Google Is Wrong! The Link Is Natural!

Aug 28, 2013 • 8:20 am | comments (58) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

you're wrongThere are two common sayings you've all heard in this field. The first is, "no one is perfect" and the second is, "never tell Google they are wrong."

As you can imagine, they don't go well together. No one, including, no algorithm or person, is perfect. Google knows that. But telling Google they are wrong, rarely helps. In fact, it can end up hurting you.

If you are slapped by a Panda or Penguin algorithm and you tell Google their algorithm is completely wrong - it likely won't get you anywhere. The best step is to assume Google is perfect and do what you can to appease the beastly algorithms.

But one webmaster simply had enough and he made his case in the Google Webmaster Help forums. He said, yes, he had lots of unnatural links but the link example given by a Googler about an unnatural link is in fact, one hundred percent natural.

Let me quote this webmaster:

Now after our last reconsideration request was declined we get the message that there are still bad links out there. This is what we were told was one of the bad links:

This is a completely legitimate post and it was not influenced by us in any way. They are writing about a campaign we are running.

When questioned by other SEOs and webmasters, this guy answered:

Well the so called "money keyword link" was chosen by sustainablog itself, probably because they thought it would best describe what we do. We have no influence on this, and we certainly have no interest in ranking for "Guide To Recycling"

Makes you wonder - will Google look at this example and say, hmm, you are right, we are wrong?

Honestly, this webmaster is better off disavowing the link and also finding links like it, even if they are natural, and removing those as well.

Like I said before, Google has caused a fear of linking, which both Google and SEOs are to blame for. But it is what it is now and we have to live in this world.

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

Image credit to BigStockPhoto for wrong guy image

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Charles Floate

08/28/2013 12:28 pm

This link seems legit.. I thought Google wanted "natural links" if this is a natural link, why should a webmaster still disavow it?

Adam Wormann

08/28/2013 12:35 pm

It's kind of the path of least resistance. And when the resistance is as strong as Google, you just cut your losses. Kind of like paying taxes.

Mary Desilva

08/28/2013 12:37 pm

My question is sustainable is a PR7 blog which is sure a authority blog based on page rank and all other seometrics, Google Mad spam team think its unnatural link then why not to take action against sustainable blog? If google team is sure its unnatural why not to put page rank penalty against it? According to Google official guidelines its good sign to give links to others which are relevant and required for further information.

Charles Floate

08/28/2013 12:39 pm

OR, you say fuck the Government and don't pay :)

Adam Wormann

08/28/2013 12:44 pm

You must be a libertarian :-)

Charles Floate

08/28/2013 12:49 pm

I'm british, what is this? In all seriousness, I did like Ron Paul's campaign, he should of been President..


08/28/2013 12:51 pm

Gold Standard!


08/28/2013 12:56 pm

As politics, Google is never wrong. The linking website is wrong. Shame on you for even questioning such anarchy.


08/28/2013 01:08 pm

It's natural - do you really want to start disavowing it just because Google think otherwise? If you do then all this data is going to be fed back to Google and they'll be more likely to incorrectly categorise other "natural" links - in which case we're all buggered.

Michael Martinez

08/28/2013 01:18 pm

This might simply being a case of hanging with the wrong kids on the street corner.


08/28/2013 01:28 pm

I was just going to say something like this. Maybe the link is just fine and natural and happy, but perhaps the domain that placed the link engaged in spammy tactics and has been put into the 'spam farm' bucket.


08/28/2013 01:40 pm

Then people would sell their burned/penalized Domains to people who want to sniper down their competitors, would be way too easy and thats now how to do negativeSEO. Passing the penalty is bs tbh. People would create Domains and get penalized, there you go, weapon of mass destruction.


08/28/2013 01:43 pm

"this webmaster is better off disavowing" How is this better ? Google does poor job lately. It can be seen everywhere. Latest example from me: Recently launched Scorecard in Adsense just of the sudden started to show "Displaying both text and image ads increases the competition..." with the exclamation point next to it and reduced score. But all of the formats I use are "text/image". It was this way before scorecard was launched, it is the same now. However scorecard didn't see this "problem" at first, but then, couple of weeks later, it started to show this message. More than a week already. What is this ? How is it possible, that such company as Google can't handle such simple query ? I don't see another possible reply, than this happens because Googlers do poor job. I would suspect, that problem is somewhere deep in the company. Something became wrong in it. And circle of silence can't help anyone. P.S. Did I write trouble ticket ? No. I'm not Google's products tester. Nothing personal, just business )


08/28/2013 01:47 pm

Weapons of mass destruction are rarely defused by one row in an Excel spreadsheet. Although I do believe that a persistent and clever negative SEO campaign could 'take down' a site that isn't maintained properly. I think this is obvious to the web spam team and that is why they brought out the disavow tool.


08/28/2013 01:48 pm

Maybe it is better because the link may be natural but the linking domain is a considered a 'bad neighborhood' due to various spam and spam penalty issues? Things are rarely so black and white...just think about other possibilities for a few seconds and you will usually begin to see other sides to the situation.


08/28/2013 01:54 pm

Yeah, im not saying negativeSEO does not work, it very well does. But its not as simple as putting a simple link on a penalized domain.


08/28/2013 02:09 pm

" the link may be natural " Exactly - it's MAY BE natural. Then why Google punish topic starter ? You know, that I hate spammers, but shady definitions used by Google don't make this world better either. "May be or may be not" - what is this ? What Google is doing - business or kind of the puzzle ? Such approach could work when Google had support from 95% of market participants. When we were friends ) When Google did good job. Things changed since then. Google is not friend, Google is not community leader. Just another business partner. Business partnership requires clear agreements. It worked this way since the beginning of business relations between people. Google is not able to change this.


08/28/2013 02:17 pm

My take on the web spam team being 'coy' with their words and attempting to answer questions from the side as opposed to head on is that the one thing that would make controlling spam in their index/SERPs most difficult would be to make the 'how and why' penalties/the various bits of the various algorithms obvious. That's why I like to read what Matt Cutts says as opposed to watching him say it. I am not saying that is always the case, but the things he skirts around or chooses his words carefully are usually where I put my attention if I am trying to suss out how things are progressing. I think I have a decent handle on things, but not a truly comprehensive one. There are always nuggets to be pulled out of the river...though sometimes you don't find anything but sand and water. I guess my long-winded response boils down to: Of course you aren't getting a clear picture! it is not in their best interest, for numerous reasons, to be totally transparent. But if we are honest, there is a lot more two-way communication with Google than with other companies their size.


08/28/2013 02:19 pm

We have the same issue with our sites. The examples they gave are completely natural. They are comments that were posted talking about our site on a blog post about the topic of our site. We also had a blog post that used our top keyword to link to us and it is an example. These were just people linking to us with relevant anchor text because we are known for this. I think that Google has become like most big systems and governments. Unless you have a great leader and a primary focus on improving your main product you lose focus and can't figure out how to fix the problem. So you put in bad solutions to try to quick fix big problems.


08/28/2013 02:34 pm

I agree with you in general. The question is : " Is Google the same as the others big size companies ?" GE or Coca-Cola or Wal-Mart or Apple ..... don't involve such a lot of small market participants as Google does. Watch around - veterinarians, Taro cards dealers, designers, poor villagers, housewifes, retirements, realtors, etc etc etc ... all are here. Internet is the new, very wide, market, so obviously the communication level should be new. Last time I contacted Adsense representative I got perfect experience from this communication. So, on some levels it works. But obviously it's not enough for this new and very wide market.


08/28/2013 02:45 pm

That method does not work anyway, we have disavowed natural links and unnatural links just to try and please Google and its still not good enough. To be honest we are at a point where we don't know what more we can do we have removed all the links we possibly can by contacting all webmasters who link to us and disavowed near enough every link to our site. Yet that's still not good enough.


08/28/2013 02:47 pm

With all those links gone...are you saying the problem is that you are still penalized or that your traffic hasn't returned?

John Seal

08/28/2013 02:51 pm

Why Google! Whhhyyyyyy!


08/28/2013 02:57 pm

Well, have to mention, that I'm doing same way as Google does (I studied from it) - everything possible is run by the algo I created. As a result most of the questions I get are "How do I ... ?" style. Means "Tell me what to do to success on your website." Sure I hate such questions, refuse to reply and get tons of angry visitors ) So, my purpose is not to blame Google, but rise questions.


08/28/2013 03:13 pm

Still got the penalty, after removing near enough every link to the site good and bad, natural and unnatural. We included the link profile audit each request, we listed the website we contacted asking them to remove links and made a disavow list to cover those where the webmaster did not reply. We even stated what caused the issue in the first place and what we have done to ensure it never happens again.


08/28/2013 03:15 pm

I think there are characteristics of the site that may cause reduced trust for all outbound links. For instance, I see a link at the top of the linking site that says "sponsor a post" I see other links in the left margin that say "Friends and Supporters". Maybe the site sounds too much like one that sells links, and all links from this site may be seen as unnatural. I'm not judging, just making an observation that some of the on-site wording could be triggering an algorithmic response and maybe these are clues for what we should look out for/stay away from.


08/28/2013 03:17 pm

the link above is the destination of the "sponsor a post" link at the top of the webpages.


08/28/2013 03:18 pm

One of our examples was flagged by our email system as a spam domain. The articles was normal and did not look spammy. It was a natural article not created by us. This points me to believe you might be right. The tactics that the domain uses could qualify a link as bad.


08/28/2013 03:20 pm

the link in my post above is the destination url for the "sponsor a post" links. Just wanted to clarify.


08/28/2013 03:45 pm

Yay! A natural link from a site that is clearly selling sponsored posts through the link in their footer but if you hurry up guys, they are even taking credit card, cheque and paypal payments. This is part of a network of sites that has been outed for their role in selling links so as far as I see it... If you don't want to get muck on your feet, stay out of the dog park!


08/28/2013 03:47 pm

I don't think he is better off doing that. If Google's algo is wrong then this needs to be pointed out to them.


08/28/2013 04:27 pm

google is totally wrong, it not a secret. They not looking for natural links, they looking how to penalize most of sites for anything.


08/28/2013 04:30 pm

because they not care about search quality. only about $$$. It why lot of good sites tanked.


08/28/2013 04:33 pm

so, best solution - new domain. google manual review - no effect, even if manual penalty removed - no effect on site traffic. I not see any reason why we need to work for google doing all this links removal/etc.


08/28/2013 04:35 pm

i see such problems many times. Even google site help section full of 404 errors, etc. I can only imagine how many bugs in the penguine and panda & current google algo.


08/28/2013 04:45 pm

Your frequently displayed lack of understanding, or attempting to understand, is almost awe-inspiring.


08/28/2013 04:45 pm

i love you also ;) All this topics is just confirm main idea, what google doing it not because of "war with spammers", but because "need more money".


08/28/2013 04:50 pm



08/28/2013 04:54 pm

yeah. manual reviews & matt cutts videos is only for one purpose - support a public image of company, it not a real solutions, it just game with time.


08/28/2013 05:53 pm

Anti-SEO seems to be mellowing to the fact that Google is no longer the darling of the internet. If anything google has become more of a problem than a solution. Business people prefer solutions to problems any day of the week. Where are the solutions google?


08/28/2013 07:55 pm

This is the nature of evolve - everything once progressive will become conservative (regressive) sooner or later. Don't expect solutions from Google. Market needs much more search engines with totally new approaches. I expect that we will see many small search engines, separated by industries. Like SE for medicine, SE for food, etc.


08/28/2013 07:58 pm

The most important is that Google showed how to monetize SE ) Everything else just the matter of time.

Facebook User

08/29/2013 11:15 am

At present Google is an empire, possibly at the peak of its power? They can do no evil? in their opinion. The Barbarians are not at the gates...yet.

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

08/29/2013 03:53 pm

I'm the owner of This is a legitimate link - I'm not certain why Google would say otherwise. We do sell content sponsorships, but those posts are clearly labeled, and all links to the purchaser are no-follow (and they know this up front).


08/29/2013 04:23 pm

Unfortunately Google don't care, they are too focused on combating spam at the expense of genuine natural links from relevant sites. I really don't know why they don't just change their terms so that it says all links are classed as spam end of. At least its clear and easy for all to understand. Instead of change the rules every now and then and penalizing people for doing something that was not against their terms and conditions till they decided to change them. Unfortunately they really have made a right mess of things lately and personally I think the results given are worse than they have been in a long time, since they have now decided to show the same website over and over taking between 50%-80% of the results, but no point in trying to tell them they are wrong for doing this you just have to roll with it or ignore Google completely and concentrate of other marketing methods.


08/29/2013 09:09 pm

i think they not care, just display any link from your gwt tools. I already have seen a few examples, even for very big directory links. So, for my opinion this is just game with us to save "public image". No real spam fighting at all, just banning for dofollow links. Why they not publish at their homepage - "we not a search engine anymore"? (how they tell us before)


08/29/2013 09:50 pm

You should look at other ways to monetize the site. At this point everything you link to is poisoned in the eyes of Google. They really don't care what your explanation is, you sell links and therefore you must be destroyed. I know it's mean, but that's Google.

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

08/29/2013 09:56 pm

I think you're probably right... but it's particularly irritating because we checked Google policies, and went with no-follow links in order to keep things kosher... or so we thought...


08/29/2013 11:45 pm

I have been getting more and more traffic from Bing so over time Google's policies are becoming less relevant.


08/30/2013 10:18 pm

You kinda have to read between the lines sometimes. If they are penalizing people for something, you shouldn't be doing it at all, even if they tell you it's OK to do it a certain way. Their algorithm gets shit wrong all the time, so even if you're doing it the right way, to them it may look evil because the algo is never perfect. You can try and plead your case and hopefully get someone from Google to side with you and correct the issue.

Gracious Store

09/01/2013 02:57 am

It is true, it may be of no avail trying to prove Google wrong, but it does hurt much when legitimate and natural links are said to be unnatural. It may be hard to convince Google of it, but simply to remove the links and move on

Ryan Clark

09/02/2013 04:43 pm


Terry Van Horne

09/05/2013 04:04 pm

"You kinda have to read between the lines sometimes. If they are penalizing people for something, you shouldn't be doing it at all," BS bud Google should not be telling us how and what to do with our sites. He nofollowed so other than to **guess** that Google would change this policy, which, is unreasonable and crosses the boundary between passive means of blocking competitors (a site that gets paid for promoting/content. It is cool for PR sites and advertorials as just stated that content is fine so long as it is nofollowed... seems the publisher above was just ahead of his time... naw it's more about them making a living driving traffic to sites... Google will not share that with anyone... where once Google was a facilitator in publishers monetizing content they are now clearly competitors willing to kill the competitions site in order to do it... it's whacked! Added.... Sustainablog.... why nofollow the post links but your blog roll links are clearly paid so.... my bad for thinking this blog has a clue...selling links everywhere else on the site.... well it's schitzophrenic policy that's for sure.... likely hurting every site in those blogrolls... 1latintutor is a dead giveaway with what looks good links around it.... btw the language training biz is a niche they watch...full of spammers and jammers ;-)


09/05/2013 08:29 pm

"BS bud Google should not be telling us how and what to do with our sites." -- If you want to rank well in their search engine you have to follow their rules. You can ofcourse always ignore the guidelines and do whatever you want, but don't expect to be treated well.


09/10/2013 03:25 pm

Sustainablog is part of a huge network of "Green" blogs.. I've paid to get on it- (link was no follow, also had sponsored post disclaiminer) Not surprised Google got it "wrong".

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

09/10/2013 10:01 pm

Those links weren't sold... they all belonged to friends. Still, I took them down because of appearances.


10/23/2013 06:56 am

I have enough of Google's tyranny. I no longer care about its guidelines for webmasters, they're not telling me how I should write my links, how to monetize MY site, etc. I'm the webmaster and I know what my readers like, period. Google can get rid of my website for as much as I'm concerned; I have tons of other venues (including word of mouth) to get my traffic and conversions. Google doesn't own the Web, even if they came to believe they do. I have worked as a SEO last year, but from now on my 'SEO' will be regular web marketing practices. If SEO = Google (which isn't true, as Google is NOT the only search engine around), then I'm going to boycott it. Just my personal 2 cents on this neverending story. - Luana

Peter Jones

04/23/2014 08:34 am

If Google disallows a link then what we can do? If Google's Algorithms are stopping you then you can go with Yahoo or Bing. Because, there is no other option available for you.

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