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Google Sends BBC News A Manual Link Penalty Notification

bbcGoogle has sent the world’s largest broadcast news organization, BBC News, an unnatural link notification last Saturday.

The Search Engine Roundtable reports Nick, a BBC News representative, posted in the Google Help Forums about the notification. Nick was seeking advice from Google or SEOs on how he may find those unnatural links so the BBC can remove them and submit a reconsideration request.

Nick wrote:

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’.

An unnatural link notification is nothing new, it is sent out by Google representatives after manually review sites with link issues. Receiving one of these notifications are not uncommon, they account for about 1-2% of all webmaster tools notifications, or about 7,400 notifications sent to webmasters in September 2012.

David Naylor believes the reason the BBC received this notification was due to how RSS scrapers abuse the BBC.

It is quiet surprising that a news site as authoritative as the BBC would receive such a notification. It is of course possible that someone within the BBC sold links on some section of the web site. But we have no easy way of telling that. Google did recently penalize dozens of UK news sites after Interlora was penalized for advertorial links.

We do not know if the BBC link notification led to a downgrade in their rankings or traffic from Google.

We’ve asked Google for a comment and will post if we receive one.

Postscript: Google has declined to comment on this story.

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