Scary title to say the least and while you may be smelling the stink of link bait in the air, I assure you it is as it sounds. I don’t like to cover news from other websites but in regards to link building, I’ll make an exception. This WebmasterWorld thread showcases a scenario I would have never thought could and would be a problem. Basically, this webmaster had his site included naturally to Wikipedia and then that page, including the links, got scraped thousands of times over. On top of that, the webmaster’s site is an EMD so he ended up getting a lot of exact match anchor text. We all know now that this can really cause problems for people and sure enough he got the unnatural links message in his WMT.
From their post;
It seems that Google has penalised me for this because from their point of view they see dozens of links with the same anchor text. Because my website is relatively young this makes up a large proportion of the link profile and I don’t think this looks natural.
I explained this to Google in a reconsideration request and they revoked a manual penalty as a result. A few hours prior to that I received one of those ‘unnatural link’ warnings without the yellow caution signs. Now two weeks later my rankings have not improved at all for this keyword (which is also my website name) whereas previously it was ranking quite well for this
This is pretty scary and if true, means that the Google Penguin filter has a long long long way to go! Hearing this also means scary things for the negative SEO world. In the past year we have dealt with businesses coming to us in droves with a unnatural link filtering no thanks to shady link building “companies” that are prolific throughout the web. We have yet to see anyone with a problem like this as the majority were blog network link buyers, blog comment spammers and link wheels gone wild.
But aren’t Wikipedia links nofollow? They sure are and while the majority of scrapers will append the nofollow code along with the rest of the data they’re stealing, we still have a problem. You can even read about another WW user who also had Google point out links from their scraped Wikipedia page being the “culprits”.
I had the same problem when Google spam team pointed at links as unnatural from sites that scraped Wikipedia where I had a featured link. Those sites had nofollow attribute, same as Wiki but it does not matter to Google anymore. I desperately screamed in reconsideration request of such an injustice and they revoked manual action. Good rankings never returned since then.
Does anything perhaps think the Penguin algorithm is ignoring nofollow?
Here’s a very interesting tidbit from WW user klark0;
Same here. I got 1 Wikipedia link and about hundred from wikipedia scrapers. The only good thing is that almost all of the scrapers keep their copy in sync with wikipedia. So I edited the link to be Domain.com instead of a keyword-like link.
Let’s keep in mind we cannot confirm if this all actually happened, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised. This is where I’ll turn to our readers and hopefully someone has something to say about this topic. If you’ve had this exact problem lets hear about it in the comments below or email me(firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can do a post on here together. I had thought I’d seen it all in regards to link problems, so this is certainly an interesting twist on the Penguin saga.