This past weekend, Google sent out outbound link penalties to numerous sites. To see if you’ve been penalized, it is recommended that you check your Google Search Console message center. Google sent out manual actions to websites whom they concluded were utilizing “unnatural outbound links”. If Google determined a site tried to manipulate the search engine through linking to other sites, that website was penalized and all of its links were deemed untrustworthy and therefore irrelevant.
The email sent to those penalized read:
“If you see this message on the Manual Actions page, it means that Google has detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative outbound links. Buying links or participating in link schemes in order to manipulate PageRank is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
As a result, Google has applied a manual spam action to the affected portions of your site. Actions that affect your whole site are listed under Site-wide matches. Actions that affect only part of your site and/or some incoming links to your site are listed under Partial matches.”
It is strongly recommended that you check your Google Search Console message center if you haven’t done so already to make sure your site hasn’t gotten hit with a manual action. If you do discover you have been penalized, there are steps you can take to correct this issue. Just go to the Google Search Console help center and search for unnatural links. There they will explain to you how to remove these links from your site and how to prevent this from happening again. Once you remove the unnatural links the manual action will be lifted and your Search Engine Optimization should no longer be affected. If you do not take the appropriate steps to correct this matter you will unfortunately see a drastic decline in website traffic in the near future.
It is also recommended that you talk to your SEO about linking practices to make sure they are not using unnatural outbound links in their digital marketing strategies. Although Google has not yet commented on this penalty, it is safe to assume that they are becoming increasingly strict in an effort to prevent faulty SEO practices.