Google Reverses The Thumbtack Link Penalty, Rankings Return

Jun 15, 2015 • 8:12 am | comments (50) by twitter | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

thumbtack logoLast week, we reported how Google Capital backed Thumbtack received a Google penalty for unnatural links. In short, they told their businesses to link to them with keyword rich anchor text in exchange for progress points to a completed profile.

We shared how they emailed those businesses to remove the link or add a nofollow attribute to the link. Then what they did was submit another reconsideration request. Then a few days later, Google reversed the penalty and all their rankings returned. Just like that.

I emailed Thumbtack, who has been reaching out to me during this time, but they didn't respond to me at all since the penalty was reversed. But they did take the time to reach out to their customers, where they sent an email about the "Google news!"

They said they "resolved the issue related to Google traffic, and" said their "request volume is back" to normal. Meaning, their traffic is back to normal.

Here is the email they sent their customers provided by @kikolani:

click for full size

Now, there is a lot of anger around this from the community.

They feel the only reason Thumbtack was able to get out of this penalty so quickly was because Google Capital is an investor. I am not too sure about that.

They were smart, they emailed their businesses with clear instructions on how to remove and nofollow the link. I am not sure but I doubt they disavowed the links - SEOs wanted to see Thumbtack disavow the links. But they were smart, they didn't seem to do that. They took it step by step and decided to ask the businesses to remove them. This way if 10% removed the links, then they still have 90% of their link equity still flowing.

This is why their rankings returned to normal. If they disavowed the links, those links would not count and their rankings would have died in the long term.

So I don't blame Thumbtack for going this route. But SEOs and webmasters blame Google for being so lax with Thumbtack. They believe that any other company would of had to disavow most of the links, in addition to send out that email. Then they would have had to wait even longer, months maybe, to see a reconsideration request work.

They feel Thumbtack's special relationship with Google helped expedite this.

I am really not sure, I know they got a lot of press from this, which brought this more on the radar than a small company with a penalty, but did they get pressure from Google's higher ups to reverse the penalty quicker? I know Google has penalized themselves for longer periods of time.

Here are some tweets from the community on this:

What do you think? Thumbtack got special treatment?

The penalty was removed Friday, June 12th.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

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