Google Webmaster Tools to Show Unnatural Links

We have covered Google Penguin in great detail here on Return on Now. After doing many link audits and link profiles, we have a good handle on what it was and how to address it.

Figuring out exactly which links and domains are responsible for Penguin related penalties is the hardest part of a link audit. Most in-house SEOs and webmasters struggle to identify the problem areas. Even as an outside consultant, it can be challenging or impossible to know with certainty whether you’ve locked in on the right list.

The side effect of this “blind spot” is that we have to use guesswork to remediate the problem. Guesswork is a problem, isn’t it? If you draw the wrong conclusion, the stakes can be significant.

Here is the quandary:

  1. Conservative Approach: Only go after links that are clearly problematic. This is safest to retaining larger volumes of links, but may overlook the domain that is causing the problem in the first place.
  2. Aggressive Approach: In this case, it’s the equivalent of walking into town square and opening fire on anything that moves. If there’s any question whatsoever, get rid of the link. While this is more likely to address all bad links, you are almost guaranteed to remove useful links in the process.

Google Webmaster Tools: Unnatural Link Information Coming

On Monday, the Google Webmaster Tools team posted a new video featuring Matt Cutts on their YouTube Channel. In it, he addresses this very issue.

To help make the audit process more efficient, GWT will start to include samples of unnatural links via their interface. Great move Google! The more we can get to eliminate guesswork, the easier it will be to fix the problem in good faith.

I won’t go so far as to say this is a perfect addition. They are only providing a sample. Many of us have used outside services to build links in the past. For those of us who did this, we must face the real possibility of having to remove dozens or hundreds of links.

But I’m splitting hairs. Any information they provide to help us is welcomed and appreciated. Kudos to the GWT team.

Watch the video for yourself: