Google Webmaster Tools is warning users that they’ve fallen from Google’s graces and should be on the lookout for “artificial or unnatural links." Popular blog networks have been deindexed.
Is it time to panic, or is a reality check in order?
From the excellent report by Miranda Miller on Search Engine Watch: "Recent events seem almost a fundamental shift in the way Google perceives inbound links; they’re now saying not only can you not buy them, you can’t try to build at all. Of course, Google is predictably tight-lipped about what it is, exactly, that has relegated the offending sites to the wrist-slap list.
This is the kind of profile that might signal a stinker to Google.
For example, an unnatural link profile for a flower shop might look like: 1,000 links with the brand name as the anchor text; 3,500 links using “buy flowers online”; 5,000 links using “order flowers online,” etc. You would expect more links to use the brand name as anchor text; large quantities of links using very specific, high search volume terms, even more than the name of the business, could be a red flag.
Unnatural links, paid links... obviously they’re not going to pay off in the grand scheme of things. But before you jump on the bandwagon, ask yourself if you can handle the immediate drop in rankings and possibly traffic if you delete a bunch of backlinks. Or should you stop, breathe, plan, and try something new to build up some volume of backlinks before pulling plug on any that might be deemed “unnatural?”"