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Manual penalty (unnatural links), didn't link build and no response from Google in 8 months 0 Recommended Answers 11 Replies 0 Upvotes
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We received notification of a manual penalty in late May 2019 with a url pattern indicating it was to our article base subdirectory. We hadn't done any link building so we didn't know which links Google considered unnatural. 

We found a few spammy looing sites linking excessively to several of our articles and appeared to be built by the same group. They probably looks like a PBN to Google. We emailed them to remove links our site, which of course fell on deaf ears. We documented our requests in a google sheet with screenshots of the emails, added the domains to a disavow file, and submitted a reconsideration request on Jun 17, 2019. We waited, and updated the google sheet with 2nd and 3rd outreach requests to remove the links to our site (again, we didn't ask for and know better than to pay for).

One of my team members thought he needed to file a new request with the updates to the google sheet and submitted again on Jul 11, 2019. I was very upset knowing we would have an additional delay but hoped Google would appreciate the continued effort to remove those links. However, we still have not heard from Google

We've found that this group making the spammy sites shuts down old sites and spins up new ones with links to us and cant' stop them. 

Obviously, very frustrated and feel like we're a victim twice (second time was stupidity and I should have told the team member to not send a second request). I'm willing to share the domain if that's acceptable.

Has the second reconsideration request killed our chances? Is there any way to get Google to review it?

James
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Hello James,
 
You're more than welcome to share your domain and I would encourage you to so. 
 
Happy to take a look, all is not lost:)
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Thanks, OptimistPrime. I wasn't sure of the protocol and didn't want to look like I was trying to build links.

We received notification of this URL pattern: www.doityourself.com/stry/ - we have other subdirectories with different content, and our inbound link research focused on those pointing to contentn in /stry/
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That url redirects in 3 hops to https://www.doityourself.com/stry which responds with a 404. No backlinks to this url, spammy or not, would result in any penalty. Unless you have just recently deleted (renamed?) that url.
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Think the OP is referring to the entire directory which does have both valid pages and many backlinks
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That url (without a trailing slash) does not designate a directory. But OK, let's assume that's so.
Many urls with that prefix are indexed right now.
https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Adoityourself.com%2Fstry 37800 results. Ranking is another question.

Google now ignores what it considers unnatural backlinks. So whether you have had them removed or disavowed them or not, they won't be counted anyway. This of course affects your pagerank (not a known metric) for the destinations of those spammy urls, so they are going to rank much lower than they used to (sometimes nowhere) courtesy of your unnatural backlinks. 

Chances are you don't have a manual penalty any more.
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Apologies didn't mean to convey that the subdirectory was the url that we were accused of buying links to, but it's the "url pattern". Directly from the manual action in GSC as it's still active:

Description: Google has detected a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative links pointing to pages on this site. These may be the result of buying links that pass PageRank or participating in link schemes.
Affects: Pages with the URL pattern: doityourself.com/stry/

These are some of the current articles that are receiving links from that spammy or PBN type of sites:

Some of the domains we suspected as spammy have shut down their sites. Some are still reported in the links report but the pages linking to us now 404. And some are no longer being reported in GSC Links report so I maybe can assume they took down links to us.

Part of the problem is that we didn't buy links, so we don't know which ones Google thinks we bought. It's not like we were caught and we know what we need to undo. We focused on template type of sites that link thousands of times to one page in that url pattern.
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Like I said Google is already ignoring many of those unnatural backlinks. So your manual penalty is most probably gone. But the effect of all those spammy or unnatural backlinks being discounted is that your site's pages rank where they should with no boost.
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Thanks, Webado.

I've asked our product to build a page to help navigate the article content at the /stry/ - obviously a missing opportunity to help users if they land there. I appreciate you calling that out.

I am concerned though that the manual penalty is still active in GSC, and we've never received a response from Google, even one that says "no, you didn't do it right". I took a screen grab of the manual action as it still appears.
In my GSC messages, it shows the reconsideration request submissions from me and the team member I referred to earlier.

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Messages and warnings persist often a long time in Search Console, often contradicting other messages.
This new Search Console is still not quite perfected.

Do you see any date associated with the manual penalty message?
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Since we don't have access to your Google Webmaster Search Console, we don't know the links to the site.
 
But using Majestic,  there are 14 domains linking to a page that fits the profile.
 
 
 
If the links provided by Google in the Search Console are essentially the same,  of those inks, which do you believe to be natural, built by others, not your fault etc?
 
 
 
 
 
 
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>We found a few spammy looing sites linking excessively to several of our articles and appeared to be built by the same group. They probably looks like a PBN to Google. We emailed them to remove links our site, which of course fell on deaf ears.
 
Can you provide a list of the domains?  do the domains match any of the links I found using Majestic to one of your pages?
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