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Manual Penalties Randomly Given Out - Is Google Okay?

Just when we think we’re getting the hang of Google penalties, something comes up to make us think otherwise. SEO specialists, web designers and digital marketers do their best to understand where the search engine giant is coming from. But how many times have we ended up scratching our heads?

Recently, a well-respected online marketer who last built links five years ago tweeted that Google penalised several manual links to his site. Dejan SEO’s Dan Petrovic shared on Twitter how shocked he was to see that his website failed to rank for its own name on the SERPs.

The search marketer, an Australian who has a significant following in the SEO community, claimed that his website was manually penalised. What baffled him was that suspicious links were already disavowed years ago.

By disavowing a link, you are informing Google that a particular web page is not a spammy URL. Through disavow files, web marketers avoid receiving manual penalties from Google.

That is why the manual penalty notification came as a surprise and it has been years since his website generated links. As a result of the penalty, his site domain failed to rank for its own name.

Why would Google penalise links despite no recent linking activity?

How Google decided to suddenly penalise links that were built from years ago is a source of mystery. Articles from Dan’s company generated links by themselves (e.g. shares, references, etc). That was the purpose all along.

Google once said that they tend to ignore spammy links, while Dan swore all spammy links were already disavowed. And now this scenario: Google issuing a manual penalty for old, negligible links. Even as they had a choice to just ignore the links, Google belatedly decided to penalise them instead.

A curious case indeed.

Some Questions to Ponder On

Is Google specifically witch-hunting SEO sites or is this happening to all websites, regardless of industry? Why, after all these years, would the search engine giant bother to track down old links and penalise them?

At the moment, there are more questions than answers. Our advise is to stay tuned while the community tries to figure out what’s going on.

Hit by a Google penalty? Our in-house SEO specialists can help! Click here for more details. Our Google penalty recovery services are tried and tested. We have helped businesses return to their original rankings prior to the penalty.

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Arthur Choi

Arthur Choi

SEO Strategist

70% technical SEO, 30% offsite optimisation. Loves to strategise and build organic SEO campaigns for plumbers, excavators and e-commerce clients.

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