Apparently it doesn’t matter, whatsoever, how many links to your site you have. Even if you have 8 links pointing to your website, if those links are inorganic or violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, the site can still receive a manual penalty from Google.
As you may be aware, I handle a lot of link cleanup projects for clients. In the past few years I have gotten quite a few Google manual penalties removed (manual actions revoked) from websites whose owners have come to me asking for help. I’ve even been able to get manual penalties removed on “one try” when previous “link removal companies” have tried multiple times to get penalties removed.
Some people in this industry call me “the cleaner”.
But today, I came across a website (a new client’s site) that literally has 8 links pointing to it from other websites. Yep, only 8 links. From 5 different domain names.
But guess what?!?!? The site has a Google manual action! A “partial match” for inorganic links. Seriously, Google? You penalize a site, manually, because a website has inorganic links and it has 8 links? Seriously?
Here’s the site’s stats, from Majestic SEO:
Granted, the site does have a low Trust Flow and a high Citation Flow, indicating that the site has some low quality links. And in the past 5 years there have been about 100 links, from about 10 domain names. Apparently most of those links are all gone, and now the site has 8 links.
And, if you look at Google Webmaster Tools, you’ll see the following manual action against this site (that has 8 links!):
Needless to say, I think this will be the “easiest” Google Manual Action that I have gotten removed:
I’ll identify the bad links, contact the site owners asking them to remove the links, and then disavow the links that weren’t removed. I’ll then write all that up in a document, put the link data into a spreadsheet, and request reconsideration.
There’s no doubt that I can get those links removed or disavowed, but then filing a reconsideration request will take some time to get the documents together and then file it–and then we hope the site will come back (it wasn’t ranking anyway with only 8 links though).
But seriously. Really? What’s the point of Google giving a website a manual action (a Google manual penalty) for inorganic links when you have 8 links? I guess that somehow shows that it’s a percentage of the links that are bad that have somehow flagged something in Google that then puts a manual action on the site?
Just to confirm this, take a look at what ahrefs.com shows for this site:
According to ahrefs, the site has 9 links from 7 domain names. Yep, less than 10 links to the site, yet it has a Google Manual Penalty (manual action, partial match).