Even The BBC Can Get Unnatural Link Warnings From Google

    March 16, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

This seems to be proof that Google does not favor big brands of major media outlets when it comes to obeying the quality guidelines. Even the BBC has been getting unnatural link warnings from Google.

A representative from the organization posted in a Google Webmaster Help forum (as noticed by Search Engine Roundtable):

My URL is: www.bbc.co.uk

I am a representative of the BBC site and on Saturday we got a ‘notice of detected unnatural links’.

Given the BBC site is so huge, with so many independently run sub sections, with literally thousands or agents and authors, can you give us a little clue as to where we might look for these ‘unnatural links’.

Later in the thread, he adds:

Yeah the problem is that the site is so big, and has so many agents, that something stupid might have been done, but without being given a clue to what or where, it is kind of hard to track the culprits down and ‘advise them to be a better web citizen’. I have certainly been involved previously is stopping people before they do something ‘unwise’ in relation to the site.

Of course, I’m not saying someone connected with the site has done something naughty, just that it is a possibility.

He says he sent a reconsideration request, and explained the situation to Google.

At SMX West, earlier this week, Google’s Matt Cutts made a point of saying that big brands are penalized often. Of course, we recently saw UK flower site Interflora get penalized, though that didn’t last long.

  • http://seofen.com/ Nikolay Stoyanov

    The more interesting question is whether this warning has been a “Notice of Detected Unnatural Links” or just “Unnatural Inbound Links”. There is a significant difference as the first one means a manual link related penalty as the second one is just for webmaster’s information. When the first type is received SERP positions start to decrease after 2-3 weeks, while the second type can also lead to SERP drop, but not due to a penalty, but due to lost link juice (the 2 differences are well explained here: http://tinyurl.com/dxly74p). So, if the message BBC received is for “Unnatural Inbound Links” they won’t have to worry about it, it’s a common thing. There can always be links that might look suspicious to Google and they know it!

  • http:uk.easyroommate.com Donal

    I’ve always been amazed at how well the BBC site does considering it’s size and diverse content, not many sites that big well have perfect code validation. But it is no surprise that one ‘article’ page might have got some dodgy links, or even linked to a dodgy external site.
    What is interesting is the view of Google saying everybody gets treated the same – This may be true of the automated side of things, but the BBC representative got a reply from John Mueller within an hour of posting a query for more information. Anybody who has had communications with Google knows this is not exactly standard!