Dmoz and Yellowpages as Examples of Unnatural Links in GWT Request Replies


@Marie_Haynes is doing a good job monitoring "an example unnatural link". Today she is reporting two instances of insane unnatural link examples reported by webmasters:

While one can argue a Dmoz link was there for anything except for link juice, isn't it editorial (meaning editors reviewed it to make sure it adds value...)?



Thanks for the mention Ann.

Thanks for the mention Ann.  I just wanted to mention that I am in no way arguing that all dmoz links are unnatural.  In the case linked to above, Google mentioned that it was probably a mistake to list this link.  

I have always treated Dmoz links as natural when doing link audits and in the vast majority of cases will likely continue to do so.  However, I was just speculating that it could be possible for a link from Dmoz to be considered unnatural.  There are Dmoz editors that can be bought.  And, there are sites whose "brand" is really a keyword.  For example, if I set up an EMD called "" and I get a listing in Dmoz that says "Pay Day Loans 12346345" it can definitely be seen as an attempt to manipulate the SERPs. 

But, one Dmoz link is not going to invite a penalty.  I am guessing that that site that was given a dmoz link as an example probably had MANY other directory links and the culmination of all of these links was what was considered unnatural.

Similarly, with the Yellow Pages listing the site mentions that there was a keyword anchored link back to the site.  One keyword anchored Yellow Pages link is not going to cause a penalty but I bet you that there were a lot of other keyword anchored links as well.  

When Google gives example links they are not saying, "Hey, get rid of these 3 links and you'll be fine."  They're giving clues.  So, if you got two directory links and a comment spam as an example, then you know that there are more of these out there and this is what you should be focusing on cleaning up.

Google Webmaster Hangout Video


This could really be a geniuine mistake, I remember when jim boykin asked john muller to disavow dmoz scappers. And John Muller replied "usually dmoz scappers are noticed by Google as well and webmasters don't have to focus that much of energy on"

Here, is the link to video


It must be a mistake, but

It must be a mistake, but it's a sample link that we saw... How many of such geniune mistakes we'll never know about while still suffering from?

I totally agree. When I do

I totally agree. When I do link audits I usually see many sites that have simply scraped Dmoz. I don't try to remove these. I simply ignore them.


I think that I may have started an argument just by voicing a thought I haven't even completed yet. :) I still think that the vast majority of sites a Dmoz listing is perfectly fine. I was just postulating that it could be possible for a scenario to come up where Google saw a Dmoz listing as unnatural. 


I hope that the SEO community doesn't run with this and go screaming that everything in Dmoz is unnatural!

On Google Plus thread

On Google Plus thread discussing this post people are reporting they have seen Dmoz links as examples of unnatural links already... That in no way means all Dmoz links are unnatural... It probably means, if you are auditing links and seeing a Dmoz link, you shouldn't *automatically* consider it's a safe one..

yp nofollowed...

Thats twice as weird when you know that nofollow their outbound links. Heck, they nofollow a lot of their internal links!

If someone managed to get a followed one, I'd like to know how!

So, do we now need to remove nofollowed links too? :(

Random example of a page:

It's not the first time when

It's not the first time when I hear that nofollowed links are reported as example unnatural links...

Re: On Google Plus Thread

I understand, its a bad thing for webmasters. I am also not favouring Google, but in a video i recently saw Matt Cutts said, they approximately get 5000 reconsideration request per week. And thats a lot, and this kind of mistakes can happen. And its a good thing john muller accepted the mistake.

Our SEO community is so

Our SEO community is so understanding :)

The truth is, they created the monster and they have to be able to tame it without moving the responsibility off to the website owners. In the same video you were referencing, John agreed that the example of a GOOD link in the 2008 webmaster guidelines is the type of the link they are now giving back as an example of an unnatural link!

How much more confusion will they spread instead of handling the algorithm difficiency on their own?


It's not the first time when I hear that nofollowed links are reported as example unnatural links..

I think that the whole process is perhaps not quite ready for prime time yet. From example links not being found in the data from WMT to nofollow links being shown as examples, it just seems that a process that was meant to make things more transparent is making things more confusing in a lot of cases. I think that if Google is going to provide a mechanism for recovery in the form of penance, then the prayer should be in the hymn book.

I think that we are likely to see improvements in how they handle all aspects of the process. When you think that they are dealing with 5K reconsideration requests a week it kind of sheds light on how there can be glitches in the process.


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