12/2011 04:54 pm

I've used this post in my July SEO Round-Up published here:

Barry Schwartz

07/12/2011 04:55 pm

Please stop spamming the blog.

James Spacey

07/13/2011 09:17 am

Somewhere along the line Google had to start doing something to start weeding out SEO strategies they don't like I guess. How they'll keep it 'real' will be interesting to see...


07/15/2011 05:47 pm

thanks, how it separate it ?


09/08/2011 10:21 pm

Google is watching us :)

Luis Galarza

12/20/2011 11:39 pm

Google have been watching us for a long time, now they just a better sniper platform that can really spot if you link building tactics are natural or pure automated... Is always been about relevancy and value, not quantity!....


04/05/2012 07:20 am

Like us, PR5 e-commerce site. A year of work down the drain. When we got the message it was to late already.

Brandon Heate

04/12/2012 04:56 pm

This has to be a very selective process of contacting 'offending' sites. I would love a little more insight into the process, but the Big G is just as cryptic as ever with new policies

Colin Dolly

02/20/2013 06:29 am

As we all know that Google changes his algorithm time to time. If anyone doing unethical process of SEO or his website having unnatural links and he doesn't know the latest updation by Google and violating Google algorithm guidelines then Google should intimate him through mail or webmaster tool that these links can be harmful for his ranking, also google should give him the timeline to make changes to avoid Google penalty.

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