Unnatural Links Penalty: A Beginner’s Guide


About a year ago, Google announced an update to its algorithm that resulted in major changes to how search results are ranked. The most notable change was the addition of an algorithm called the “unnatural links penalty”. This update aims to penalize websites for having too many unnatural links pointing to them. If you want your website to perform well in search and get more traffic, don’t violate Google’s quality guidelines.

What Is An Unnatural Links Penalty?

The unnatural links penalty that Google applies to websites that violate their quality guidelines. These include:

  • Links from low-quality sites (e.g., blog comments)
  • Links from dubious sources (e.g., forum profiles)

The purpose of these penalties is to protect the user experience and improve search results by ensuring that high-quality content dominates your SERPs, so you can get more clicks on those pages rather than having them rank at the bottom of page 1 for no good reason whatsoever.

This History Behind Unnatural Links Penalty

Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving, and it has been penalizing websites for unnatural links since 2012. Back then, Google was using a black listing system in which it would automatically filter out any website that had too many unnatural links i.e., hyperlinks pointing at disreputable sites or “thin” content created primarily to increase traffic.

For example, if you had a blog post that only included one link back to your website and no internal content (such as comments), it would be flagged by the algorithm as being “thin”. This meant that if you wanted to stay on top of what was relevant information from other sources like social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, these weren’t going to be counted toward your page rank because they weren’t deemed part of the core content area required for ranking well in search results.

How Unnatural Links Penalty Can Impact A Website’s Ranking And Traffic?

  • Natural links penalty: The algorithm that decides your website’s ranking and traffic relies on the number of inbound links to your site. If you have a lot of unnatural links pointing to your website, it will be penalized by Google.
  • Reputation impact: A high-quality backlink from an authoritative domain can help improve the ranking of a site in search results pages (SERPs). In addition, if the low-quality or spam backlinks are pointing toward your site, this will decrease its credibility as well as its reputation among users searching for content online.

Example 1: A Fashion Blog loses 80% of Its Traffic Overnight

The fashion blog has a lot of links pointing to it from bad sources, like low-quality directories and spammy websites. Google detects this and penalizes the blog with an unnatural link penalty that makes it harder for people to find you online. The site loses 80% of its traffic overnight; by morning, only 1/10th as many people are clicking through on their homepage or search results pages (SERPs).

Example 2: A Publisher Gets Penalized For Having Low-Quality Content On Its Site

If a publisher has low-quality content on its site, then it can get penalized by Google. Thie algorithm is trying to improve the quality of search results and reward websites that create high-quality content.

Google wants to punish websites that have low-quality content or don’t provide a good user experience for users.

How To Avoid Getting Penalized By Google For Violating Its Quality Guidelines?

The first thing you should do when trying to avoid getting penalized by Google for violating their quality guidelines is to make sure that your links are natural. This means that your links are natural. This means that you should not be involved in any link schemes, buying or selling links from other websites, and comments on blogs/forums that contain spammy HTML code. You also shouldn’t use any automated tools to build your backlinks which may be penalized by the algorithm updates from time to time.

As mentioned earlier, several factors influence how well a site ranks in search results including:

  • The number of high-quality inbound links pointing toward it.
  • The authority of those sites linking back to yours
  • The relevancy of what they’re linking out to (this includes not just content but also metadata)

Get More Traffic then don’t Violate Google’s Quality Guidelines.

To rank higher in SERPs, it is important to create content that is valuable to your audience. This means making sure that the content on your site is relevant and useful for people who visit it. You also need a link building strategy that doesn’t violate Google’s quality guidelines (more on this later).

Bottom Line

So, the takeaway is that if you want your website to perform well in search and get more traffic, don’t violate Google’s quality guidelines. if your site has a lot of low-quality content or if you have many low-quality links pointing to your site, it will be penalized by the Google algorithm soon enough. This can be discouraging for some businesses so it’s important not only for them to avoid doing it but also to explain why they are doing this kind of thing.